Garden Guide for Zone 8b
Corn is a warm-season annual that is best planted after the soil temperature reaches 60°F, usually two or three weeks after the last frost in spring. Corn is wind-pollinated, so it should be planted in blocks, rather than in single rows. Early, mid, and late-season varieties extend the harvest, but be mindful: if you miss the optimal harvest time, the corn’s flavor will go downhill fast, as sugars convert to starch.
- Soil: well-drained soil
- Water: 1 inch per week
- Light: full sun
- Sowing Method: direct sow
- Growing Days: 60
Planting Instructions: Sow corn seed 1 inch deep, 4 to 6 inches apart in rows 30 to 36 inches apart. Plant seeds of early-season varieties two weeks after the last spring frost. Plant two seeds together every 18 to 24 inches. Thin to one plant when the seedlings are 2 to 3 inches tall.
Harvest Instructions: Harvest corn when the ears are full and the silks are brown and dry. To test for ripeness, pull back the husk and pop a kernel with your thumbnail; the liquid should be milky. If it’s clear, the corn is too immature; if it’s thick, the corn is overripe. Harvest by pulling the ear down and twisting.