Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Year Of The Sweetcorn

I made last year The Year Of The Carrot. I'd had trouble getting carrot seed to germinate, never mind getting any carrots to the harvesting stage, so I concentrated my efforts on this vegetable with some success. I've still got some in my freezer waiting to be eaten. Before I had my allotment, I grew sweetcorn in containers in the garden and was very successful with them, but since I've tried to grow them on the allotment, I haven't had any success at all. Looking back at how well I did with my carrots last year after declaring 2011 the year of the carrot, I've decided that 2012 will be the year of the sweetcorn and I shall make an extra effort in getting them to grow. I've chosen Sweet Bounty, which is a Super-sweet, F1 variety. Now I just need to get them to grow, though I won't be sowing them just yet.

This year, I'm having a go at growing onions from seed rather than sets. Christmas Day was always the traditional time to sow onion seeds as apparently, the longer the growing season, the larger they'll be when it comes to harvesting them. I haven't sown them yet, so with this in mind I'd better get my skates on. Perhaps this weekend will see the first sowing of the year.

We've got gales here again today. I was woken up in the early hours with winds whistling round the house, and I'm sure I heard a few people's wheelie bins being blown over. It's calmed down a little since then, so I'm hoping that there's been no damage.


  1. I love growing sweetcorn, it's so tasty straight from the garden. Mine were disappointing last year, the top half of the cobs didn't set. Not sure if that was lack of sun or poor pollination. I always give them a shake to spread the pollen around. xx

  2. Our sweet corn was hopeless last year too. I reckon it was a combination of a dry cool summer. Lets hope for better this year

  3. We had gales last night as well. It's scary listening to them. I tried growing corn one year. The plants looked healthy but then the corn didn't mature before frost wiped it out. I haven't grown since. I'm interested that you grew them in pots. I think my 2012 will stick with carrots as first choice since i had such success this year.

  4. I'm having a go with Sweet Corn this year too - as part of my planned 3 Sisters arrangement. Let's hope it works. I've only tried growing sweetcorn once before and it was a flop. I don't think I had enough plants, or put them close enough for proper pollination to take place. I've read up on this and the consensus seems to be to create a nice dense patch of plants so that they can all fertilise each other. Sounds like a cosy arrangement! :0

  5. Have grown sweetcorn before but the cobs weren't full of corn there wer great big patches of nothingness - so I haven't bothered since. Good luck with yours though

  6. Watch out for magpies stripping the husks to get to the corn.

    As I only grow open pollinated seeds, I usually go with Golden Bantam. Two years back I grew Hopi Blue. Lovely nutty flavour when roasted, and the hens loved it when I gave them the less than perfect cobs.

  7. Good idea hope we have a fairly dry and warm summer this year!

  8. I hope your sweetcorn growing goes well Jo, I always start mine off in pots in the greenhouse and make sure they are a couple of inches high before planting out in a square!!

    Just something to think about.

    Glad your carrots did well last year...i still have some in the ground on the plot!!

  9. As Martyn said - no sweet corn for us last year but we did have some left in the freezer from the year before. It was the first year we had a problem which we put down to draught so just write off last year as being one of those things - for us this year will be the year of the celery and celeriac.

  10. Good luck with your 2012 year of the sweetcorn. I think 2012 will be my year of crops I haven't tried before. Last year was my first year on my plot so I grew things I knew weren't too difficult. Well this year I'm growing some squash, celeriac and cucumbers which are all new to me. I'm hoping they all turn out well.

  11. I think sweetcorn is one of the things which you can really taste the difference of home grown with, Serendipity, especially when it's cooked immediately after harvesting.

    I haven't managed to grow any sweetcorn for the last three years, Martyn, I must be doing something wrong. I'm hoping that by paying it more attention this year, it will do it's thing for me.

    The gales scare me to death, Kelli, my worst kind of weather. I really wasn't holding out much hope when I decided to try growing sweetcorn in containers, but it worked wonders. I planted two plants to a bucket sized container, four containers in total, eight plants. They grew really well and I got two or three cobs from each plant.

    We'll both have to encourage each other with our sweetcorn this year, Mark. It sounds like you've done your research so you're good to go. Let's hope we both get a good harvest.

    Thanks, Elaine. The bare patches are down to poor pollination. Sweetcorn is wind pollinated so it's best to grow them in blocks rather than rows, though I'm sure you know that already.

    I've never heard of magpies stripping corn, Blue Shed Thinking. I can imagine that your chickens will very pleased when they get some corn, I bet it's one of their favourites.

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some sunshine this summer, Damo, though I don't want it too dry, remember we don't have any piped water on our plot.

    I've always started my sweetcorn off in the same way, Tanya. The seed gets sown in three inch pots and then planted out in block formation after about three weeks. They were fine when I grew them in containers, they just don't do well on the allotment.

    I've never grown celery or celeriac, Sue. In fact, I've never eaten celeriac, though I've read many blogs which say it's difficult to grow. I think it's a case of keeping it well watered. I'll be intereted to see how you do with it.

    Thanks, Wellywoman, and good luck to you too. Growing new things keeps it interesting. Even if I don't try new veggies, I like to try new varieties.

  12. Good luck with the sweetcorn, i would really love to succeeed in growing it, ours were like bullets last year :-(

  13. Good luck with the sweetcorn. I'm not going to bother this year as it has failed for the last 2 years. I will be watching to see how you get on.

  14. You can blame the lack of sunshine in August for the poor sweetcorn last year. I'm trying a different variety, Sundance, this year.
    Onions from seed generally do well for most people, but I'm sticking with sets again this year.
    Flighty xx

  15. Whew, lucky I read this Jo, I had no idea that onion seed needed to be sown so soon! I'm growing my white onions from seed this year - a bit of an experiment as I saved the seed from one Snowball onion that was allowed to develop a seed head. I couldn't find the white onion sets that I wanted so thought I should give it a go and try growing from seed. That will be MY challenge for 2012! Will watch with interest to see how your sweet corn develops ... Good luck!

  16. Keeping my fingers crossed for you Jo as homegrown, freshly picked and cooked sweetcorn are absolutely delicious. Only grow about 16 plants or so each year but I have been lucky with them up to now. Hope that the gales did not do any damage.

  17. Sigh I can't do sweetcorn either. Badgers get it. There's not much I can grow when I think about it :o

  18. Will watch with interest - something I've not had much success with myself but there's nothing like eating fresh cobs ... yum!

    Hope your growing year goes well, hoping to blog a bit more about ours this year - kind of got left behind all my crafts and other things last year.

    Roll on the good growing weather x

  19. Thanks, Scented Sweetpeas. Maybe this year will be the year that we both succeed, last year was a bit hit and miss with quite a few things because of the weather.

    Thanks, The Cookie Jar. It's disheartening when you get failures a couple of years on the trot, but I'm not letting it put me off. It took me three years to get an aubergine to fruit, and I managed it eventually, so I'm still holding out for some sweetcorn.

    I'm hoping for better weather this year, Flighty, it'll help me in my quest for sweetcorn. I'm hoping that I don't regret growing onions from seed, time will tell.

    Thanks, Caro. It's a first for me growing onions from seed so we'll both have to compare how we get on.

    I don't think there's any taste quite like home grown sweetcorn, Anna, especially when it's cooked as soon as it's been picked. We didn't suffer any damage in the gales, we've been extremely lucky.

    Badgers are so cute, Lorna, but they must be such a pest when there's things you can't grow because of them. I'm very lucky that I don't suffer damage due to badgers, foxes or even rabbits. Slugs tend to take their toll though.

    I think we'll have quite a bit of winter weather to put up with before the good growing weather arrives, Dawn, though I tend to get a bit impatient waiting at this time of year. I set up a separate blog to blog about things other than gardening, I tend to look back at this blog as a reminder and thought the posts might get lost if other things were blogged about here too.

  20. I hd a bumper crop of sweetcorn last year, I grew bavy and normal size corn and they were wonderful.
    Allot of people this year seem to be going down the route of seed onion as apose to set, must be somthing in the air!
    good luck.

  21. Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, Stacy. There's nothing quite like home grown sweetcorn, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I get a bumper crop this year. Although I'm growing onions from seed this year, I'm still going to grow shallots from sets, which reminds me that I must buy some.


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