I’m still working on conquering sweet corn. I have two gardens going this summer, as previously noted. The corn above is in the garden at my house. The corn below is in the garden next to where I grew up. There is quite a difference in the two corn plots, which I can explain rather simply…
I have no idea what I am doing with sweet corn.
I have excuses. My Dad never planted sweet corn so I didn’t have a chance to watch and learn how he planted it. Last year was the first year I tried to grow my own sweet corn even though I’ve had a vegetable garden of my own for at least 20 years. I don’t always think it is necessary to follow the instructions on the seed packet.
I believe the corn at my house is planted too close together. Since it is a small plot of corn, in a 4′ x 8′ foot raised bed, I spaced the corn a little (a lot) closer than normal. This is in spite of the problems that I had last summer, which the seed company told me were because my sweet corn was planted too close together. I remembered that when I planted this corn, which is a variety called Bon Appetit from Pinetree Garden Seeds, but that didn’t stop me.
I don’t always listen very well, even when I am talking to myself.
So when I planted sweet corn at the second garden, I planted the corn in groups of 5 or 6 seeds, spaced about a foot apart. The variety there is Illini Super Sweet. It was the variety that the owner of the garden patch had purchased, and I was happy with it because I think it was the sweet corn variety my aunt recommended I try after reading about my sweet corn struggles last summer. But I think I planted this corn too far apart.
I clearly over compensated on the spacing.
The other difference in the two gardens, besides the spacing, is the amount of watering. I did water my raised bed garden during the ‘moderate drought’ but we did not water the other garden. So the second garden is struggling a bit (a lot). The beans (not pictured) are soaking up the rain and making a good comeback and are ready to bloom. The corn doesn’t look so good, as you can plainly see, but it should still be “knee high by the fourth of July” so I am hopeful.
It will also be quite embarrasing if I don’t get at least a few good ears of sweet corn this summer out of one of these gardens, and perhaps a bit of a blow to my overall reputation as a gardener, a well-educated gardener at that.
If these were flowers I was trying to grow, I’d enter Kathy’s contest at Cold Climate Gardening and try to win a book. But it’s sweet corn. It’s sweet corn, which really should not be that hard to successfully grow!