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By heron


For years now I’ve grown Sweetcorn but never have I managed to get more than two decent sized cobs. I’ve tried different places, fertilizers and sowing time but though I do get four cobs two are only half edible. I’ve asked around but as nobody is able to help I assume either two is normal or those I’ve asked just don’t know. So, I’ve asked Bob Flowerdew on Gardener’s Question Time. If you have the same problem as me and would be interested in what he says, it will be on BBC Radio 4 on Friday at 3pm or repeated on Sunday afternoon. I hope he or the team will be able to help.

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I do enjoy the programme Heron, if I can't catch it live i'll 'listen again'!

29 Sep, 2010


ooooooooooooo ron fame at last , dont know why you not getting any ,i dont think i had a prob wen i did mine . you will have to live next to a cornfield like we do lil . will def try and listen or you can go to i.player and hear there .i watch g.w on it and you can get q.t as well. hope you both well.

29 Sep, 2010


Actually I once asked a question live when they visited a nearby village, it was good fun and interesting to see how it's done. On the subject of Sweetcorn I've asked about my problem on another forum but with no response, they probably thought it a silly question lol. Cristina, in the field by you, how many decent size cobs are there to a plant?

29 Sep, 2010


I seem to remember from somewhere that 2-3 is what growers aim for.
never had success with mine :o(

29 Sep, 2010


I've never grown it, and you know my track record for growing veg LOL, good luck, I hope Bob can shine some light on it for you :-))

30 Sep, 2010


havent looked this time as fed up wth them now 3rd year . but in the past prob 3 or 4 but i will look and let u know.

1 Oct, 2010


Hi Heron, You may have missed my post or I might have missed your response but I thought you'd be interested to hear I've tried your method of fixing fence posts ( it was you wasn't it?)

Check this out

second link down

1 Oct, 2010


Anchorman I've just read your Flickr post and I couldn't have written it better myself. You've obviously fully understood what I was saying and I 'm pleased that you agree that it's a better way all round.

2 Oct, 2010


Thanks heron. I intend to fix all 11 of my fence postsyour way over the winter period.

2 Oct, 2010


Only to glad to be able to be of help, can't help you to do the job though, I've just had an operation to fix a hernia, still stings a bit. I'm told I must NOT lift anything or do much gardening or even drive for a month.
I'm looking forward to seeing your garden progress.

2 Oct, 2010


I've told quite a few people about this method and they all get the quizical look I had on my face when you first told me about it. They all say " how can a vertical slab stop a 6 foot fence post attached to a 6 by 6 panel blowing down"

It doesn't make sense until you imagine how much force it would take to drag an 18 inch by 18 inch slab vertically through soil. .. it is impossible!

Anyway I'm gl;ad I proved to myself that it works and it was very quick to do. It's the first time that post has been properly secure for 10 years!


2 Oct, 2010


Well, I missed this blog and the programme. What was the verdict, heron, as I've never got more than 2 cobs per cane, and thought that this was the norm in the UK?

4 Oct, 2010


you can use the bbci player to listen again David, it should be there for the rest of the week, I havn't listened myself yet!

4 Oct, 2010


Well, Rosie Yeomans form Sparsholt who was on the programme said she gets 3 and sometimes 4 cobs per plant but Bob Flowerdew said I was being greedy and that a third wouldn't get enough pollen especially up here in Chester. Sparshalt is I think in the home Counties which could explain Rosies success. He also said to earth up around the stalk and plant a good 2' apart each way. Now I have a further dilemma, as space is short do I plant less or try planting even closer together assuming that I'll still get two.
I think perhaps I'll plant the same amount but in one half of the bed close together and the other half wider. ie One foot apart at one end and two foot apart the other . I do so like my fresh Sweetcorn and will let you all know how I get on.

4 Oct, 2010


Thanks for the iplayer tip, Pam - will try this :-)

I grow mine now in those black florists buckets you get at Morrisons supermarket (99p for 10), as I don't have open ground now. The canes are usually 10-15" apart, with regard to spacing. Every cane always has just 2 cobs. Yes, corn is a very shallow, almost surface rooting plant, so a good idea to earth up. Another thing I did in the past, when I had beds, was to plant my block of sweetcorn at about 1 1/2 foot spacings and interplant with dwarf beans. Beanas, of course, fix nitrogen into the soil, which sweetcorn loves - a great example of companion planting.

4 Oct, 2010


Isn't there an old saying, something about three sisters; Corn Beans and squashes?. Whatever, your idea is great as there's also useful space to be used.

4 Oct, 2010


finally got to listen Heron, none of the mentioned that they should be planted in blocks as they are wind polinated ( unless I missed a bit!) and Davids idea of planting in pots has got me thinking for next year!

5 Oct, 2010


Hi Heron I was leafing through the T&M catalogue to see if they recommended a particular corn for pots and came across one called 'Northern extra sweet' especially suited to cooler northern areas, but notably none of the varieties tell you how many cobs to expect!!

6 Oct, 2010


Like so many plants today there are so many varieties, it's confusing and I wonder just what difference there is. Compared with the growing conditions any difference must surely be minuscule.

6 Oct, 2010

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