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Sweet Corn

Sweet corn requires plenty of space and is adapted only to the larger gardens. Although a warm-weather plant, it may be grown in practically all parts of the United States. It needs a fertile, well-drained, moist soil. With these requirements met, the type of the soil does not seem to be especially important, but a clay loam is almost ideal for sweet corn.

In the South, sweet corn is planted from early spring until autumn, but the corn earworm, drought, and heat make it difficult to obtain worthwhile results in midsummer. The ears pass the edible stage very quickly, and succession plantings are necessary to insure a constant supply. In the North, sweet corn cannot be safely planted until the ground has thoroughly warmed up. 

Here, too, succession plantings need to be made to insure a steady supply. Sweet corn is frequently planted to good advantage after early potatoes, peas, beets, lettuce, or other early, short-season crops. Sometimes, to gain time, it may be planted before the early crop is removed.

Sweet corn may be grown in either hills or drills, in rows at least 3 feet apart. It is well to plant the seed rather thickly and thin to single stalks 14 to 16 inches apart or three plants to each 3-foot hill. Experiments have shown that in the eastern part of the country there is no advantage in removing suckers from sweet corn. Cultivation sufficient to control weeds is all that is needed.

Hybrid sweet corn varieties, both white and yellow, are usually more productive than the open-pollinated sorts. As a rule, they need a more fertile soil and heavier feeding. They should be fertilized with 5-10-5 fertilizer about every 3 weeks until they start to silk. Many are resistant to disease, particularly bacterial wilt.

There are some sugar-enhanced varieties now in the market which retain their sweetness for a longer period of time than regular sweet corn. Never save seed from a hybrid crop for planting.

Such seed does not come true to the form of the plants from which it was harvested.

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