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Growing Sweet corn, also maize

(Zea mays, var. rugosa)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
P P             P P P P

(Best months for planting Sweet corn in New Zealand - temperate regions)


September: sow after risk of frost

  • Harvest in 80-100 days
  • Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed.
  • Best planted at soil temperatures between 16°C and 35°C.
  • Space plants: 20-30cm

Frost tender Plant in 4 by 4 blocks to encourage germination Pick when the silky threads on the cobs turn brown or black. Part the top of the leaves and test for ripeness by pressing a grain with your fingernail. If it is milky, it is ready.

Early varieties ripen quickly and are sweeter when just picked.

Avoid planting coloured maize ( for drying) near sweetcorn as they will cross-pollinate and spoil the cobs on both.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Sweet corn

Pick and cook within an hour. Remove the silks and outer leaves.
Best flavour if microwave about 4 minutes per cob.
Can be barbequed wrapped in foil
Cook large amounts in a stock pot until test soft.
Sprinkle with black pepper and dip in butter.

Your comments and tips

20 Dec 10 Dennis Hourigan (New Zealand - temperate climate)
last summer all the silk was eaten off the cobs on our plants and they didnt mature. any ideas?
09 Jan 11 Tina (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
First time gardner and corn plants have grown really tall but can't seem to see where the corn grows from?? I planted these begining Dec should they have ears yet??
10 Jan 11 Liz (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Dennis, I think your corn was attacked by a caterpillar. Ask your local plant shop for a suitable remedy. Tina, the corn cobs grow from the side of the stem. They should be starting soon. Have a look at our companion site www.gardenate.com, where there are some pictures.
31 Jul 11 Murray (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I have small spare paddock (in the woodville area so it's relatively wet.) and would like to try a maize maze for my friends. Any tips for the best species and planting times?
05 Sep 11 gavin (New Zealand - temperate climate)
its now early sept and i am prepping the area where iwill plant my corn, i will be planting my corn nxt to my early potatoes how far from these or close can i plant remembering that corn like a more acidic type of soil,what type of fertilisers and garden matter do i need to make it more pliable for the corn
05 Dec 11 Margaret (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I would like to ask if you know where in new zealand Can I find corn but not sweet, I'm from Chile and over there we have a kind of corn not sweet. thank you .
27 Dec 11 Lilly (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Margaret, I would check Koanga (koanga dot org). They have quite a few varieties of corn.
11 Mar 12 Menaka (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Hi This is my first time for growing sweet corns. I have already picked the first crop of lovely corn cobs. Now the plant is not showing any signs of growing more corn and the plant leaves look yellow and look like they are drying out. Will I get any more corns from my plant?
26 Mar 12 Carlene (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
hi tried once growing corn but sadly plant was small and corn well there was none my question is whats the best fertiliser for growing corn Organic wise?
04 Oct 12 George eaton (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Could you please tell us what Fertiliser to use so that we can plant home sweetcorn in the same place each year, just like farmers do

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See planting calendar for these climate zones

New Zealand - cool/mountain,   New Zealand - sub-tropical,   New Zealand - temperate  

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