Did you know? The sweetest corn ever is the corn you pick fresh from your own garden. This is because corn has natural sugar in it. After the cob is picked off the plant the sugar starts turning into starch. So the sooner you eat it the better it tastes!
When the soil warms up in November or December it’s time to sow corn seed straight into the garden. But if you are itching to get started, there’s no need to wait! Sow some seed in little pots in October and your little corn plants will be ready to plant out as soon as the soil feels nice and warm on your bare feet.
Fact: Corn seed needs warm soil (at least 16°C) before it will grow.
If you sow your seed in biodegradable pots your seedlings can be popped into the soil pot and all. This way the roots will keep growing strongly while the pot turns to compost. Try making your own biodegradable pots empty toilet rolls.
Corn has both male and female flowers. At the top of each plant are the male ‘tassels’ which make pollen. The corn cobs, which grow lower down, are called ‘ears’. There are usually two of them. The female ‘silks’ grow from the top of each ear.
When pollen from the tassels lands on the silks, each silk acts like a straw to carry a tiny pollen grain down into the ear and make the yellow corn kernels grow. This is called pollination. When there isn’t enough pollen the corn cob is gappy, with bits missing.
Wind moves corn pollen but you can help: gently tap the tassels with a stick. Also, plant your corn in a group or a grid pattern, not just one straight row.
Strawberry Popcorn is a special variety of red coloured corn with cute strawberry shaped cobs. Instead of munching on a yellow corn cob, you’ll be harvesting your very own popping corn!
Corn tassels (male) at the top and silks (female) below