The post that gets the most traffic on this blog is one I wrote back in 2009 on ‘Three Sisters Planting’, it was the first time I attempted growing sweetcorn and it has been on my ‘must grow’ list ever since. As I’d read in many books, the corn you grow tastes infinitely better than any bought in the shops and to prove this I managed to convert my oldest to eating it even though he runs in fear of the tinned variety.
That first year I abandoned the bean part of the ‘Three Sisters’ and just opted for the corn and squash, I had read that the beans get very tangled and can be difficult to pick and look a little messy. The single squash didn’t do well and produced a single comedy teeny, tiny Turk’s Turban.
This year I’ve decided to have another go, it’s party because I know I want the Barlotti Beans I plan to grow with the corn to dry, so I don’t care if they grow all over the place and also I am short of space for squash so I may as well put one (or even two) in the bed as well….although they might be difficult to keep well watered so I might just go with the bean and corn option.
To this end I have started 16 sweetcorn ‘Lapwing’ off in pots, indoors, they don’t like root disturbance so I’ve put them in card pots that I will plant direct in the ground, once the chance of frost has passed, under large cloches. This should allow the roots to grow through the card without needing to remove them. I have only planted one kernel per pot as I need a minimum of 12 to germinate (ideally all 16 to get a good planting grid), which helps with the wind pollination, in the past all kernels have germinated so I have my fingers crossed for the same result this year. I plan to plant 2 beans against each corn and, as above, maybe a squash underneath. As I have quite bad luck germinating beans in the ground I’ll probably also start these in pots but only after the corn are on their way.
I think my big challenge will be keeping it well watered, with the hose pipe ban it’s going to be hard going but hopefully worth it when we eat the first cobs. Oddly we have had rain on and off all week, I can’t help but celebrate as it gives all the seeds already planted half a chance to get off to a good start.