Advertisement
Advertisement
Richard Wright testing one of his sweetcorn for ripeness

Richard Wright testing one of his sweetcorn for ripeness

Our sweetcorn is now even better – thanks to hybrids

Richard Wright

[email protected]

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - 13:30

IT IS that sweet sweetcorn time of year again.
As we prepare to celebrate the cob at the annual sweetcorn fayre at Arreton, we’ve already had ours — and it was quite a lark too, literally.
The F1 hybrid, lark, supplied by mail order plant and seed specialist D. T. Brown, is top of the many crops of sweetcorn I have grown over the years.
How different they are today.
I well remember trekking with my mother as a young lad to a remote farm to buy cheap ‘sweetcorn’.
As it turned out, it was maize cattle feed, now as different to real sweetcorn as microwave chips are to Stotesbury’s.
Since the days when sweetcorn had many of the characteristics of maize but in moderation, great hybrid leaps have been made.
All gardeners know about supersweet, which are just that, but now there is tendersweet too, a hybrid which remains tender when other varieties get chewy if they over-mature.
The golden kernels of this mid-season tendersweet variety have a softer texture than those of the supersweets and are deliciously sweet — just as corn-on-the-cob should be.
D. T. Brown says lark F1 also performs better in cooler conditions than many other varieties, which has been a bonus this year.
Each year, I barbecue sweetcorn in their husks, which is the perfect way of cooking straight from the allotment before sugar starts to convert to starch — and they certainly knock the socks off commercial cobs.
The next best thing though are those at the Garlic Festival and at Sunday’s Sweetcorn Fayre at Arreton Barns.
As the plants are wind pollinated, they should be grown in blocks rather than rows, away from other varieties which will cross-pollinate.
The recommended distance is 18ins apart, but look in any commercial field and you will see you can get away with quite a bit less than that.
There are also some mini sweetcorn cultivars, which produce six or seven little cobs, which are harvested before fertilisation and therefore can be grown singly or as a windbreak line.
All sweetcorn appreciate sun, shelter and a fertile light soil.
When it comes to harvest, testing for ripeness is always a good idea because it is so disappointing to look forward to a golden cob and instead get the white insipidity that is perfectly fine — in a stir fry.
Even experienced gardeners can get it wrong.
Test for ripeness when the tassels have turned chocolate brown and peel back a small section of husk.
Squeeze a grain between thumbnail and fingernail and if a watery liquid squirts out, it is unripe. If it is creamy, the cob is ready and if paste-like it is over-mature.
Twist ripe cobs from the stem to pick.
They rapidly lose their flavour so have a pan of boiling water or preferably a steamer or barbecue ready before you harvest, ready to plunge them in or on.
Alternatively, a new technique is a short blast in the microwave cooking them in their ready made container.
D. T. Brown’s lark F1 hybrid sweetcorn.

D. T. Brown’s lark F1 hybrid sweetcorn. 

 


Advertisement
ISLE OF WIGHT TRAVEL
Travel filler
ISLE OF WIGHT WEATHER

Now14℃

09:00

15℃

12:00

15℃

15:00

16℃

18:00

12℃

More Gardening News

Chinese big on miniatures too Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Painting the garden rainbow Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Weaving the garden tapestry Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Stunning rose that’s worthy of this dame Tuesday, October 17, 2017

ISLE OF WIGHT TRAVEL
Travel filler
ISLE OF WIGHT WEATHER

Now14℃

09:00

15℃

12:00

15℃

15:00

16℃

18:00

12℃

ISLE OF WIGHT TRAVEL
Travel filler