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Sweetcorn

Zea mays var. saccharata

  • ABOUT

The sugar in ‘Polaris’ sweetcorn starts to turn into starch immediately after it’s picked, so sweetcorn will never be sweeter than when you pick it from your own garden. Sweetcorn is a heat-lover and won’t survive outside if it’s too cold. Don’t move it into the garden until Labour Weekend at the earliest.

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  • Follow The Steps!

Getting started

  • Peel the sticker off and find your soil tablet, leave it in the tray.
  • Pour 60ml of water into the hole with the soil tablet. All the way to the top of the hole. 
  • Let the soil tablet absorb all the water for 5 minutes.
  • Mix the water into the soil with your fingers to make a even wet mixture. 
  • Remember to wash your hands when you’re done.

How to keep your Little Garden healthy

  • Place the tray in a place with enough light, but not directly in the sun. 
  • Check the soil daily. If the soil feels dry and crumbly, pour a small amount of clean water over the surface. 
  • You should see a little plant appear from the soil in 1 or 2 weeks, which means the seeds have germinated and will be ready soon to move into a bigger pot or garden. 
  • You can thin your sweetcorn seedling by choosing the strongest-looking one if more than one little plant grows.

When your seedling is ready to go in the garden

  • Shift it into the garden, hen your sweet corn is about as tall as your hand (in 3-4 weeks), but only if the weather is reliably settled and warm. 
  • Harden off your sweetcorn seedling by putting it in a warm and sheltered spot for 1-2 hours a day and return inside for the night. Do this for 4-5 days, leaving it outside for a little longer each day before you shift it out into the garden forever.

Planting best practice

  • Sweetcorn is a heavy feeder so give your sweetcorn a sheltered spot with full sun and rich fertile soil: dig through some compost and sheep pellets a few weeks before planting. 
  • If you have multiple sweetcorn plants, group them in a block rather than a row, to ensure every kernel is pollinated (otherwise you’ll end up with gappy cobs – they’ll still be edible, just won’t look very nice). 
  • Remember, this is a tall crop that can grow to about 2m high, so plant it where it won’t cast shade on the rest of your crops.

Look after your plant while it’s growing

  • Keep sweet corn well-watered, especially after the cobs start to form, so the kernels are juicy and sweet.

Harvest time

  • When the silky tassels at the end of each cob are starting to look withered and dry after 3-4 months, your corn cobs should be ready to        harvest. 
  • To test for ripeness, squeeze a single kernel between your fingers. If the liquid inside is milky, your corn is ready to eat. If it’s watery, it’s unripe, so wait a little longer. 

Watch out

  • Birds will pull out corn seedlings, so protect your plants with chicken-wire or bird netting, especially while they’re getting established. 
  • Slugs and snails love to nibble on swan plant seedlings, so create your own pest protection, lay out bait or pick off these slimy pests. 
  • Corn plants can also be attacked by caterpillars, and they’ll want to eat your delicious corn cobs. If you see any caterpillars, pick them off and spray the plants with a pyrethrum spray or homemade chilli and garlic spray. Make sure you spray the whole plant, including the bottoms of leaves.

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