Corn - Golden Bantam Sweet Corn

Avg seeds/pkt 80

Golden Bantam sweet corn was introduced in 1902 and is still a very popular heirloom variety. According to many, the best possible crop is achieved with a sunny plot and deep, fertile, well-drained soil, and granular fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 16-16-8 mixed in before planting. But since writing this, I have been chided for recommending a conventional chemical fertilizer.

I will say that for the past 30 years I have used compost, cover-crops, natural fertilizers and other "soil-builders" in my gardens, with a few exceptions. One was for a sweet corn experiment and yes, I did get a bigger yield in the plot with non-organic, concentrated nutrients. Since then I have been happy with smaller yields and better soil. If you're in this camp, Mother Earth News suggests the following:
"Thoroughly mix in a 1-inch layer of fresh grass clippings, compost or well-rotted manure along with alfalfa meal, soybean meal or another high-nitrogen organic fertilizer (follow label directions)."

I will change our packet instructions before the next printing to reflect this advice.
When soils are at least 60°F, sow seeds 1-inch deep and 6 inches apart, with 24 inches between rows, making four 10-foot rows. Plants emerge within 14 days. When they have 4 leaves, thin to 1 every 12 inches.

Corn requires 2 inches of rain a week and a steady supply of nitrogen. When plants have 8 leaves, side dress with 1/2 lb of NPK 46-0-0 per 100 square feet (see above): sprinkle it 8 inches from the stalks, and water it in. Repeat with half as much 46-0-0 when plants have 12 leaves and add more compost if needed. Wind-pollination of small plots of sweet corn can be spotty. Gardeners can increase the number of harvestable ears by learning and practicing the simple art of hand-pollination.
Golden Bantam corn matures in 80 days. Ears will be about 6 inches long, kernels will be firm and milky–not watery, and the silks will be dry and browning. Grab the ear and pull down with a twist without knocking a second unripened ear. Unhusked corn should be refrigerated.

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