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Miscellaneous

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Sweetcorn (zea mays)   Edit Report inappropriate crop

It's the fact that you can pick and then be cooking your own sweetcorn within the hour, before the sugars start turning to starch, that makes sweetcorn such a rewarding crop, but it does require the right conditions and a bit of care and attention.

Likes and dislikes
Soil
Stonyok
Lightok
Loamyprefer
Heavyok
pH5.5 - 7.0
Manure
Previous cropok
Previous autumnprefer
Before plantingdislike
Position
Full sunprefer
Partial shadedislike
Shadedislike
Exposure
Opendislike
Shelteredprefer

Sow indoors

sow indoors sow indoors

In colder areas or to get a head-start, sow two seeds per pot/cell 2.5cm deep and germinate at 18°C, removing the weaker seedling. Harden off before planting out.


plant plant

Between plants: 45cm
Between rows: 45cm

Plant out in blocks not rows to encourage wind-pollination. Weed by hand as hoeing may damage the shallow roots. Water and mulch at the end of flowering when the cobs are swelling. Earth up around roots to provide extra support. Protect young plants from mice with tubes made from plastic bottles with the ends cut off and from birds with netting.


harvest harvest

When the tassels on each cob have turned brown, test for ripeness by peeling back the sheath around the cob and pushing a fingernail into a kernel and look for a creamy liquid - a clear liquid indicates you are too early. Twist off cobs just before you head for home and cook quickly to make the most of their sweetness.


Sow outdoors

sow outdoors sow outdoors

Between plants: 45cm
Between rows: 45cm

Sow two seeds per station 2.5cm deep in blocks rather than rows to encourage wind pollination, removing the weaker seedling when large enough to handle. Weed by hand as hoeing may damage the shallow roots. Water and mulch at the end of flowering when the cobs are swelling. Earth up around roots to provide extra support. Protect young plants from mice with tubes made from plastic bottles with the ends cut off and from birds with netting.


sow indoors sow indoors

Sow one seed, 5cm deep, per deep pot to allow room for the strong roots. Used loo roll inners work well if handled carefully and there is no need to remove when planting, they simply rot away.\nA cool greenhouse, conservatory or windowsil (12&degree;C or more) is ideal for this.


harvest harvest

When the tassels on each cob have turned brown, test for ripeness by peeling back the sheath around the cob and pushing a fingernail into a kernel and look for a creamy liquid - a clear liquid indicates you are too early. Twist off cobs just before you head for home and cook quickly to make the most of their sweetness.


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Top tips
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If you want to make sure that you get the sweetcorn that you paid for plant different varieties at least two weeks apart so that they flower at different times or with at least 5-10m between blocks. If you don't do this the varieties may cross-pollinate with unpredictable flavour results.
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