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SweetcornSweet Corn

Sweet Corn needs plenty of space as it can grow up to 2m (6ft) tall depending on the variety, and must been grown in blocks as it is pollinated by the wind knocking together the plants so they pollenate each other.  Nothing beats fresh Sweet Corn, in fact my little lad likes nothing more than to pick a cob and munch it straight off the plant!

Sweet Corn

Benefits of the Sweet Corn

  • Yellow variety corn has significant levels of phenolic flavonoid pigment antioxidants such as ß-carotenes, and lutein, xanthins and cryptoxanthin pigments along with vitamin A.
  • Corn is a good source of phenolic flavonoid antioxidant, ferulic acid. Several research studies suggest that ferulic acid plays vital role in preventing cancers, aging, and inflammation in humans.
  • It also contains good levels of some of the valuable B-complex group of vitamins such as thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folates, riboflavin, and pyridoxine.
  • Further, it contains healthy amounts of some important minerals like zinc, magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese.
  • Corn is also a good source of vitamin C

Drawback

  • At 86 calories per 100 g, sugar corn kernels are moderately high in calories on comparison to other vegetables.
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  Sowing
  Growing
  Harvesting
  Sweet Corn Varieties
  Problems
How to Sow Sweetcorn

Sweetcorn SeedlingsSweetcorn Seedlings

When to Sow Sweetcorn

  • Sow Indoors: April
  • Plant Out: May to June
  • Sow Outdoors: May

How to Sow Sweetcorn

  • In April start indoors in pots, 6-10cm sized ones I like best
  • If planting outdoors wait till May when the soil is at least 10˚C
  • Sow outdoor seeds 2.5cm (1in) deep and 2 seeds per station in a block formation.
  • Thin out removing the weeker seedlings.
  • Spacings: 35-45cm (18-24in).

 

Growing Sweetcorn

Sweetcorn Growing & Male Flowers (tassels)Sweetcorn Growing & Male Flowers (tassels)

Growing Sweetcorn

As the plants are wind pollinated they should be grown in blocks rather than rows, 45cm (18in) apart. Conversely, there are some mini sweet corn cultivars which are harvested before fertilisation, and so don't need to be grown in a block and can even be grown as a windbreak.

Grow sweet corn in a sheltered, sunny position, protected from strong wind, on any fertile garden soil. Add up to two bucketful’s of organic matter, such as rotted manure, and also rake in 100g per sq m (3oz per sq yd) of Growmore before planting. Plants are less successful on dry or heavy soil.

Mulch with organic matter, to conserve moisture and suppress weeds and mound soil over the roots, which appear at the base of the stems. Hoe carefully as they are shallow rooted.
Stake plants individually if they are tall or the location is exposed.

Water well in dry weather; this is vital when the plants are flowering. Tap the tops of the plants when the male flowers (tassels) open to help pollination; poor pollination results in sparsely filled cobs. Liquid feed when the cobs begin to swell.

Harvesting Sweetcorn

Harvesting SweetcornHarvesting Sweetcorn

When to Harvest Sweetcorn

  • Harvest: August onwards when tassels turn brown.

Tips for Harvesting

  • Test for ripeness when the tassels have turned chocolate brown.
  • Squeeze a grain between thumbnail and fingernail; if a watery liquid squirts out, it is unripe; if it is creamy, the cob is ready; if paste-like it is over-mature.
  • Twist ripe cobs from the stem.
  • They rapidly lose their flavour so the quicker you eat them the better they will taste, they can be eaten raw too!

 

Sweet Corn Varieties

 

Sweet Corn Varieties to try

  • Early Extra Sweet F1 SH2 Sweet Corn
    • 20cm long cobs filled with fine flavoured kernels. A super sweet variety (SH) which matures from September onwards..
  • Kelvedon Glory F1 SU Sweet Corn
    • An old favourite giving early crops from August onwards. Good flavour and high quality cobs with golden yellow kernels..
  • Minipop F1 SU Sweet Corn
    • Specially bred to produce baby sweet corn so popular in stir-fry and salad dishes. Plant very close together.
  • Sweet Nugget F1 SH2 Sweet Corn
    • Medium long cobs with large kernels of pleasing golden colour. Excellent sweet flavour, a super sweet type (SH). Well suited to cooler conditions. Harvests from early September.
  • Swift F1 SH2 Sweet Corn
    • A first early extra tender variety. Heavy cobs of superb taste and texture with 14 to 16 rows of golden kernals.

  • Tasty Gold F1 SH2 Sweet Corn
    • The 21cm long cobs are filled right up to the tip with golden kernels of super sweet flavour. This is a super sweet type (SH). Matures early September onwards.
Problems Growing Sweetcorn

Sweet Corn Pests!Sweet Corn Pests!

Mice:

These rodents will eat the seeds of sweetcorns when planted

Remedy:

Place traps around the area where sweetcorn seeds are sown.

Birds:

Jays and pigeons damage ripening crops

Remedy:

Either net the entire crop or place plastic bags over individual cobs.

Slugs and snails:

These feed on the young seedlings and you'll see the tell tale slime trail on the soil around your crop, as well as on the leaves.

Remedy:

There are many ways to control slugs and snails, including beer traps, sawdust or eggshell barriers and copper tape.

 

 

 

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