Nature Notes

Sweet Corn on Schedule

 If the old adage, “Knee high by the 4th of July” rings true to the development of a good corn harvest, the Home Demo. Heirloom Garden should not leave Ted wanting this year.

A view from the main entrance to Home Demo. from Three Mile Drive.

Two weeks ago, what used to be small rows of ankle-biting sprouts in the Family of Four Garden have now shot up to head-height stalks. “Country Gentleman” and “Golden Bantam” sweet corn dominate the view entering the Demonstration area, and can be expected to attain heights of more than 8 feet.   

“The corn really shot up with the rain and the hot days,” Ted said, noting that they are now thriving in full sun. “We can’t have too much of this heat though, or it will present problems down the road.”

For now Ted and his crew will remain content to keep a close eye on watering, then look for signature brown tassels indicating the corn is ready for harvest.

Sweet corn adds visual vigor to any home garden. Plant different-paced varieties to harvest throughout the entire summer and fall. Expect one to two ears per plant.

All of the demonstration sweet corn, including “Stowell’s Evergeren” in Seed Saver’s Garden 2, were planted in blocks rather than rows to take advantage of a higher pollination rate. Grown closely together, blocks give the corn better chance for male tassels to make contact with female silks on the stalk, providing a higher pollination rate. Wind pollination makes corn an easy cross-pollinator though, so be sure to plant your different varieties at least 25 feet apart.

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