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IN FULL SWING THIS SPRING

26 October 2021
big orange pumpkins

Space will be at a premium now. Start thinking about what crops can be grown closely together or can support each other. For example, beans happily climb up sweet corn, which saves on room, and pumpkins will happily scramble around the base of sweet corn.

Many crops thrive in tubs, planters and raised beds. Hanging baskets and wall planters maximise vertical space. Low-growing herbs, smaller vege crops and edible flowers all work well growing in window boxes and smaller containers.

Edible streets
In some parts of the country, gardeners are taking to the streets, literally digging up grass verges to create vegetable gardens. Rules and regulations vary depending on where you live, so do check in with the local authorities before you dig into it.

Corn
Fresh off the plant, ripe sweet corn is delicious. Each season I grow about a dozen plants and, as they mature, I wish I had planted three times as many as I never seem to have enough.

Planting tips & tricks
Corn seed germinates quickly once the ground is warm. Seedlings are now widely available too.
Full sun is essential as sunlight triggers growth and stimulates the cobs to form. While corn has a robust root system and is used in some horticultural practices to break up solid soil structures, a cultivated fertile soil will support the best harvest.

Corn is best planted in blocks or squares, with plants side by side. Pollen from one plant needs to get to the next plant to pollinate the forming cobs, which is why single rows of corn will often have poor kernel set.
Large planters and tubs work well if garden space is limited. Up to six plants will grow in a 40-litre bucket.
Extend the harvesting season by sowing corn seed over a six- to eight-week window, enabling a longer picking period.

Varieties to seek
NEW: ‘Golden Sweet F1’
This season, Kings Seeds brings us a hybrid with good plant vigour – meaning it will grow quickly and produce a canopy that helps deter any weed growth below. The cobs are golden yellow with a sweet flavour.

‘Pop Star!’
Grow your own popcorn with this cool seed variety by Yates. The cobs are red and, once dried, you can use the kernels to make pink-coloured popcorn. A ripper of a variety for the kids.

Read more in our November Issue

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