Best sweetcorn varieties to grow in the UK

Val Bourne / 28 September 2018

Trouble getting your sweetcorn crops to ripen with British weather? Gardening expert Val Bourne recommends the best varieties to grow in the UK.



Question

Every year I struggle with sweetcorn ripening. Is there a good, early variety you could recommend?

Answer

As you probably know sweetcorn is a crop traditionally grown in the central states of North America where summers are far hotter than those in Britain. In recent years Tozer Seeds, a British company based in Surrey, have developed varieties especially suited to our cooler British climate. They include ‘Earlibird’, ‘Lark’ and ‘Swift’ and they ripen in my garden in late summer or early autumn - even in cool summers.

You may be growing an unsuitable variety, although you do have to follow a procedure. Raise young plants in modular trays in April and don’t plant them out until early June because cold nights check their growth. Each module needs to be well rooted because sweetcorn resents disturbance. Plant in blocks, because these are wind pollinated, and water when young. It is a warm-season crop and your yields will vary from year to year.

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