Baby Corn Planting and Growing Guide –

Uses of Baby corn

Baby corn is a popular vegetable in USA, Europe and Southeast Asia. The demand for baby corn is rapidly increasing in urban areas in India. Baby corn is not a separate type of corn like sweet corn or popcorn and any corn type can be used as baby corn. It is delicacy, which can be profitably used in prolific types of corn i.e. those types , which bear two or more ears per plant. The shank with unpollinated silk is baby corn. The economic product is harvest just after the silks emerge (1-2 cm long). Baby corn has immense potential as a salad and as cooked vegetable. It is used as an ingredient in ChopSuey (Chinese dish), soups, deep fried baby corn with meat, rice and other vegetables. Large number of dishes may be prepared from baby corn as discussed subsequently. Baby corn is highly nutritive. The nutritive value of baby corn is comparable to any common vegetable (Table 1). Since only immature cob is harvested as the economic produce, the crop meant as baby corn can be harvested within 50-55days. Thus in the areas adjoining cities or other urban areas (peri-urban agriculture) multiple crop of baby corn can be raised which would fetch greater income to the farmers. Baby corn can be effectively used as both a nutritious vegetable and as an export crop to earn valuable foreign exchange. After harvest the still young plants may be used as fodder for cattle.


Germinating Baby Sweet Corn

Baby sweet corn aren’t just normal corn that are picked early; they’re a specific variety of corn. Personally I’ve had the best luck with the “Minipop” variety with consistent growth and cropping for the last few years.

The easiest way to start your baby sweet corn growing is in modules. These are like standard seed trays, but instead of one large tray the planting area is split up into numerous smaller “pots” attached to one another. I like to use trays where the modules are roughly 1-1.5″ in diameter.

The reason to use modules for growing baby sweet corn is quite simply that it makes planting your corn out later much easier. Simply fill the trays with good quality, peat-free compost and plant two seeds into each module.

Sometimes a seed won’t germinate, in which can you have a “backup” seed. And in those cases where both seeds germinate, consider transplanting the second seedling into a new module.

As with all seeds, warmth and moisture are essential for growth so when you’re planting in the early spring (March-April works well) try placing your modules onto a south facing windowsill, inside your greenhouse or in an airing cupboard.

Sweet corn seeds are quick to germinate and grow so you should start to see seedlings poking their heads through the soil in a matter of days. Within a few weeks your seed trays will look beautiful as they’re filled with fresh green sweet corn shoots.

Why should you never eat bananas?

You should not eat bananas close to bedtime and here’s why: Bananas are one of the stickier fruits, and their sugar can get stuck on your teeth more readily, increasing the risk of cavities. … Because bananas are a meatier fruit, it also takes a little longer for them to make their way through your digestive system.

Is corn the worst vegetable for you?

Yes, corn is a vegetable, but it’s a better source of sugar than actual vitamins. Corn is high in simple sugar carbohydrates and has virtually no indigestible fiber (the kind that keeps you regular and lowers blood cholesterol).

Caring for the Corn Growing in Containers

Once planted, it’s time to take care of your corn. It’s straightforward, but remember, corn can be a bit tricky to grow in containers. You’ll need to pay a lot of attention to your crops.

1. Water Your Corn

Corn does need plenty of moisture to grow. You should water the plants every other day, ensuring that the soil always has moisture.

Moisture is one of the key ingredients to delicious, sweet, soft corn, so that’s one of the reasons why water is so essential, especially at the time of fruiting.

When the plants are fruiting, you need to water your potted corn even more.

2. Use Fertilizers

Ten weeks after you sow the corn seeds, you’ll want to apply fertilizer. Try using ½ tablespoon of 5-10-10 or 10-20-20 fertilizer for each plant. It’s best to dig a small hole near the plant and sprinkle the fertilizer, mixing it into the soil.

3. Don’t Forget To Mulch

Even though the corn is growing in a container, it’s not a bad idea to add mulch around the corn. Mulch helps to hold in moisture.

Wood chips, newspapers, and grass clippings are some excellent choices to help prevent moisture loss in the soil. Mulch also helps to reduce weed growth; no one likes weeds!

Weeds Problem In Corns

One of the major problem in corn cultivation is weeds.

Weeds are unnecessary grass other than main crop which grows in our field and compete with our crops.

The solution to control weed is using weedicide.

Atrazine is perfect to control weeds in corn field. You can apply by mixing 2gm of atrazine in 1litre of water.

Planting Baby Sweet Corn Outside

Here’s one reason why growing baby sweet corn is actually easier than standard sweet corn… Full-sized sweet corn are typically wind-fertilized which means you have to plant them in “blocks” of plant. In this way, when the wind blows the pollen there’s a good chance the other plants will be pollinated, without which no ears of corn will grow.

However baby sweet corn don’t need to be pollinated in order to produce their juicy little heads, and as a result there are no restrictions on where you can grow them – save that they like as much direct sunlight as possible.

For this reason when growing baby sweet corn I often plant them in rows – to form a small “hedge” that not only looks neat but can provide some additional privacy in your garden. It also means you can fit the plants into virtually any available space.

Planting is easy if you’ve grown your baby sweet corn in modules. Simply dig a small hole, gently push up the bottom of one of the modules and you should find that out pops one of your sweet corn seedlings with an attractive, healthy root system. Simply pop it in the hole, fill the hole back in and water heavily.

Baby sweet corn can be grown as close as 8-12″ apart and will grow anything up to five feet or so in height eventually, though far shorter plants will still produce corn at the right time of year (August-September typically).

Overall, once they’re planted out, growing baby sweet corn requires very little ongoing effort. I don’t feed mine or support them. The baby seedlings can be prone to attack by snails and slugs initially as the leaves are so juicy, but as the plants grow the leaves toughen and garden pests seem to lose interest in them. I simply weed around them when necessary and water regularly in hot, dry weather.


We can cultivate Baby corn in almost all types of soil where there is proper facility of drainage.

The pH range of 5.5-7 is good for corn farming.


To help promote marketing of baby corn, we developed recipe cards which Owen distributed to his customers. These cards gave some general information about the crop as well as how to cook it. We found that most customers had no experience cooking baby corn and needed some basic instruction. Customers appeared more inclined to purchase this crop for the first time if they had a better understanding of what to do with it. We made these cards available to other farmers through an Alternative Crops Workshop in September 1998 at the Seattle Pike Place Market, at the Southwest Washington Small Farm Conference in March 1999, and at the Farmers’ Market Annual Conference in May 1999 at the Seattle Pike Place Market.

We submitted articles to several popular press magazines. It is our goal to increase public awareness of baby corn thereby increasing demand for the crop. An article in the May/June 1999 edition of Growing Edge mentioned our baby corn research trial and highlighted the collaborative nature of the project. A brief news item on baby corn production was published in the June 1999 edition of National Gardening, and a 2-page article on baby corn production was published in the May 1999 edition of Vegetable Grower (copies attached). We submitted a 1-page article to Farm Journal and hope to see it in the July 1999 edition.

Production Recommendations

Based on our project results, we have developed production recommendations for baby corn. The recommendations will be published this fall as a Washington State University PNW (Pacific Northwest) Extension publication in the series, Farming West Of The Cascades.

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How to grow baby corn

Growing baby corn is similar to growing fully mature corn cobs — but even more manageable. The only difference is the time it takes to reach maturity, which is significantly shorter. You can grow it from any type of corn seed, including multicolored varieties. However, for the best flavor, we recommend growing it from sweet corn kernels.

Let’s take a look at the basics of how to grow your baby sweet corn.

– Growing baby corn outdoors

Before you start sowing your corn kernels in your garden, here are a few tips to bear in mind:

  • Corn is a warm-season crop, best grown in late spring or summer;
  • It will not tolerate frost;
  • Growing baby corn requires less space than growing mature corn cobs;
  • This plant loves plenty of sun, water, and nutrients;
  • Corn can be a specific target for pests and diseases, so pick varieties that are hardy and resistant to fungal and bacteria problems, and buy your seeds from a reputable vendor.

On average, each corn plant can produce 4 or 5 cobs, although some have a higher yield. If you want to harvest baby corn several times throughout summer, we suggest sowing 2 or 3 crops, two weeks apart.

– How to germinate sweet corn kernels

Germinating sweet corn kernels can be tricky because they are heavily reliant on heat to get going. If temperatures are too low, the kernels can take up to 3 weeks to germinate. As a result, it’s always best to sow the seeds indoors, in compostable seed pots, and transplant them to your garden only after soil temperatures stay above at least 60 °F (16 °C).

Start by soaking the corn seeds in water at room temperature overnight or for a minimum of 8 hours. Prepare several 2 inches (5 cm) tall compostable seed pots, and fill them with a nutrient-rich potting mix. Make a small dip in each one with your finger, place one seed in each pot, and cover with soil. Use a water pump to mist the pots, keeping the soil moist but not soggy.

Keep your seed pots in a warm and sunny room, where they can get at least 6 hours of light per day. Within a week, you will notice the small leaves of the germinated kernels poking through the soil. Continue watering them regularly until each plant has 4 leaves.

– Transplanting outside

Sweet corn seedlings are exceptionally delicate and can easily suffer transplant shock. Therefore, we recommend keeping them in their compostable pots when planting them in the garden to avoid damaging the roots and stems. Before transplanting, we suggest acclimatizing the young plants by taking them outside for a few hours once temperatures are above 50 °F (10 °C) during the day. Make sure to bring them back inside in the evening!

– Location, soil, and watering

– Location, soil, and watering

Pick a part of your garden that receives plenty of direct sun for at least 8 hours a day. Corn grows best in rich, well-draining soils, with a pH ranging from 5.5 to 7.0. Prepare the soil in advance, making sure to incorporate plenty of compost or manure and turning it to a depth of around 10 inches (25 cm).

Unlike corn grown for the mature cobs, baby corn requires less space and can even be planted along a fence. This is because the young cobs do not need to be pollinated, which means that you also don’t have to worry about corn ears that aren’t evenly filled. As we said, it’s so much easier than growing actual corn.

Sow your baby sweet corn plants 8 inches (20 cm) apart by placing the compostable seed pot directly in the soil. Water well, and don’t let the soil dry out as the plants become established. These plants have shallow roots, and therefore will not tolerate drought. During scorching weather, daily watering is a must.

– What is the ideal temperature for growing baby corn?

Corn grows best in temperatures ranging from 77 °F to 91 °F (25 °C to 33 °C). Anything above or below that range, and you will notice that the growth will become stunted.

– Fertilizer

Corn is a type of grass, and like all grasses, it thrives on nitrogen-based fertilizers. Apply a fertilizer with a nutrient ratio of 10-5-5 once every 3 weeks after transplanting the plants to your garden. You can also add mulch to the base of the plants, which will inhibit weeds and help retain the moisture in the soil.

– Corn flowers

Corn plants can grow very fast and very tall, though they won’t typically need support. It’s not uncommon for them to reach heights of up to 8 feet (2.5 meters). About 2 months after they have been sown, the plants produce a tassel-like flower at the top. This is the male flower, which will produce the pollen needed for the mature corn kernels.

At around the same time, you will also notice the female corn flowers make an appearance.

These grow lower on the stalk, close to the base of the leaves. They are very easy to identify due to the light green ‘silk’ strands emerging from leafy husks. Keep a close eye on the female flowers: once they start popping up, it’s only a matter of days before they are ready to be harvested!

– Common problems and pests

Sweet corn plants are susceptible to numerous pests and problems, especially fungal diseases. Some of the most common ones include common rust, charcoal rot, anthracnose, downy mildew, and leaf blight. On the flip side, the fact that baby corn is harvested early means that you don’t have to worry about earworms, fall armyworms, corn borers, or ear rot.

However, most of the problems you will encounter in your corn plants will require chemical insecticides and pesticides. Our only recommendation is to try to choose corn varieties resistant to diseases and rotate your crops once every 1 or 2 years to avoid further contamination.

Your corn crop will also be susceptible to weeds, which are encouraged to grow around the plants due to the moist soil and the abundant nutrients. We recommend pulling them out by hand rather than using herbicides. However, be careful not to remove weeds too vigorously as you risk damaging the shallow roots of the corn plants in the process.

– Growing baby corn in containers

Baby corn is one of the easiest vegetables you can grow indoors, in containers. It has a shallow root system, so it doesn’t need huge pots. Growing it indoors will also protect it from pests and diseases and be knocked over by the wind. You don’t need to worry about allowing space for pollination, which means you can quickly grow 5 or 6 plants in one pot.

Corn does tend to grow very tall, so if you’re worried about space in your home or on your balcony, we recommend growing smaller varieties. Dwarf sweet corn only grows to a height of 5 feet (1.5 meters), making it easy to manage. As a bonus, it can also work as a houseplant, and you can even use it to form a vertical green wall for privacy.

Start by picking at least 20 inches wide container and 12 inches deep (50 x 30 cm), with drainage holes at the bottom. Fill the container with a soil mixture that is nutrient-rich but also well-draining. Loamy soils are a good choice, as they contain enough sand, clay and silt to prevent the plants from becoming waterlogged.

If you’re growing baby corn in containers indoors, you can sow the kernels in the soil directly, without using seed trays or pots. In this case, we suggest sowing around 10 seeds per pot and thinning them out to 5 or 6 plants once they develop two or three sets of leaves each. This will give you some backup in case not all seeds have germinated and allow you to keep the healthier plants.

Keep your container of baby corn plants in a warm and well-lit part of your house. Water regularly, and pay very close attention to the soil moisture levels. Plants grown in containers tend to dry out much quicker than those grown in your garden, so check the soil daily. Apply a nitrogen-rich, liquid fertilizer solution once every three weeks after your corn kernels have germinated.

As with corn grown outdoors, you will notice the male flower’s tassel after about 4 or 6 weeks after the seeds have germinated. The female flowers will appear around the same time. And before you know it, it’s time for the most exciting step: harvesting baby corn.

Future of Baby Corn in India

In India no cultivar has been exclusively bred for baby corn purpose. Prolific and early maturing cultivars have been mostly popularized as baby corn cultivar. In order to encourage uniformity in the material more emphasis is to be given towards development of early maturing prolific hybrids. As baby corn with light yellow colour and regular row arrangement fetches better market price, at the time of breeding for baby corn attention must be kept in this direction.

In recent past baby corn has gained popularity in regular vegetable markets in urban areas. However, keeping in mind the nutritive value of baby corn there is a need to popularize it further in other urban and rural areas. Though baby corn is being sold in domestic market, they are being sold without proper processing. As a result there is considerable reduction in qualities of the cobs. This is principally due to lack of awareness among the farmers and due to non-existence of proper storage facilities and location of the farms far away from the market. Thus there is a need to develop appropriate entrepreneurship and establishment of appropriate storage and marketing facilities and popularization of baby corn cultivation in periurban agriculture. However, this is dependent on organization of markets and support from government sectors. Where baby corn is being grown for further market and export, extra care is to be taken to process the cobs and can them within two to three hours of harvest. Otherwise they will lose their nutritive value.


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