Q. Can I plant corn in a pot to start it and then replant it in the garden when it warms up, since it is still cold, or should I just wait and do it all outside?
A. Corn is a tender plant and will be killed by any frost. Also, it will not grow when the ground is cold. So, it should not be planted in the garden until the danger of frost is past and the ground has warmed up somewhat.
We have grown corn in the greenhouse successfully on several occasions, so it can definitely be done. You can plant in pots (2″ – 6-paks are preferred), but don’t do it more than 3-4 weeks before planting into the garden because they will outgrow the pots, require transplanting, and take up even more space
However, whether or not to plant under lights or in a greenhouse, and then transplant into the garden, should be decided based on other factors.
Any planting – and especially greenhouse production – should consider the value of the crop vs the cost and amount of work involved. Planting 50 corn plants will yield 50+ ears of corn MOL, worth about $5. Is it worth the time, cost, effort, and space in your growing facility, or are those scarce resources better used to grow something with more value to you? The other end of the value curve may be tomatoes, let’s compare. Fifty indeterminate tomato plants, grown vertically, will occupy only a little more space in your garden, but will yield 1,000-2,000 tomatoes worth $250-500.
Unless there is substantial value to you in having the first fresh-from-the-garden home-grown corn in the community, you may decide to grow something else.