Sweetcorn

Sow: April/May
Harvest: August/September
Conditions: Full sun

Sweetcorn can be sewn directly into your prepared bed but given the unpredictable British climate, starting off in a propagator or pots would give you a stronger start.

When your plants are 2-3 inches tall, plant them out in a well-prepared bed in full sun. Plant every 30cm in rows spaced 60cm apart. Each plant will grown 2-4 ears of corn.

Keep them well-watered and when they’re getting ready to harvest, the silk threads at the top (the tassel) will turn brown. To check if your sweetcorn is ready to harvest, peel back some of the husk and pierce one of the kernels. If a milky liquid comes out, it’s good to go.

To pick, twist the cob and it will come away from the plant.

Note: Corn is a perfect plant for growing with squash, cucumbers, melons… anything that rambles and trails. Both gourds and corn need a lot of space but co-habit perfectly as the corn grows high above the mulch plant, allowing both to thrive in the same space. In the Native American ‘Three Sisters’ method of companion planting, beans are also grown with corn and squash, growing up the corn and fixing nitrogen in the soil to improve conditions for all.

Containers:

You can grown sweetcorn in containers, as long as they have enough space. Sweetcorn needs pollination from a neighbour plant, so make sure you have room to grow multiple plants, about 30cm apart. As the plants can grow to between 5-7ft, make sure the tub is well anchored.

Storage

Fresh whole cobs will keep for a day or two in the fridge but to store it long term, you’ll need to remove the corn from the cob.

To freeze, shuck the corn (remove the husks and the ‘silk’ threads) and boil the cobs whole for 4 minutes. Remove from the boiling water and plunge into a bowl of icy cold water. When cooled, cut the kernels from the cob and place into a freezer bag.

Preserves: Sweetcorn is perfect for adding to chutneys or of course, making sweetcorn relish.

Companion Planting:

GOOD: Beans, Cucumbers, Melon, Parsley, Peas, Potato, Squash.

BAD: Celery, Tomato

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