Sweetcorn

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chadspad
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Sweetcorn

Post: #218809 chadspad
Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:54 am

Ok, so we have several more months of ice, snow and freezing temperatures before I can start growing the stuff but was thinking of getting my seeds soon cos thats exciting in itself!

Now, usually I buy about 5 or 6 different varieties of sweetcorn thinking that I will check which one is the better for my type of ground, site etc but every year Ive had a duff results with produce. Do the different varieties cross-pollinate and thereby make the results worse? Should I stick to just one variety? And if so, can anyone recommend a good type for clay soil and fairly unsheltered site - both perfect conditions for sweetcorn to thrive in I know! :wink:
My parents B&B in the beautiful French Vendee http://bed-breakfast-vendee.mysite.orange.co.uk/

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Odsox
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Re: Sweetcorn

Post: #218818 Odsox
Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:06 pm

I've already done that (get seeds) as the UK seed companies have been having special offers for ages, and T&M have had free postage weekends a couple of times, and that's worth £3.99.

Sweetcorn wouldn't be affected by cross pollination unless you saved your own seed, as far as I know. What sort of problems have you been having I wonder, is it cobs that are only partially filled with kernels or is it the plants themselves that are not growing well ?
Can't help with the clay soil I'm afraid as my soil is peaty silt.

Interestingly (for me) the variety that I usually grow didn't do at all well last year and when I saw that I wasn't going to get much of a crop, I went and bought the only seed packet left in the local garden centre, which was a variety I'd never heard of. They were sowed far too late but quickly caught and overtook the others and gave a very good crop, mostly 3 cobs per plant ... and the most interesting part is they all flowered at the same time, both varieties, even though they were planted about 6 weeks apart.
Tony

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chadspad
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Re: Sweetcorn

Post: #218822 chadspad
Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:26 pm

Hi Odsox,

Im lucky if I get 1 cob per plant and then theyre tiny or only partially filled (and thats with growing at least 50 plants!) The plants all seem to grow well for a while but never end up like they say on the packs. Ive also suffered from that revolting grey mould several times. I know sweetcorn dont like to be exposed and my veg patch is completely open so wonder whether its too windy for them to pollinate properly. Im always most upset at the sweetcorn not doing well as its my fav and so expensive to buy in the shops in France (2.50 euros for 2!) if you can get it at all.

We are building raised beds this year so hoping that things will improve with all the veggies - was a terrible year last year :(
My parents B&B in the beautiful French Vendee http://bed-breakfast-vendee.mysite.orange.co.uk/

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Millymollymandy
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Re: Sweetcorn

Post: #218830 Millymollymandy
Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:48 pm

My plot is exposed and I usually have to stake my corn, and I get smut but haven't had any problems with getting plenty of cobs off them. I do space them out lots more than most people do as I have to get in to water them but usually get at least 3 full size cobs and about 2 or 3 smaller ones off each plant. I grow any old kind and usually a mix of different varieties because of problems with getting seed to germinate.

By the way as you are here I finally got round to whipping up that creme professional after it had been frozen. Took AGES but it did whip perfectly fine in the end!! :thumbright:
boboff wrote:Oh and just for MMM, :hugish: (thanks)


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chadspad
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Re: Sweetcorn

Post: #218832 chadspad
Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:56 pm

Hey M3 :wave:

Do you measure your plants when putting out or just do it by eye then? And do you shake the ears or leave it to do itself? Would you plant the different varieties all together or in separate sets?

Excellent news about the creme :cheers: Mine never lasts long enough to bother freezing though :icon_smile:
My parents B&B in the beautiful French Vendee http://bed-breakfast-vendee.mysite.orange.co.uk/

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Re: Sweetcorn

Post: #218849 gregorach
Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:11 pm

chadspad wrote:Hi Odsox,

Im lucky if I get 1 cob per plant and then theyre tiny or only partially filled (and thats with growing at least 50 plants!)



Sounds like either poor pollination or under watering to me. Are you growing them in rows or blocks? Sweetcorn is wind pollinated and really needs to be planted in a dense block to do well - I plant at 2 seeds per station, 40cm apart in both directions, in a block at least 4 rows deep. It's also pretty thirsty stuff.

Cross-pollination can be a problem - I've even heard of people ending up with a mix of sweet yellow kernels and starchy blue tortilla kernels on the same plant as a result of windblown pollen from a different variety. Everything I've read says keep different varieties at least 10m apart if you want them to come true to variety.
Cheers

Dunc

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Millymollymandy
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Re: Sweetcorn

Post: #218860 Millymollymandy
Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:29 pm

chadspad wrote:Hey M3 :wave:

Do you measure your plants when putting out or just do it by eye then? And do you shake the ears or leave it to do itself? Would you plant the different varieties all together or in separate sets?

Excellent news about the creme :cheers: Mine never lasts long enough to bother freezing though :icon_smile:

Hiya :wave: I measure out by eye :iconbiggrin: , don't shake anything cos there's enough wind here, and they do tend to be planted in blocks of the specific varieties blocked together cos the ones that germinated first of one variety would be bigger than the next lot when planting out. Eventually they will all be in one big block together though and as Odsox has said several times (and I vouch for this!) they somehow seem to catch up with each other and end up flowering at almost the same time. Wierd eh?!

But this year I will be doing the Odsox method of germination which worked last year after I'd got through the usual several packets and only about 5 germinated :roll: which is to put the seeds on damp kitchen towel in something like an ice cream tub and leave to germinate somewhere warm, then plant the germinated seeds into pots, grow on, harden off and plant out.

One year I did have some pretty dud ones (where they haven't pollinated properly and you get just the odd kernel and lots of gaps) but that I think was the wet year here in 2007. Every other year as far as I can remember they've been pretty successful.
boboff wrote:Oh and just for MMM, :hugish: (thanks)


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Re: Sweetcorn

Post: #218869 oldjerry
Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:27 pm

Does anyone in La Belle France still do 'La Castration du Maize'? ...... Ahh the 70's....... this thread just made one of the founding GOBs a happy man.

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Re: Sweetcorn

Post: #218880 Odsox
Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:13 pm

chadspad wrote:I know sweetcorn dont like to be exposed and my veg patch is completely open so wonder whether its too windy for them to pollinate properly.

If they don't blow over then it's not too windy :iconbiggrin:
I always seem to have the opposite problem that when they flower we have an extended period of calm weather and have to go round shaking them all to dislodge the pollen.
I find that sweetcorn needs some decentish soil, so maybe some manure/compost/sea weed dug in would help, plus some watering during dry spells.
Tony

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Odsox
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Re: Sweetcorn

Post: #218881 Odsox
Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:19 pm

gregorach wrote:Cross-pollination can be a problem - I've even heard of people ending up with a mix of sweet yellow kernels and starchy blue tortilla kernels on the same plant as a result of windblown pollen from a different variety

Are you sure ? :scratch:
I find that difficult to believe as surely the colour and type of kernels is determined by the parentage of the plant, regardless of the pollinating partner. If you saved the seed from cross-pollinated maize then that's a different matter.
Tony

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Re: Sweetcorn

Post: #218931 grahamhobbs
Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:26 pm

I think cross-pollination can be a problem, with many F1 varieties they specifically say that they should not be planted close to other varieties. As they are F1's they are not worried about you saving the seed, but therefore it must be because it affects the eating quality, probably the sweetness of the cob.

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Re: Sweetcorn

Post: #218937 gregorach
Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:59 pm

Odsox wrote:
gregorach wrote:Cross-pollination can be a problem - I've even heard of people ending up with a mix of sweet yellow kernels and starchy blue tortilla kernels on the same plant as a result of windblown pollen from a different variety

Are you sure ? :scratch:
I find that difficult to believe as surely the colour and type of kernels is determined by the parentage of the plant, regardless of the pollinating partner. If you saved the seed from cross-pollinated maize then that's a different matter.


Charles Dowding, Organic Gardening The Natural No-Dig Way, pp 131:

Don't be tempted to grow two or more varieties together, because the often cross-pollinate and share out their different characteristics. This was vividly illustrated when I grew blue maize about 20 metres from some ordinary sweetcorn, whose cobs grew as an extraordinary mish-mash of sweet yellow kernels and blue starchy ones.


I reckon Charles knows what he's talking about - he's been at this game professionally since I was in short trousers.

Personally, I grew Kelvedon Glory last year, which isn't supposed to be variegated, but mine ended up as a mix of yellow and white kernels, presumably from cross-pollination from my neighbours patch.

Like Graham says, supersweet F1s are also notorious for losing their sweetness if cross-pollinated by other varieties.
Cheers

Dunc

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Millymollymandy
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Re: Sweetcorn

Post: #218938 Millymollymandy
Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:04 pm

gregorach wrote:Like Graham says, supersweet F1s are also notorious for losing their sweetness if cross-pollinated by other varieties.

That would suit me fine! But all these varieties are too sweet these days so any cross pollination between the ones I grow probably doesn't make a lot of difference. The amount of salt I have to put on corn on the cob is astronomical, in fact it is the only thing I buy salted butter for (Breton salted butter is extremely salty!).
boboff wrote:Oh and just for MMM, :hugish: (thanks)


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Odsox
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Re: Sweetcorn

Post: #218940 Odsox
Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:12 pm

Thanks for that both of you, I have learnt something today.
It's called xenia effect for those interested and it now brings understanding (to me) just how dangerous GM maize could be.
It's no good growing conventional sweetcorn if there is GM maize nearby and thinking that yours will be OK.
Potentially scary stuff :(
Tony

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Re: Sweetcorn

Post: #218943 Millymollymandy
Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:34 pm

Mine's always growing within about 3 to 5 metres of Farmer Giles' maize! That hasn't altered my sweetcorn to chewy non sweet corn though (unless I leave it too long on the plant). :?
boboff wrote:Oh and just for MMM, :hugish: (thanks)


http://chateaumoorhen.blogspot.com/


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