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Connecticut Garden Journal: Grow sweet corn in your backyard garden. Here’s how and when.

A fresh ear of sweet corn.
Yuriko Nakao
Bloomberg Creative Photos via Getty Images
Sweet corn is a great home garden vegetable to grow, if you have room.

There's nothing like fresh sweet corn for a summer dinner. Sweet corn is a great home garden vegetable to grow, if you have room. But even if you don't, varieties such as 'On Deck', can fit in containers. With new and unusual varieties available, it may be time to grow a sweet corn patch this summer.

We're all familiar with white, bi-color and yellow sweet corns and with the newer supersweet varieties such as 'Ambrosia' and 'Peaches and Cream'. Now there are sweet corn varieties in different colors. 'Ruby Queen' is a red kerneled corn that can be eaten when it's bluish-red as a sweet corn, or allowed to mature to a dried corn. It grows 7 feet tall, does best with another supersweet variety close by, and has decorative red tassels. 'Hopi Blue' grows 5 feet tall, can be harvested when young as a blue sweet corn, or allowed to dry to make blue tortillas.

Don't plant sweet corn too early. Wait until the soil has warmed and plant in blocks of 4 short rows per each variety, spaced 2 feet apart. Separate the blocks of varieties with 4 foot wide rows to reduce the chances of cross pollination.

Corn is in the grass family and grows fast. Plant in full sun on fertile soil. Add compost at planting time and an organic fertilizer, such as 5-5-5, when the plants are knee high. Hill the rows when plants are small to keep the stalks from flopping over during a storm. Mulch to keep the soil moist and use electric fencing to keep raccoons out.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.
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