Sweetcorn, also known as maize, can be grown successfully in the UK but it does require good summer conditions to get the best crop. We certainly believe it’s worth giving it a try. The plants look great, giving some height to the vegetable patch, and if you can pick sweetcorn straight from your garden and eat it fresh it will be at its sweetest. Sweetcorn was cultivated as far back as 5000BC in Mexico and selection by those ancient people produced larger cobs of better nutritional quality and more yield per plant. Cultivation spread to North America where indigenous people selected and improved the crop. Maize came to Europe via the Spanish and is known in the UK as corn, a ubiquitous name for all the seed-bearing grass crops (which can be a little confusing).
True Gold is an heirloom variety with golden yellow kernels and a rich buttery taste. True Gold is a tall growing sweetcorn and matures in about 90 days the cobs are best eaten as soon as possible after harvest.
How to grow: We recommend growing sweetcorn in the miscellaneous section of your rotation, or in with legumes. Sow seeds in pots or deep modules in April and May undercover at 13 degrees C. This gives the plants a head start ready to be transplanted into their growing site in May or early June. Plant in blocks 45cm apart rather than rows as sweetcorn is wind pollinated and to get well-filled cobs the pollen needs a greater chance of reaching the adjacent plants. Seed can be planted directly into the growing site in May and early June, two or three seeds in blocks 45cm apart. Thin to the one strongest seedling. Keep weed-free or mulch between the plants, water at flowering in dry conditions. Harvest the cobs from September. When ready the tassels will turn brown and then black. You can gently ease back some of the husk and check that the cobs are plump and ready. Pull the cob off the plant with a downward motion while supporting the plant with the other hand. Pests and diseases: Sweetcorn does not suffer from many pests and diseases although aphids can be a problem. We suggest encouraging beneficial insects like ladybirds to help control aphids. How to cook: Sweetcorn is best cooked and eaten straight away before the sugars start to turn to starch and some of the sweetness is lost. It can be baked with the husks still on which creates a natural steaming effect or remove the husks and silks and boil for about 10 minutes until tender. We also like to remove the kernels (carefully, with a sharp knife) and use them in fritters and other recipes.
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