Our heirloom corn seed, Golden Bantam, is a sweet, mid-season variety capable of producing an abundance of delicious summer corn.

Our featured corn variety: Golden Bantam 8 Row – Sweet Seed

Planting Corn Spacing and Other Tips

Planting Corn Spacing and Other TipsIt’s not hard to grow corn as long as you understand some basics. Corn is fairly finicky about soil quality as well as soil and air temperature. It won’t germinate if the soil is too cold. And, if the soil is excessively wet, the roots won’t develop properly. In addition, it doesn’t transplant easily, so it’s best to plant it outdoors in spring—but not until after the threat of frost has passed and the soil has warmed up and sufficiently. And, because it’s a slow grower, it will take awhile to mature. The good news is that our Bantam corn variety can be planted earlier than most which allows you to sow successive crops to ensure a plentiful harvest.

Corn is wind-pollinated, so it’s important to plant it in multiples, in short rows or blocks. Having the plants in close proximity allows the pollen shed by the tassels that grow from the top of each plant to make its way to the silk strands that emerge from the young ears. But, it’s also particularly important not to space your corn plants too close together, forcing them to compete for nutrients, water and light.

And one last point: take care not to plant your corn close to other varieties growing nearby (say, in your neighbor’s yard), or they may cross-pollinate, resulting in a less-than-satisfactory-hybrid. There should be a separation of at least 250′ between cornfields of different varieties.

Unlike most other vegetables, corn does not bear fruit over a long period time; rather it produces only one or maybe two ears per stalk. For this reason, we recommend multiple, successive plantings.

Interesting Facts About Corn Plants

Fact 1
Corn—Zea mays—also known as maize, is a member of the large grass—Poaceae—family which includes other cereal grasses, natural and cultivated grasses, and bamboo. It is believed that natives of southern Mexico developed corn from a wild grass called teosinte over 9000 years ago.
Fact 2
Over the millennia, corn evolved with its popularity spreading to North America. And, of course, we all know the story of how the Native Americans introduced this culinary staple to the first European settlers who were quick to adopt it into their diet. In those days, people raised what’s now called field corn which is quite different from the sweet corn home gardeners favor today.
Fact 3
Unfortunately, corn is not only popular among humans; birds and raccoons adore it as well, which has resulted in an age-old battle of wits between humans and critters. Remember the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz? His original purpose in life, before Dorothy rescued him, was to serve as a humanoid decoy to scare birds away from the cornfield. Unfortunately, the crows didn’t seem to give him any respect. These days, there are other, more modern—if less interesting—ways to thwart animal pests.

Corn Gardening Tips

Difficulty
Difficulty

Moderate.

Sun
Sun

Full sun.

Water
Water

Corn are heavy drinkers and feeders. Regular watering is key, particularly as the temperatures rise and the corn plants grow.

Soil
Soil

Well-drained 6.0-6.8 pH soil enriched with compost. The soil temperature must be at least 60°F; warmer temperatures will result in faster germination..

Air
Air

Temperatures must be above 50°F.

Timing
Timing

Sow corn seeds outdoors at least two weeks after the last spring frost.

Planting
Planting

Sow seeds 1-1/2 inches deep. Space according to seed packet instructions.

Germination
Germination

7-10 days.

Time to Harvest
Time to Harvest

Seeding to maturity generally takes at least 78 days.

Feeding
Feeding

Add nitrogen-rich organic fertilizer at planting time and regularly thereafter.

Mulch
Mulch

Add mulch as the seedlings develop to retain moisture and warmth and discourage weeds.

Special Considerations
Special Considerations

Unfortunately, corn is susceptible to a few pests and diseases, particularly if growing conditions are not ideal. Birds, raccoons, and earworms are the biggest threat to healthy crops; solutions for thwarting these pests can be readily found online.

Companion Plants
Companion Plants

Plant along with squash and beans. Together they are a trio of crops known as the Three Sisters—an old planting technique utilized by Native Americans to yield a subsistence crop. Other good companion plants include cucumbers, lettuce, melons, peas, potatoes, and sunflowers. Do NOT plant them with tomatoes.

Container-Friendly
Container-Friendly

Yes? If you have a large enough container (at least 5 gallons) and enough space to accommodate at least four corn plants.

Harvesting Corn

Harvesting Your corn is ready for harvest about 17-20 days after the silks appear. To harvest an ear of corn from the stalk, take ahold of it and bend it down toward the ground in a quick twisting motion. The goal is to snap off the ear shank without damaging the rest of the plant. Refrigerate the corn immediately and eat it as soon as possible, for the most delicious results.

Growing Corn—Highlights

  • Among the happiest symbols of summer, who doesn’t love sweet, crunchy homegrown corn?
  • Our heirloom Golden Bantam corn is one of the most popular varieties of sweet, yellow corn.
  • Seeds yield 5-foot-tall corn stalks with 6-inch ears of corn.
  • This open-pollinated, mid-season variety is at its delicious best immediately after harvest.
  • Direct sow corn seeds outdoors after the threat of frost has passed is best.
  • Shallow-rooted corn should be planted in a sunny spot, sheltered from the wind.
  • Relatively low in calories and high in fiber, corn also has a surprising amount of protein.

Here at Bentley Seeds, we want to set you up for success. Our growing guides are designed to give you all the information you'll need to start growing from seed, in an easy-to-digest format.

We also encourage you to print out a copy as a handy reference in your garden.