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□¡□Sweet Corn Farming□¡□

Young sweet corn plants
Sweet corn is the general name givenfor the type of corn we eat. Other types of corn are used for feeding livestock, making corn flour, making popcorn kernels or creating decorations. Growing sweet corn is possible for anyone, whether you're a larger-scale grower or in the family garden. As long as you have the right conditions and care techniques, your farming efforts will result in a delicious golden harvest to grace the dinner table.
There are three basic types of sweet corn: Normal Sugary, Super Sweet and Sugary Enhanced. Each has many varieties claiming their own unique tastes. The sugar in sweet corn flavors it and the three basic types identify how much sugar is in the sweet corn and how fast it breaks down to starch, thus reducing the sweetness. Normal Sugary contains the lowest percentage of sugar (5 to 10 percent) and the sugar breaks down to starch the fastest. Super Sweet has the highest percentage of sugar (20 to 30 percent) and its sugar breaks down the slowest. An ear can be refrigerated up to a week and lose little of its taste. Sugary Enhanced falls in the middle of the other two in both sugar content and breakdown time. Farmers looking to grow sweet corn on a large scale for market would consider Super Sweet or Sugary Enhanced, since there is more time for transport from field to store to the table before the cornloses its flavor. Normal Sugary is best if you're growing sweet corn in your garden and will take the ears right off the stalk to the kettle for dinner. The final factor to consider is which type will grow the best in your area. Super Sweet is the pickiest, requiring warmer temperatures and consistent watering. Enhanced is more tolerant of cold and changing conditions while Normal Sugary is the hardiest of the three.
Sweet corn should be planted in fullsun in warm soil no sooner than a week after the last hard frost. The soil should be plowed so it is well broken up and without lumps. Work up the soil at least a week before planting to increase its circulation and help it warm up (average soil temperatures should be around 65°F/18°C). Sweet corn can be planted by hand, using a hand seeder or a tractor powered seeder for large-scale planting. No matter what you use, the corn should be planted in rows spaced 15- to 30-inches apart. As the seeds are planted about 1-inch to 1.5-inches deep, a row of fertilizer (15-15-15) should be buried next tothe seed row about 2 inches away. Seeders can do this automatically but if you're planting by hand, use ahoe to dig a channel about an inch deeper than the one for the seeds, evenly fill it with fertilizer then cover it. Too much fertilizer will kill the corn plants but without it there won't be enough nutrients to produce tall stalks and full-kernelledears as corn plants are heavy feeders. Do not plant a single row of corn or the stalks will not be ableto pollinate. Corn is a self pollinator,and the stalks need to be in a grouping to do so. Corn plants mature on average about 90 days (varieties will vary) in ideal weather. Since this time fits well into the growing season of most areas, stagger plantings two weeksapart to produce corn longer, not allat once. If you're planting a section of Super Sweet corn put at least 25 feet of space between it and the rest of the corn to avoid cross pollination that could disrupt falover
The soil corn is planted in should be kept loose and moist to keep roots protected and healthy. Frequent weeding between the rows with either a rotor tiller or cultivator willkeep the soil loose (wider rows allow room for these tools to safely pass through). Pick weeds around the stalks by hand to avoid damaging the roots. Water as needed, especially once the ears begin to grow. For pests, you should kill any corn earworms found on or in ears as soon as they're seen to avoid their spreading. If there is a known worm problem in your area, consider a spray or pesticide until the problem is eliminated. Keep raccoons and birds away with electric fences or scarecrows periodically moved about the corn field.
The corn is ready to harvest when the silk is dark, almost black, and the ear feels full, plump. If necessary, peel a bit of the husk back to check ripeness of the kernels, but pull it tightly closed if itis not ready. For the best flavor, pick corn right before eating and husk it right before you cook it. Once the harvest has ended, plow up the ground and work in compost to restore lost nutrients and begin preparing for next year's crop.

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