It’s amazing how many varieties of corn there are these days, both heirloom and hybrid. For years we stuck with 'Chires', a wonderful variety that produces baby corn cobs in abundance on each stalk. They are great in stir fry, a dish we prepare often in the summer. We would get our full-size corn at the farmer’s market instead. Still, we longed for the experience of having the whole large ears fresh from the garden again.
So this year we opted to try a few varieties of corn to see which ones we like the best.
'Argent': A sugar-enhanced, disease-resistant variety that produces earlier than other similar white or silver varieties. About 83 days to harvest.
'Fantastic': Some names just grab your attention. This yellow-and-white cultivar is promoted as being able to holds its sweetness on the stalk for a week or more after it is ready to harvest, without getting starchy; and will even keep for a week in the fridge after it is harvested. This I want to see. We’re looking at 73 days from seed emergence until harvest.
'Peaches and Cream': Another bicolor variety, this one can hold its flavor for up to 2 weeks after it is mature. Love it! 85 days until its ready to pick.
'Incredible': Can you get better than fantastic? We’ll find out if this disease-resistant, sugar-enhanced yellow corn stands up to its name. This one is said to have a "gourmet" flavor. Ready to harvest after about 83 days.
'Silver Queen': A white corn that has been around for quite a while, 'Silver Queen' can also stay sweet for several days after harvesting.
'Bodacious': I was going to stop at 5 different types of corn, but seriously could not pass this one up. This disease-resistant yellow variety claims to be “The best full-season yellow corn available.” Nice and early, too, at only 72 days until harvest.
Now if you read my blog or otherwise know about cross-pollination, you may be wondering “ But GJ, won’t they cross-pollinate, and then how will you know which one you are eating?” And you would be right, kudos to you!
To help prevent this from happening, they were planted in stages, and with the ones that will mature first downwind from the others. Gently shaking the stalks also helps to keep any crossing to a minimum.
It will be sometime in August we will get the chance to try these different varieties, can’t wait. Corn was one of the vegetables my dad used to grow. Well I remember my mom putting a big pot of water on the stove, while Dad came down from the garden with a basket full of corn. All the kids would be enlisted to help shuck the cobs and remove the silks.
Perhaps when the corn is ready, we’ll invite him and the kids over for a cookout, and create some more garden memories.
Gardening Jones is a master gardener in Pennsylvania. Learn more atgardeningjones.com/blog.
Horticulture's Favorite Vegetables download includes an article that's all about growing corn.
Grow lots of vegetables in just a little space with the All-New Square-Foot Gardening book.
Learn about great heirloom vegetable varieties and how to grow them with The Beginner's Guide to Growing Heirloom Vegetables.