Seed counts vary widely among varieties. Market grower Jason Kafka says that popcorn is a wonderful novelty for CSA shares. Americans consume more than 16 billion quarts of it per year. Why not try growing some?
Zea mays 1 oz packet sows 25 ft, 1 lb sows 400 ft. Seeds per packet vary, open-pollinated selections average 100 seeds/oz, normal sugary varieties 140 seeds/oz, and SE cultivars with shrunken seeds 150-160 seeds/oz. We do not offer supersweets as these are poorly adapted to cold soils without using seed treatments.
Culture: CAUTION: Untreated sweet corn seed will not germinate in cold wet soil. Please be patient and wait till soil warms to at least 60° before sowing, or start seedlings indoors and transplant at 3–6" before taproots take off. Tender, will not survive frost. Heavy nitrogen requirements. Rows 3' apart, 4 seeds/ft. Thin to 1' apart. When corn is knee-high, sidedress with azomite or alfalfa meal to stimulate growth. Plant in blocks of at least 4 rows to ensure adequate pollination, essential for good tip fill. If you lack sufficient space for enough plants for good pollination, try hand-pollinating by cutting off the tassels and shaking their pollen onto the silks. Sweet corn is ready 18–24 days after the first silks show, the exact time dependent on the weather in the interim. Press ears 2" from the tips to assess kernel fullness. Harvest when the kernels are plump, soft, tender and filled with a milky juice. Most sugary enhanced varieties have an optimal picking window of 5–7 days, but some open-pollinated selections hold only 1–2 days.
Minimum soil temperature 50°, optimal temperature range 60–95°.
Identification and history: Seed catalogs in the 1800s featured “Indian Corn,” decorative multi-colored ears with soft starchy kernels easily ground into flour or with flinty kernels often used to make corn meal and grits (680-695); dent corn with indented kernels eaten fresh or roasted in the milk stage or used to make flour, corn meal, grits and cereal; field corn for animal forage and silage; and sugar corn, forerunner of today’s sweet corn. Sweet corn seed, probably originally a mutation of flint or dent corn or both, first appeared in commerce in 1828 and became popular a generation later. As sweet corn became the first crop to be hybridized, most of the open-pollinated varieties disappeared between 1930 and 1970. All sugary enhanced sweet corn traces back to a single inbred developed in the 1960s in Illinois by Dr. Dusty Rhodes, ILL677a. Our trialers have found SE corn to be especially suitable to our climate, with good cool-soil tolerance and a near-perfect blend of sugars and corn flavor.
Testing: We randomly test sweet corn seed for transgenic contamination. To help ensure the purity of our seed, we have for the past sixteen years employed industry leader Genetic ID to test random samples of our sweet corn lots for the presence of transgenic contamination. Because of the risks posed by production of genetically engineered Roundup Ready beets, we have added beet and chard varieties to our GE testing program.
We remove any lots that test positive for transgenic contamination.
A negative test result, while not guaranteeing genetic purity, improves your chances that the seed is uncontaminated. These tests are expensive, but in a time of genetic roulette, they are necessary though not sufficient to assure seed purity. Only if the seed trade takes an adamant position that we will not tolerate GE contamination in our product can we maintain any integrity in our seed supply.