If there is one question we get on a regular basis at this time of the year is ‘How do I grow sweetcorn?” And then, later in the year it is “Why hasn’t my sweetcorn worked?”
Anyone driving through the countryside will see fields of maize, which is what sweetcorn really is called, as far north as North Yorkshire – but these plants never ever give corn on the cob, they are chopped up to feed to cattle. The first step for corn is to use the right variety. These days I prefer Sweet Corn Early Extra Sweet F1 because it matures well, even though they are not ready until late September.
If you can grow them in a polytunnel, all the better, but otherwise, choose the sunniest spot you can find. Moreover, grow them in a block, this way the wind will blow pollen to all the plants, rather than a line, where the wind might simply blow the pollen away without reaching the other plants.
You know your corn is ready to harvest if, when you pierce a seed with your nail, thick milky juice appears.
Image: By H.W. Buckbee (Firm); H.W. Buckbee (Firm); Henry G. Gilbert Nursery and Seed Trade Catalog Collection [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons