Two basic methods for growing corn include planting the corn in rows or planting it in hills, which are small circles in groups of three to five seeds per hill. Many gardeners prefer planting corn in rows, since it takes less time to plant, requires less thinning later, and makes the corn easier to harvest.
To plant corn in rows, stake the length of the rows, stretching a string on the ground to mark the line for each row. Draw a shallow 2-inch-deep furrow using the edge of a garden hoe; if desired, draw a parallel furrow of the same depth for adding fertilizer during the planting process. Space rows 24 to 36 inches apart. For proper pollination, plant a minimum of four rows.
Plant the seeds 8 to 10 inches apart by dropping them into the furrow and pushing them into the soil with the back of the hoe’s head. Cover the seeds with 1 1/2 inches of soil. If adding fertilizer to a second furrow, make one pass of the hoe cover the fertilizer and seeds at the same time. Firm the soil with the head of the hoe after adding the soil.
Plant corn in hills by staking the rows out using the same string method, but do not make furrows. Use the hoe to draw circular 6-inch furrows spaced 18 to 24 inches apart. Place three to five seeds inside each furrow along with a small handful of fertilizer. Cover the seeds with 1 1/2 inches of soil. Thin out all but two or three seedlings per hill once the seedlings emerge.