I have a few questions about growing corn. Any help would be much
As I understand it, there are different hybrid types of corn, such as:
Sugar Enhancer (SE), Normal Sugary (SU), and Supersweet (Sh2). You can
grow SE's and SU's together, but Sh2 most be isolated from all other
hybrids to prevent cross-pollination, right? Here are my questions:
Let's say I only grow one type of a hybrid but different varieties of
it, like two different kinds of SE's; will there be cross-pollination
issues? And what about for Sh2 where there are isolation issues?
Ultimately, am I better off just growing a single kind of corn instead
of multiple varieties (but same hyrbid type) at once?
Next, you're supposed to plant a lot of corn at once in blocks (as
opposed to rows) to promote pollination. Since I have limited space and
only will be growing enough for three people, I plan on doing limited
rows, staggered by a week or two. Can I just pollinate by hand like is
done with vanilla? Or do I have to let nature to do this.
Finally, what exactly are the differences between SE, SU and Sh2,
besides how long they will remain fresh in the refrigerator (which
isn't an issue for me since since I would eat the corn less than 3
hours after it was picked). Is the difference in sugar content actually
enough that I would notice it in a blind taste test? And what are the
reasons for selecting a particular hybrid?
Any URL or book suggestions on corn would be much appreciated.
Anyone have any experience with Burpee's "Indian Summer" four color
corn? When my gardening friends and I have dinner together, we try to
impress each other with such 'exotic' varieties. It looks interesting,
but how does it taste?
Right... Those are sweet corn varieties. There's pop corn and field corn,
but those aren't normally an issue in most suburban gardens. You wouldn't
want them crossing with any of your sweet corn.
No. I grow several varieties of SE type sweet corn each year.
They need to be isolated from other types of corn. Two different
Sh2 varieties can be grown side by side.
I find it easier to get spaced out harvests by growing different varieties.
Staggering plantings of the same variety didn't always ensure enough
time between harvest later in the summer. So now I stagger the plantings
of several varieties, planting the earliest one first, then the second earliest
when the first has emerged, and so on.
I suppose you can get up early and hand-pollinate.
Personally, I don't like the Sh2 types, which tend to be less tender and
way, way to sweet and not enough corn. They keep the sweetness
better than any other type so have become very popular for growing
for shipment fresh to market. I don't like the tough crunchy/chewy
texture (and Sh2 types get even tougher when they've been cross
My favorite are the SE types which I find to be reliably sweet, and the
kernels stay very tender until quite mature. If you get a rush of ears all
at once they will stay sweet in the fridge for days. The SE types have
a "cornier" flavor than Sh2 types, more like normal sugary (SU) corn.
I can recommend 'Lancelot' as a widely available and very dependable
SE sweet corn.
I used to grow SU corn, but the harvest window is very small and the
old saying about having the water boiling before you pick the corn quite
I grow corn in 'Square Foot Garden' patches (the original 1 per square
foot spacing). I've recommended that book to novice gardeners in
the past, though it's not particularly pertinent to growing corn.
I like Stokes Seeds for sweet corn: www.stokeseeds.com
Corn takes up too much space and time vs. harvest to squander on 'stunt'
varieties, but that's just my opinion. It's probably the lowest yield vs.
effort of anything I grow. (But I still grow corn!)
Now tomatoes, on the other hand...
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)
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