As a vegetable it would have to be one of the most delicious veggies grown fresh. Store bought, so called fresh, sweet corn is always found lacking due to one important fact. After harvesting corn cobs, the sugars in the corn rapidly convert to starch, unless you eat it raw quickly, cook it or store it just above 0°C (32°F) until blanched and frozen. Store bought sweet corn tastes bland and starchy because these conditions are not met.
So knowing that fact, one would naturally want to grow ones own sweet corn to get maximum flavour, wouldn't one?
Let me tell you that growing corn is easy. It is grown from seed, which you can either sow early to get a head start in your green house by planting in it tubes, like I did this season, or plant directly in to soil which has had lots of home made compost dug through it.
|Planting Sweet Corn from seedlings|
Sweet Corn needs regular watering, after all, the corn kernels are mostly water. I tend to irrigate every few days after testing the soil with my finger. If it comes out moist, I check again the next day and water if necessary. A heavy mulch, 10 cm (4 inches) deep, of either straw or sugar mulch helps trap in the moisture during our long dry summer.
I don't fertilize my sweet corn, as I add so much organic matter into the soil before planting. Additionally, I also planted about eight lazy housewife runner beans throughout the beg after I planted the seedlings. These plants provided additional nitrogen for the corn, which helped keep them healthy. Your corn stalks will grow to about 900mm (3 feet), but some varieties grow taller, with more than one ear per stalk.
|Sweet Corn fully grown|
You can tell when the ears are ready to eat by doing a couple of little tests. The silk on the ear should be dark brown, and if you open the husk and press one of the kernels with your thumb nail you should get a milky liquid.
|Sweet Corn ears ready for harvest|
|Corn harvested by Ben!|
|Sweet Corn in husk|
|De-husked, ready for the pot.|
You can also freeze sweet corn by blanching it for 5 minutes to stop the sugar to starch conversion, then cut in half and freeze. It stores for about six months if then vacuum packed and frozen.
So, with the favour differential between store bough sweet corn and home grown fresh being a factor of a bajillion, it pays to grow your own if you have space. You will never regret this decision and wonder why you didn't do it sooner.
I love fresh sweet corn. How about you?