Corn plants are very common in our country. They grow all over the world, but they are most commonly found in North America. There are many varieties of corn plants. Some have shiny green leaves while others have smooth white or even light blue leaves. However, there is one type of corn plant that grows on almost every farm in the United States and Canada – sweet corn (Zea mays). Sweet corn is a member of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and potatoes.
Sweet corn is a small annual herbaceous perennial grass with oval shaped leaves. The flowers appear from late summer until early fall.
The seeds are usually laid singly on the surface of the soil where they germinate within several days after being planted. Seeds develop into tiny plants that take 2 years before reaching maturity.
The color of sweet corn leaves varies depending on the variety and growing conditions. Sometimes they turn a pale yellowish-green, sometimes they become dark brown or black.
If left out in the open, leaves will turn brown when exposed to air. You may see them turning yellow during cool weather or if the temperature drops too low. When leaves start turning yellow, it means that your plants are experiencing winter damage and need to be protected from frost damage during spring planting season. So, here’s a little tip for you to keep in mind next time you plant your sweet corn seeds.
Make sure that you are planting them during the right time of year. Your plants need at least 14 hours of sunlight every day in order to grow well.
So, if you live in an area that experiences colder temperatures, then start planting them 2-3 weeks earlier than you normally would during spring time. Also, add manure to the soil before planting. This helps to maintain proper moisture and will lessen the risk of frost damage during the first weeks of growth.
You should also make sure that your garden soil is well-drained. Sweet corn plants need their feet to stay wet because they are vulnerable to various types of fungal diseases (including dollar spot and gray leaf spot) if they dry out.
After you have added manure and prepared the soil, you need to dig a hole into it and place your seed at a depth of 1-2 inches. Finally, cover it up with soil and water it until the soil is evenly moist. The seeds will start sprouting within several days and will begin growing fairly quickly.
When the plants reach 6 inches tall, you can begin to use mulch on top of the soil to help conserve moisture and keep weeds at bay. Keep an eye on your plants and remove any weeds that grow in or around them.
You also need to pick off any insects or worms that may be feeding on the leaves or inside the stalk. If you don’t, then there is a chance that they will cause significant damage and reduce the amount of delicious sweet corn that you can harvest later on.
Harvesting the corn is fairly easy. Hold on to the stalk firmly and pull it away from the main plant.
You will see a few ears of corn that are ready for picking. If you use your fingers to pick them, then you increase the chance of damaging the kernels. Instead, use scissors or a knife to cut them off and leave about an inch of the stalk still attached so that it can continue growing and producing more delicious sweet corn for you to eat later on.
Harvesting sweet corn regularly increases the yield from your plants. After you have harvested some of them, wait about 2-3 weeks before you harvest any more in order to allow new ears to grow in their place.
The sweet corn season doesn’t last very long, so make sure that you take advantage of it while it’s available. It doesn’t matter if you eat it fresh or canned.
Just make sure that you enjoy this wonderful vegetable while it’s in season.
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Sources & references used in this article:
Remotely measuring chlorophyll content in corn leaves with differing nitrogen levels and relative water content by MR Schlemmer, DD Francis, JF Shanahan… – Agronomy …, 2005 – Wiley Online Library
Nutrient deficiencies and application injuries in field crops by JE Sawyer – 2004 – lib.dr.iastate.edu
Resistance of Corn Strains to the Leaf Aphid, Aphis Maidis Fitch 1 by RO Snelling, RA Blanchard, JH Bigger – Agronomy Journal, 1940 – dl.sciencesocieties.org
Isolation of phytoalexins from corn with monogenic resistance to Helminthosporium turcicum by SM Lim, AL Hooker, JD Paxton – Phytopathology, 1970 – apsnet.org
Yellow Corn in Virginia-Spring 2016 by MS Reiter, WH Frame, WE Thomason, S Reiter… – 2016 – vtechworks.lib.vt.edu
Influence of sulfur deficiency on chlorophyll‐meter readings of corn leaves by A Pagani, HE Echeverría – Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil …, 2012 – Wiley Online Library
Yellow Corn in Virginia-Spring 2017 by UT Deitch, WH Frame, S Reiter, MS Reiter, J Spencer… – 2017 – vtechworks.lib.vt.edu
Georgia corn diagnostic guide by RD Lee, EP Prostko, SL Brown, RA Hudson… – 2009 – esploro.libs.uga.edu