How Can I Get Better Cobs?
Amateur Gardening|March 20, 2021
A Sowing sweetcorn under cover in mid-April is text-book correct and should have given your plants sufficient time to yield well. This is a frost- tender crop, and shouldn’t be sown outdoors until around mid-May or planted out when likely to be exposed to late frosts. Some cultivars that are treated to ideal conditions will deliver two cobs per plant. However, as with all gardening, there can be pitfalls along the way.

Q Last year, my sweetcorn set, but the cobs withered in autumn before ripening. I think I started them in mid-April – was this too late? I was scared of planting them out too early. Mags Chamberlain, Southampton

Even here in East Devon, I usually wait until mid-April before sowing one seed per cell, usually opting for deep Root Trainer modules. These come in sections that open on a hinge to release the roots without damaging them. If you sow into smaller, more shallow modules or fibre pots, be prepared to move the germinated plants on into 3½in (9cm) pots. A heated propagating case is useful, set at around 60ºF (15ºC), and once germinated the young plants flourish on greenhouse staging. When they are nearly ready for planting out, stand them outdoors for a few days to ‘harden off’ or acclimatise to weather.

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