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corn

Q:  Whenever I plant sweet corn it always turns out like my neighbors field corn.  Any ideas why?

A: What may be occurring is the pollen from your neighbors field corn may be reaching the silks of your sweet corn and altering the flavor.  Corn is cross-pollinated by wind-blown pollen from the male flowers or tassels at the top of the plant to the female flowers or silks about midway up the stalks. Each kernel develops from an individually pollinated silk. Super sweet hybrids carry a genetic factor which results in a high sugar content. The super sweet character is lost if the corn is pollinated by ordinary sweet corn or field corn, so the super sweet hybrids should be planted away from any other types of corn (several hundred feet might work best). According to Texas A & M, the flavor of sweet corn is also highly dependent on weather conditions. If it rains within a week of harvest time, the flavor of sweet corn is often greatly diminished. If the corn matures during high daytime temperatures as well as high nighttime temperatures, the sugar levels of sweet corn will be low and flavor will be disappointing. The sugar in sweet corn is converted to starch rapidly even under optimum storage conditions so the corn should be cooked soon after harvest. The best varieties in Florida are:  Silver Queen, Gold Cup, Guardian, Bonanza, Florida Staysweet, How Sweet It Is, and SSupersweet.  Separate super-sweets (last three varieties) from standard varieties by time and distance and be sure to plant in March – April and August in 2-3 short row blocks.