I really do love the architectural form of sweetcorn but, sorry, that is where the love affair ends. Possibly the introduction to this veggie via the can opener and a friend who was obsessed with adding it to everything is the reason.
Having got that sorted, I appreciate it is a favourite of most of my friends but not the easiest thing to grow in our diverse climate.
First of all, sweetcorn is possibly one of the most frost-intolerant of all our veggies, so no point in planting outside until the weather is settled, which can easily be after Labour Day. So, you can either sow seed in trays indoors or wait and buy plants from the Garden Centre.
On the upside, sweetcorn is fast maturing and has a relatively short growing season, so some years will be better than others and harvesting should take place after about a 100 days, weather permitting.
Choose a sheltered, sunny site. Sweetcorn will tolerate most soil types as long as the drainage is good and the dirt is well fertilised.
Pollination is crucial to produce the cobs. The male flowers shower pollen down from the top of the plant to the females below. So what’s new!
Trials have proved that pollination is more successful when plants are planted closely in blocks rather than rows
purely because the pollen is less likely to be blown away by wind – definitely a Wakatipu climatic condition.
Sweetcorn can start maturing from mid-summer onwards but this does depend on the earlier spring conditions.
Once the tassels on the end of the cob turn brown you can test for ripeness.
To do this, peel back the husk. The corn will be pale yellow when ready for harvesting and on pricking a kernel, if ripe, it will produce a milky liquid.
Best picked, and eaten as soon as possible and a great shade companion plant for pumpkins.