The Q&A Archives: Spacing of Corn

Question: This year I planted an early variety of sweet corn that can withstand cold weather. To save space, I planted 6 rows but have them spaced only 18 inches between rows. I planted 4 or 5 seeds together about 10 inches apart. I am afraid I'll have ears with only a little corn on them.

Answer: WOW! You're planting corn in Minnesota already? Amazing. I'm not quite sure what you mean by "4 or 5 seeds together about 10" apart". Since corn is wind-pollinated, close spacing will actually ensure that more kernels will develop on each ear, as the pollen from the tassels won't have far to go to reach the silks. There are lots of different ways to plant corn, but groups or blocks are best, as these increase pollination rates. You still have time to plant more seed to fill in blanks and to make sure there will be enough plants, close enough together, to acheive good pollination. Corn grows well in close quarters as long as the soil is deep and fertile, the plants get plenty of water, and weeds are kept at a minimum. Enjoy!

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