Feeling inspired by last night’s Big Allotment Challenge? The final was all about growing fabulous sweetcorn and melons. The winners Tom and Ed won Best in Show for their sweetcorn. They chose the supersweet variety ‘Swift’. These should produce a high yield and early crop, and are perfect for growing in our unpredictable British weather! Read on to find out how you can do it too.
Here’s our guide to growing your own sweetcorn from seed:
Sowing: Sow 1cm (1/2”) deep in 7.5cm (3”) pots or modular seed trays using free draining compost. Keep indoors on a sunny windowsill in a propagator or polythene bag until after germination.
Preparation: Soil should be well-prepared with organic matter, such as manure, in a sheltered sunny position.
Growing: After risk of frosts has passed plant out in blocks 45cm (18”) apart.
Care: Once cobs start to form water well and add fresh compost around the base of each plant. Stake plants individually if they are tall or the location is exposed.
Harvest: August-September. The cobs are ripe when the silks (tassels) turn brown and when the liquid of the grains is thin and creamy. For best results eat them as soon as possible after harvesting.
TOP TIP: Tap the tops of the plants when the male flowers (tassels) open to help pollination; poor pollination results in sparsely filled cobs.
If you prefer to buy plants rather than grow from seed we have a very popular variety called ‘Earlibird’.It produces large cobs with wonderfully sweet and tender flesh. Or for something a bit different you could try a variety called ‘Fiesta’.These produce multi-coloured seeds and are ideal for growing in cooler climates. Both are available to buy now at Perrywood.