Sweetcorn must be one of the most rewarding crops to grow as the taste of freshly picked cobs is so very much better than anything shop bought. If you haven’t tried it yet and have the space, then do give sweetcorn a go. You really won’t be disappointed.
May is the month to sow sweetcorn seeds direct in the garden or allotment. If you’ve ordered Dobies sweetcorn plants, then we will be despatching this month. Although sweetcorn is tender and so can’t be started too early it is a fast maturing vegetable that doesn’t need too long a growing season. As long as we have a decent summer! From sowing to harvesting takes just 14 – 18 weeks.
Choose a sunny position, sheltered from strong winds and make sure the soil is weed free. Then sow the seeds, two at a time, at a depth of 2.cm and a distance of about 40cm. Once the seeds emerge you then carefully remove the weakest seedling of the two.
Sweetcorn is wind pollinated so needs to be grown in blocks, rather than rows. The larger the block the better but the minimum size is four rows by four rows. You’ll usually get one or two cobs per plant. Of course being wind pollinated means you will get cross-pollination so if growing different varieties do keep them well apart.
In dry weather water well but as sweetcorn is well rooted you are better giving them a really good soak a couple of times a week rather than teasing them with a more frequent sprinkle. As the cobs begin to swell give the plants a feed with liquid fertiliser.
When the tassels sprouting from the cobs start to go brown you’ll know they are pretty much ripened. To check, peel back a small amount of the husk and scrape a kernel with your nail. If the liquid that comes from the kernel is watery then leave it for a few days longer. However, if the liquid is creamy then the cob is ready for picking. But don’t be too hasty. Ideally sweetcorn should be used within an hour of being picked so light the BBQ or pop the main part of the meal in the oven before you pick those sweetly gorgeous cobs.
Some sweetcorn, in particular F1 Mirai Picnic is so sweet that although perfect for steaming or the BBQ it is equally delicious simply picked and eaten raw. Sweet perfection!