Sweetcorn is a popular vegetable to grow in every allotment, garden in the UK. The supersweet and sugar enhanced F1 varieties are the most popular for their really sweet taste and ease of growing them even for a beginner. The cobs are much tastier than the supermarket ones, as the sugar turns to starch rather quickly after picking.
Sowing the sweetcorn seeds:
The best time is to start sowing the sweetcorn is middle of April. Sow the sweetcorn seeds inside in small, about 7cm pots or in those larger seed cells 2cm deep, 1 or 2 seeds per pot. Using ordinary compost is fine if you don’t have seed sowing one. Sweetcorn seeds ideally need a temperature of 15 Celsius and above to germinate successfully.
The seeds can be sown directly outside from middle of May, but be prepared to loose some plants this way as mice and birds can find the seeds easily in the soil. Raising the sweetcorn inside is much recommended and it’s really worth the extra work.
Before transplanting the seedlings outside make sure that you acclimatize them to the outdoor conditions. This is easily done by leaving the plants outside for the day and putting them back inside for the night. Do this for 3-5 days before planting out in middle of May.
Sweetcorn needs a well dug, rich soil. Dig in plenty of home made compost or well rotted manure a month before planting out. Grow the plants in blocks, leaving 40-50 cm between the plants. This will help with the pollination, it is done by the wind in the sweetcorn’s case, and the plants protect each other from the wind too. If you have only limited space you can grow smaller veggies between the plants, like dwarf beans, lettuce. Water the plants in dry spells, especially when flowering.
Test the kernels before picking your sweetcorn, if the juice is sort of creamy and the kernels are soft then the cob is ready to be picked. Normally they ready when the silk is turned brown and just starting to shrivel.
Cook your cobs as soon as possible to avoid the sugar turning starch. Hmm… best on a hot barbeque straight on the plot!