Sweetcorn at a no dig allotment, how it’s grown and how to see if cobs are ready

An iPhone video for a change, apologies for wind noise. Filmed 15th August 2018 after a warm and dry summer. Easy to grow no dig, the only ground prep was a little-composted cow manure the previous November. The soil is heavy clay and holds moisture. Spacing is 30x30cm or 12x12in, variety is Mezdi from Bingenheimer Saatgut seeds: open pollinated biodynamic, not hybrid or super sweet. However, it keeps sweetness for 2-3 days and was Brix 16 one day after picking.

13 thoughts on “Sweetcorn at a no dig allotment, how it’s grown and how to see if cobs are ready

  1. Hi Charles
    If you inter plant sweetcorn with courgettes or French beans (or both!) do you recommend increasing the spacing slightly?

    Thanks for all your help and guidance.
    Still trying to learn after all these years!

    1. I would not recommend courgettes with sweetcorn because their growing period coincides for too long, and courgettes are such greedy plants. With winter squash I use the same spacing, whether or not sweetcorn are there.
      Good idea with a french beans and give the bean plants 5 cm extra space

  2. What month do we sow sweet corn seeds and plant them out? And what is the spacing? And best heirloom varieties? Of sweetcorn and peas?
    Kathy S. E. Ireland

  3. I grew some last year. Coming on nicely then just before harvest something stepped and ate them. Not sure what but maybe mice, squirrels or even fox’s of which they are a lot.

    Going to try again this year.

    Any suggestions to protect the the cobs


  4. Hi Charles, do you multisow your sweetcorn? I’ve been given some seedlings with 2/3 plants in each cell. Should I thin them to just one? Many thanks, Rachel

  5. Hi Charles,

    I’m planting sweet corn for the first time and we have extended our veg plot by putting well rotted manure on top on grass. On the other side of the patch we have done the same and planted potatoes, which are coming along nicely, and I wanted to see if we could do the same with the sweet corn or do I need to think about another place for the sweet corn. Thanks Emma

  6. Hi Charles, can one plant corn on a new no dig bed, with cardboard under it, if you can still see the cardboard? Will it affect the growth of the corn plants? Thank you so much for the knowledge you share with us!

    1. Hi Arshiya
      Thanks and yes.
      Plants from above find it easier to root through cardboard than soft weed stems from below.
      Also you may be laying the card now on top of weeds, with compost on top.
      This is 5 months before corn roots will be going down there, and by then the card will be decomposed.
      But even of laid in April, it can work.

  7. After harvesting a cob, do you leave the plant in place or do you cut it down to reduce its uptake of water and nutrients? Looks like you leave it—is this to continue supporting the surrounding plants? And at end of the season do you just pull them up and cut down for compost?

    Thanks for a great website! Love your books too, which I find invaluable.

    1. Thankyou Benedicte and I cut the plant to ground level after a final harvest. You could even plant rocket or mizuna then, for autumn salad leaves.

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