Sweet and Ornamental Corn

Four varieties of sweet corn were grown at the Horticulture Research Center (HRC) outside of Fort Collins, Colorado during the 2004 growing season. In addition, two varieties of ornamental corn were grown for demonstration. All of the varieties of sweet corn were planted May 12th using a tractor-drawn Planet Junior planter unit. The corn was furrow irrigated. The varieties chosen resulted in continuous harvest from August 12th to September 9th. The ornamental corn was planted on June 1st. The sweet corn plot was covered with fleece row cover after seed predation by birds was discovered. Once the corn emerged the cover was removed.

A three-strand solar powered electric fence was erected in early August to keep out racoons and coyotes. We sprayed Bt every three to four days to protect against corn earworm starting at emergence of silks in early August. The sweet corn was flame-weeded once on June 7th and tractor cultivated July 1st. These techniques provided excellent weed control. The corn plants were hand thinned on June 21st. Below are photos and production notes for each of the varieties. All varieties grown were considered to be excellent for Colorado organic growers. Days to harvest were longer than reported by the seed companies but we had a very cool and wet summer (see our Study Area description page for weather information).

Photo
Variety
Production Notes
Argent
smaller ears, harder to snap during first harvest but very sweet, real concentrated picking, good for single pick, uniform stand, 2nd ears hard to snap, harvest dates: September 2nd (74%), September 9th (26%), 113 days from seeding to first harvest
Silverado
big ears, easy to snap, milky sweet!, productive, lots of good 2nd ears, a problem in a normal year would be the tip expanding beyond the wrappers – this would be a problem in a wormy year since birds will hit that, held in field well, excellent quality milk through dough, 106 days from seeding to first harvest
Honey Select
hard to snap (a two-hander), large yellow kernels, nice fill, long shank (extra task to fit in box, need to snap but gives clean ear appearance), otherwise good!, harvest date – September 9th, 120 days from seeding to first harvest
Trinity
Harvest date – August 12th (100% – one harvest), concentrated harvest, 92 days from seeding to first harvest, quickest producer

Ornamental Corn

A surprising low percentage of ears were filled, this may have been because of inopportune rain or temperature extremes during pollination (a heavy rain event at pollination can reduce set and extremely high, dry temperatures can kill pollen). We had a very low incidence of corn earworm this year.

Photo
Variety
Notes
Fiesta
Amazing color diversity
No Photo Available
Red Stalker
Grown more for the colors in the stalk, however produced small, beautiful cobs as well

 

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