(Zea mays) Hickory King is one of the oldest types of cultivated corn and was originally selected for the mountains of Appalachia. Plants can grow 12’ tall with 2 large ears per stalk containing huge yellow kernels no longer seen in modern corn.
A great roasting corn, excellent dried for milling, especially as grits or cornmeal. Dent corn can be enjoyed fresh when young, although not as sweet as more common sweet corn varieties.
Tight husks help prevent corn worms.
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Sow outdoors 6-10" apart in rows 24-36" apart, in fertile soil and full sun after all danger of last spring frost and soil has warmed thoroughly. Because corn is wind-pollinated, plant it in blocks of rows, rather than in a long, single row, which would result in poor pollen distribution on the silks and many kernel "skips" (ears only partly filled out with kernels).
Easy to grow from seed.
Traditionally planted with beans and winter squash, known as the 3 sisters.
When the seedlings are large enough to handle, thin them to 12" apart. Give plants 1-2" of water every week.
Corn requires rich soil with ample nitrogen and moisture. Even good garden soils may need some fertilizer to produce a top-quality crop. Aged manure and/or compost, mixed well into the soil, is helpful. Growing corn in an area that had healthy beans or peas the previous year is helpful because these legumes contribute more nitrogen to the soil.
Corn is ready about 3 weeks after the silks appear; harvest when the silks are brown, but not dried, and the husks are dark green; ears should be plump. For sweet corn, harvest when kernels are filled in and milk. Pull back the husk and pop a kernel with your thumb; a milky juice squirting out means corn is ready. If juice is watery, corn is still immature. For dent and popcorn, allow to dry on stalk and harvest just around 1st frost.