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Hall Extension: Tips on growing sweet corn in your garden
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There are a lot of things that let me know that summertime is back: barbecues, spending time at the pool with the kids and the smell of gardenias. But the one telltale is seeing stalks of corn emerge from everyone's vegetable garden.

Sweet corn is a crop that most people can manage to grow, regardless if they have grown it before or not. Typically, corn likes to grow in a fairly loose, well-drained soil, but will tolerate a wide range of soil types. Sweet corn does however prefer a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.5 for best growth. Also make sure to till or plow the soil as deeply as you can, down 6 to 8 inches.

When picking out a planting site, make sure your corn will get at least nine hours of sun every day. Also rather than having one or two long rows, have four to six shorter rows of corn. Corn is wind-pollinated, and this will ensure improved pollination.

Fertilization should be done based on soil test results through the office. This will ensure that everything is right and it takes out the guesswork.

Watering is something that is going to be critical this year. Corn requires a lot of water to properly develop. Just like with any other plant, water properly to get the most out of this valuable resource. Supply around an inch to an inch-and-a-half of water per week. Water infrequently, maybe twice a week, and water deeply.

If you are able, run a soaker hose along the corn to make even better use of the water you are using. Ideally, you want to water the top 9 to 12 inches of soil.

There are other things to consider and if you are interested in learning more about growing corn this summer, I encourage you to look at one of our publications at http://www.caes.uga.edu/publications. Use the search bar to find the publication about growing sweet corn in the garden.

Michael Wheeler is county extension coordinator for the UGA Cooperative Extension in Hall County. You can contact him at 770-535-8293. His column appears weekly and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.

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