Much of the corn grown today is dent or field corn, a starchy variety that is harvested when the kernels are dry. It is used for animal feed, corn meal, corn oil, bio fuel, high fructose corn syrup, and other food manufacturing. When corn is mature, it is considered a cereal grain. Sweet corn, is the result of a naturally occurring genetic mutation that controls the conversion of sugar to starch in the kernel. This causes sweet corn to have two to four times more sugar content than field corn. Sweet corn ears are harvested while still immature. When eaten fresh, it is considered a fruit. Sweet corn is an easy crop to grow at home. It is a warm season plant that thrives in long, hot summers. Choose a spot in your yard that receives at least six hours of sunlight each day. Strong winds can easily flatten your crop so choose a site that is somewhat sheltered. Corn plants prefer aged, fertile soil. When possible, amend garden plots with compost or manure in the fall before sowing seeds the following spring. Sow seeds directly into the soil two weeks after the risk of frost has passed. Ideally, soil temperature should be above 60°F for successful germination. Plant seeds 2 inches deep and 6 inches apart. Because corn is pollinated by wind, it’s more efficient to plant them in blocks instead of long rows. When seedlings are 4 inches tall, thin them so they are 12 inches apart. Available in dozens of yellow, white, and bicolor cultivars, most backyard gardeners should stick to one type per season. Corn is wind pollinated and different varieties should be kept separated by a minimum of 800 feet to prevent cross pollination Which can ruin the entire crop. When seeds are planted, water the site well Corn needs a lot of moisture to germinate. Once sprouted, they need a minimum of 1 inch of water each week for good growth. Sweet corn shouldn’t need much additional fertilization But if you notice it could use a boost, choose an NPK balanced fertilizer. Corn is one of the Three Sisters and grows particularly well alongside beans and squash plants. These three have a mutually beneficial relationship Corn provides support for beans to climb, beans release nitrogen into the soil, and squash block sunlight from the soil to suppress weeds, conserve moisture, and act as a living mulch. Other good companions include beets, cucumber, dill, melons, peas, potatoes, parsley, and sunflowers. Avoid planting corn next to celery and tomatoes. Although corn can grow pretty tall, they are study plants that shouldn’t need additional supports. If, however, bad weather or foraging animals topple your plants, use individual stakes on each plant. Once the silks of the corn plant emerge, you can assist with pollination by gently shaking the plant to loosen the pollen. Depending on the variety, sweet corn should be ready to harvest in 60 to 90 days after sowing. When the silks begin to turn brown, peel a bit of husk back and prick a kernel with a fingernail. If a milky liquid comes out, it is ready to harvest if the liquid is clear, it needs more time to mature. Pick corn off the plant by pulling ears downward and twisting.