Is It Too Late To Plant Sweet Corn?

By Paul Smart •  Updated: 01/20/22 •  5 min read

Is It Too Late To Plant Sweet Corn? Growing your own corn at home is one of life’s great pleasure is because you can produce cobs that are so much sweeter than the ones purchased from the local store. However, you may worry that you are planting your crop too late to get a harvest.  So what is the latest date that you can plant sweet corn in the growing season?

Sweet corn is a frost-sensitive plant that needs to be harvested before the first frost of the season. This means that you need to plant seeds approximately 100 days prior to the first frost of the season and seedlings purchased from the local garden center need to be planted approximately 70 days prior to the first frost.

When finding out the expected first frost date in your local area it may be worth looking at the data when the first frosts have actually occurred. The reason for this is that it is common for the first frost date quoted to be extremely conservative. Looking at the actual data will provide you with a much better idea of what the chances are that you’ll have a frost around the quoted date.

Additionally, it is also important to recognize that frost does not uniformly occur across a region. There are areas known as frost hollows that are more prone to the formation of  Frost. If you live in an area like this you may have to bring the planting forward.

How To Accelerate The Rate Of Growth For Corn

If you are planting corn late it is important to ensure that the growth rate is as fast as possible. There are a few things that you can do to improve the speed of growth. The first thing that we would recommend is to grow the plants in a heated propagated see tray as this will ensure that the seedlings get off to a fast start.

The key advantage of using a heated propagation tray is that constant heat can be maintained, even at night, to ensure that the growth rate is maximized at the early stages. If you need to purchase a heated seed tray the unit we would recommend is the ipower seed germination kit.

We recommend this particular product because it has a removable seed tray which will ensure that the unit lasts as long as possible and it also has a humidity dome which will help the seedlings by maintaining a warm humid environment. To see the latest price on Amazon click here.

However, if you do not have a heated seed tray the next best thing would be keeping a seed tray indoors in a warm location. 

The second thing that we would recommend is to ensure that the seedlings are placed in a warm location that gets full sun all day. The ideal location would be planting near a brick wall as this will also help to keep the temperature higher at night accelerating the rate of growth.

The other option to increase temperature is to apply a row cover to the seedlings when they first go in the ground.  this will help to increase the temperature in both the day and the night as well. 

The third thing that we would recommend is ensuring that the soil that the seedlings that are planted has plenty of nutrients and is moist. To increase the nutrient level we recommend adding a bag of compost to the soil before planting.

The last option is to select early maturing varieties of corn because not all varieties mature at the same rate. The early varieties we would recommend with the time to maturity are listed below. Also try visiting our vegetable database to get more information.

To get the seeds we would recommend that you visit seeds now because they have a large range of seeds available and are extremely low cost.

Grow Your Own Food At Home

However, it is important to note that the days quoted in the table above are taken from data provided by seed merchants that supply the seed. These seed merchants will often under quote the days required to grow the seeds by quoting the date for maturity based upon the transplant date of the seedlings.  

When estimating the time from planting the seeds to harvesting it is advisable to add approximately 30 days to get a realistic number. A study carried out by Ohio State University showed that under quotation of maturity dates was a widespread practice among seeds suppliers. To see data on this click here

I hope you found this article useful, if you have any questions or comments please leave them in the section below.

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Paul Smart