When should corn be planted

Corn - from the core to the cob

Maize belongs to the grass family as do wheat, rice and millet. It is annual and can reach heights of up to three meters, depending on the variety.

Sowing - when does it start?

If you want, you can put the corn on the windowsill in the house in March or April. Let the grains soak in lukewarm water for about 8 hours before you put them in the soil. If you are planting multiple plants in a bowl or pot, make sure they are about two inches apart and that they are covered with about two inches of soil. Because they are good fellows, the kernels of corn love to be buried tip down. Important, the seed pot should also be at least 10 cm deep, because the maize is deep-rooted.

Get out into the open!

If you don't want to grow the maize indoors, you can sow it outdoors after the last frost (around mid-May). The following applies: the more sun and nutrients, the happier your corn. Regardless of whether you release young plants or seeds into the open: To ensure the best possible pollination (pollination is mainly done by the wind, but some insects help), plant them in a block, i.e. both behind and next to each other. An example of this are three rows with three maize plants each. The distance between the individual plants and between the rows should ideally be 45 cm. So that your maize protégés get through life with more stability, you can pile up some soil around the plant when they are 40-50 cm high. Those who plant fewer maize plants will harvest less maize due to irregular pollination.

Corn can also be grown on the balcony, for this you need a bucket with a soil volume of at least 10 liters. Here too, above all, the vessel must be deep. If you want to harvest corn on the balcony, you also have to make sure that there are enough plants together.

Mixed culture

  • Good neighbors: Planting the corn in the vicinity of beans, cucumbers, potatoes, lettuce, pumpkin, melons, tomatoes and zucchini encourages its growth and keeps pests away. By the way: The joint cultivation of maize, runner beans and pumpkins has a particularly long tradition. The corn serves as a climbing aid for the beans, while the latter supply it with nitrogen. The large leaves of the pumpkin plant prevent the soil from drying out and protect against erosion. The Mayans called this combination of plants "three sisters".
  • Unloved neighbors: It is better not to get too close to the corn, celery and beetroot.

Preserve diversity!

Most of the maize varieties grown in industrial agriculture are hybrids that cannot be propagated in a solid manner. Corn is one of the first crops to be genetically modified. Those who grow GMO-free maize and propagate the seeds help to maintain the diversity of maize varieties and set an example against the risks of agro-genetic engineering and the monopoly of seeds.

If you are growing different types of corn (and want to propagate seeds), be careful to avoid crossing the varieties so that you end up with seeds of the same variety you planted. You can prevent crossbreeding by spatially separating the varieties (hedges, walls and buildings are great barriers to pollen count) or by planting varieties that do not flower at the same time. Also take a look over the fence to see if your neighbor or the farmer next door is growing corn. Not that genetic engineering is creeping into your bed!

Where can I get non-seeded, GMO-free maize and which varieties are there? Examples of these varieties are are Amarillo, Golden Bantam, Hopi blue corn, Strawberry corn (great for light pink popcorn) or Doux miner. On the side of the Action Bantam Corn you can find a number of sources of supply.

Harvest time!

  • For delicious sweet corn, the harvest takes place at the end of July - when it is so-called milk maturity. The grains can be snacked raw! But how do I know if the maize is in the milk ripe? If the hairs on the top of the piston turn brown, you can test. Simply prick a kernel of corn with your fingernail. If the escaping liquid is milky white, the maize is ready for harvest, if the liquid is transparent, it should be left to stand for a while. Under no circumstances should the corn be left to stand for too long, otherwise it will become tough.
  • For seed production: The cobs can be harvested in October as soon as the leaves around the cobs have turned brown. The leaves are peeled off and the flasks are hung for a few days to dry in a warm, well-ventilated place. Then you can piddle the grains from the cobs and let them dry completely. With maize, each grain is individually fertilized, so it is possible that some of the harvested grains come from crossbreeding. So if you find grains that are visually different from the others (for example, ornamental corn is reddish or bluish in color), sort them out.


It is best to harvest corn the same day it is to be processed, as it quickly loses its sweetness when it is stored (the sugar is converted into starch). Nonetheless, it can be kept wrapped up in its own leaves in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Recipe tips

  • Corn cookies: Two ears of corn are cooked for about 6 minutes. Then you separate the corn kernels from the stalk and mix them in 2 eggs, 1 tbsp curry paste and add 4 tbsp flour, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 spring onions (cut into rings) and something salt added. You heat in a wok oil for deep-frying and spoon in the corn dough. When the cookies are golden brown, they're done!
  • Basic polenta:Corn kernels Puree in the blender for a few minutes so that the firm skin of the grains is crushed. Let the resulting paste cook in a saucepan at low temperature for 10-15 minutes. The goal is the consistency of mashed potatoes to achieve that you can Water or milk to add. The polenta can go through the most diverse Spices be pepped up. It tastes good as an accompaniment to Mediterranean vegetables.