Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

Essential Tools and Equipment for Growing and Enjoying Corn

Biodegradable pots, and other gardening tools

Biodegradable pots, and other gardening tools

Working your corn garden means having the right tools to do the job! And corn can be a tricky kitchen item, so having right tools for handling an ear of corn can make preparation easier. Here is a list of items to consider. If you don’t already have some of these items, please check our Resources section at the end of this Collection for recommended suppliers for acquiring the right tools and equipment. And remember, many of these items can be helpful to you for all of your gardening and kitchen needs—not just for corn:

Corn-specific tools and equipment:

Garden Seeder: Depending on the size of your garden, you may want to consider purchasing a push garden seeder that puts individual corn seeds in the ground while you walk behind. Garden seeders can be a big investment, but they’re highly efficient and allow you to customize planting depth and spacing while saving your back from repetitive bending down. Seeders are also quite versatile and can be used for many other crops including peas, beans, carrots, and lettuce.

Jab Planter: This is a more affordable hand seeder that allows you to stand while planting individual corn seeds in the ground. You can adjust the planting depth, and it works by pushing the spring-loaded tip into loose soil where a seed is deposited. This garden tool works well for other medium-to-large seeds including beans, pumpkins, squash, and cucumbers.

Corn De-Silker: There are all sorts of multi-purpose vegetable brushes that will remove pesky corn silk, but if you’re looking to save some money, try using a toothbrush.

Corn Peeler: Cutting corn off the cob with a knife sends kernels flying, and can be dangerous and inefficient. A corn peeler with a curved blade works well on both cooked and uncooked ears of corn. Simply run the tool down the length of the ear to remove a few rows of kernels at a time.

Corn Stripper: This circular tool acts like an apple corer.  Just push it down over the cob and twist to strip off the kernels.

Containers and Pots

If you want to start plants indoors before the outdoor growing season commences, you can try several environmentally friendly and free ways to begin with materials you probably already have:

  • Newspaper or brown-paper pots
  • Egg cartons
  • Toilet-paper rolls (yes, these work great!)
  • Random containers, kitchen pans, or baking sheets (you might need holes drilled into the bottom for drainage)—if you have aging or rusting kitchen pans that you’re looking to replace, they make for great “starter pots” for getting your garden launched inside
  • Starter trays and peat pots

Garden Gloves

Using a pair of garden gloves—and wearing long sleeves—when you’re tending to your plants is a good way to avoid skin irritation and to protect your fingers, hands, and arms. Get a comfortable pair of gloves that fit well, so you still have full dexterity in your garden.

Garden Trowel

A useful garden tool, the garden trowel is handy when filling your containers and when mixing compost and worm castings. Avoid cheap versions that can have flimsy handles that are prone to break. Even inferior metal trowels can bend in hard clay or rocky soil. Invest in a higher quality trowel, and you’ll have it for years!

Irrigation Equipment

Many plants thrive when watered slowly and deeply. While tedious and even sometimes difficult to do with a watering can, you might want to consider an irrigation method for keeping your plants slowly and deeply watered.

A standard sprinkler system is not the best solution—while easy to set up, the wide-ranging water coverage of a sprinkler can lead to wet plant leaves that promote diseases and can encourage weeds.

A drip-watering irrigation system that operates on a timer is one of the best irrigation solutions for watering plants. This type of system better controls how much water you use, minimizes water lost to evaporation, and more exactly directs water to where you want to soak your soil. While more expensive than a simple watering can, an investment in an irrigation system can pay off—specially to ensure proper watering when you’re at work or on vacation!

Pruners or Snippers

Wear your garden gloves while pruning, and be sure to get a set of pruners or snippers that are comfortable in your hand when cutting. Don’t skimp on this—you need something that cuts well and will endure through many seasons.

Rain Barrel

Some areas of the country experience drought conditions in the spring and summer, and some municipalities may impose watering bans; that means hand watering only. If you collect rainwater, you can put it to good use when it comes time to tend your plants. Some communities offer rain barrels at a special discount to encourage water conservation.


Every gardener—no matter what plants you’re tending—needs a spade, or even several of different sizes. Use your spade to move around compost, dig soil for your initial plant hole, and to keep your garden soil tidy.

Spray Pump or Bottle

To control the emergence or spread of plant diseases and pests, get a dedicated spray bottle for your potion to do the job. This is one thing you can go basic on—no need for anything fancy, as a simple plastic spray bottle is fine.

Watering Can

Watering cans allow you to better control exactly where the water is directed in your garden. Plant leaves and fruit don’t need water, the roots in the soil do. Get yourself a good-sized watering can, and have some fun finding a watering can with an interesting design that fits your personality. Also, you want one that has a comfortable grip.


A wheelbarrow makes it easy for you to move soil and mulch from plant to plant; and it works as an excellent mixing bowl when you’re combining the perfect soil blend. If you feel like a wheelbarrow is just a little over the top for your gardening needs, a 5-gallon bucket may suffice. Just make sure you have a good trowel to mix with.

Do you have any essential gardening tools you use that aren’t listed here? Please tell us which items you absolutely need for your gardening.

Do you have any essential gardening tools you use that aren’t listed here? Tell us which items you absolutely need for your corn gardening.


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