Sinking your teeth into an ear of fresh sweet corn (Zea mays) is one of those summer moments that's worth waiting for. Sweet corn grows fast, going from seed to a 6-foot-tall ear-producing stalk in a few short months. The fast growth means you can plant sweet corn in the spring and harvest within three months. To support all this fast growth, however, sweet corn needs lots of fertilizer, specifically nitrogen. Nitrogen comes in a couple of different forms. For sweet corn, look for urea nitrogen (46-0-0) or ammonium nitrate (34-0-0). As an annual, sweet corn grows in all climate zones during the spring and summer months.
Things You'll Need
- 46-0-0 or 34-0-0 fertilizer
- Cup measure
Fertilize sweet corn in late spring when the stalks have between five and 10 mature leaves.
Run a hoe along the row 6 inches from the base of the corn plants to create a 1- to 2-inch-deep groove in the soil.
Measure out 1/2 pound (1 cup) of 46-0-0 or 1 pound (2 cups) of 34-0-0 fertilizer for each 100 feet of corn. If you have corn growing in multiple short rows, determine the number of feet in a row and multiply it by the number of rows. A group of 10 rows each 10 feet long, for example, would equal 100 row feet.
Sprinkle the fertilizer granules into the prepared trench along each row, distributing the fertilizer as evenly as possible.
Water the fertilizer into the soil, aiming the water at the base of the plants.
Apply nitrogen fertilizer again when you see the first silky tassels emerging from the developing ears. Use 1/4 pound (1/2 cup) of 46-0-0 fertilizer or 1/2 to 1 pound (1 to 2 cups) of 34-0-0 fertilizer.