Super Sweet Corn

We planted four varieties of super sweet corn this summer. According to Johnny’s seed catalog:

“Super Sweets are sweeter than the other corn types at harvest and retain their sweetness and crisp “poppy” texture hours and days later. Great fresh flavor & best of all for charcoal grilling and freezing.”

I didn’t realize that I had purchased super sweet corn until the seeds arrived. Super sweet varieties contain a gene which produces higher than normal levels of sugar – hence the name “super sweet”. This gene allows a longer shelf life for fresh picked sweet corn, making it a terrific variety for grocery stores who have their corn shipped in from quite a distance.

Since I was a young kid, I’ve had the luxury of picking corn at my uncle’s farm, and eating it within just a few hours. It was not uncommon for our family to eat a dinner of just corn on the cob – sometimes with a tomato sliced on the side. My brother and I used to have competitions, to see how many empty cobs we could stack up. When we were teenagers, it was rare for one one of us not to polish off a dozen ears in one sitting. My uncle hasn’t grown sweet corn for quite a few years, and I was missing it so we decided to put in a bunch of it this year. Some of our meals recently have brought back fond memories:

Corn and Tomatoes

I densely planted the last two rows in my garden with sweet corn, and Chris put a couple of rows in his garden as well. Mine did really well, and it is at the point now where we need to start eating it daily. Chris had some problems with the rabbits knocking down his seedlings, but a fair amount.

You can’t plant both “regular” sweet corn and super sweet corn (with the sh2 gene) in the same garden – they need to be isolated from other varieties of corn to avoid cross-pollination. If a super sweet variety cross-pollinates with a non-super sweet variety, both crops will become starchy and undesirable.

Of course, I had to drag Puck out into the garden to show how tall the sweet corn is right now (and also how tall one of our random volunteer sunflowers is!)

Puck with Sweet Corn

(Puck loves fresh picked corn, too!)

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