Ian's grandparents always grow the most delicious varieties of sweet corn. Last year they grew sugar buns and just raved about how sweet and juicy it was, so we decided to give it a try this year. We grew honey 'n pearl last year, and although it was fabulous, we're always up for something different.
We sowed 5 rows of sugar buns in May, in two successive plantings (two weeks apart) so the corn would last longer than it did last year. You have to eat corn pretty fast, or the bugs will eat it for you. One interesting thing to note about sugar buns is that the tassels are red instead of yellow like most other types of corn.
You know corn is ready for harvest when the tassels turn brown, and the kernels at the top of the ear feel plump when squeezed. You shouldn't peel back the husk of an ear while on the stalk, or you will send an invitation for insects to take up residence in the ear. Here are our first two ears of sugar buns, harvested August 5th.
Here are some tips for growing corn in the home garden:
- You can only grow one variety in a given season; otherwise, the various strains will cross-pollinate and you could end up with inedible corn.
- You are going to get worms in your corn, especially if you leave it on the stalk after it has matured. The only way to control worms is with potent pesticides. Leave the chemicals on the shelf and just snap off the wormy tip of the corn. They don't eat much. Beware of the "perfect" corn you find in the grocery store - it has been bombarded with nasty chemicals to achieve aesthetic perfection.
- Sow your seeds closer together than the seed pack suggests. I recommend 2 inches. When growing small crops, you need the stalks as close together as possible so the wind can successfully pollinate the ears.
Mmmm .... Perfection!
Sugar buns is a shorter sweet corn than average, reaching less than 5 feet in height. We used no pesticides on the plants, and fertilized them twice with an organic fertilizer - once when the seedlings were just 2 inches tall and again when the silks began to appear on the stalk. The ears are smaller than honey 'n pearl when first reaching maturity, but leaving them on the stalk for an extra week or so helps increase their size. Of course this also increases the risk of insect infestation, so keep a close eye on the ears.