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Sweet Corn, Pea Varieties Added; Beans To Come In 2017

With all the warm winter weather across much of the country and the warm winter predictions due to a near record El Nino influence, many gardeners across the U.S. may be able to get an early start on the upcoming season. That may fit right in with our new full line of Sweet Corn and Pea varieties added this season to our 2016 spring catalog. Peas thrive in cool weather and should be planted when soil temperatures reach at least 45 degrees F., while Sweet Corn planting can follow a few weeks later when the soil heats to above 65 degrees F.

Corn seeds should be sown in a sunny garden spot after all danger of frost is past, planting seeds at a depth of about 1 inch and spaced at about 5 inches in rows 30-36 inches apart. Plants should be thinned to about one per 10-12 inches when they reach 4 inches in height, and even small plots should be planted in blocks of 4 or more rows for proper pollination, as corn is pollinated by wind and rain. If drought conditions occur during the two weeks or so while the corn tassels are producing pollen, an overhead irrigation source is necessary to insure complete pollination of all kernels. Extend your corn harvest season by successive plantings or by growing varieties of differing maturities.

There are four types of Sweet Corn and each improved modern hybrid type is progressively sweeter and more tender, and features a longer harvest period than the previous one. Normal varieties were the first hybrids developed—such as Silver Queen, one of the most popular white corns ever—which offer delicious, old-fashioned sweet corn flavor. But the sugar of Normal types converts rapidly to starch as the crop matures, so the ears must be cooked as soon as they mature to preserve the flavor. Normal hybrid types need no isolation in the garden.

Other Normal hybrid varieties offered are Golden Jubilee (yellow), Honey & Cream (bi-color), Early Sunglow Hybrid (yellow) and Iochief Hybrid (yellow), while heirloom, open-pollinated Normals are Golden Bantam (yellow), Country Gentleman (white) and Bloody Butcher (blood red, with darker red streaks).

Sugary Enhanced varieties possess a gene that increases sweetness, tenderness and crop harvest period over Normal types. Our Sugary Enhanced offerings include Kandy Korn EH (yellow), Peaches & Cream Mid EH (bi-color), Sugar Buns (yellow), Delectable RM (bi-color), Trinity (bi-color), Ambrosia (bi-color) and Bodacious RM (yellow). Sugary Enhanced varieties require isolation only from popcorn in the garden.

Xtra-Sweet, Shrunken or Super-Sweet types possess the familiar “shrunken kernel” appearance that makes them even sweeter, with a harvest period up to 10 days longer than the previous varieties. Super Sweet corns must be isolated from all other corns, even field corn, to eliminate the chance for cross-pollination, which would make both corns starchy and virtually inedible. Plant Super Sweets at least 25 feet from other corns, or you can stagger planting dates or use varieties with differing maturity dates to insure the Super Sweets tassel at least 10 days before or after non-Super-Sweet types. Our offerings include SuperSweet Jubilee Plus (yellow), Honey ‘N Pearl (bi-color), Northern Xtra-Sweet (yellow), Illini Xtra-Sweet (yellow), and Bright White (white).

Synergistics produce ears featuring the most exquisite sweetness and keeping qualities of all, with 75% of its kernels being Sugary Enhanced and the other 25% Super Sweets. That gives the Synergistics the best of both worlds, as they are the sweetest, most tender and longest keeping of them all. They can be grown with other Synergistic types, Sugary Enhanced and Normal types, but they must be isolated from Super Sweets. Recommended varieties include Honey Select (yellow), Serendipity (bi-color) and Avalon (white).

We also offer Popcorn varieties—Strawberry (dark red), Japanese White Hulless (white) and Purdue 410 Hybrid, as well as Ornamental types Green Oxacana Dent, Calico Indian, Earth Tones Dent and Rainbow Mix Broom Corn.

After soil temperatures reach 45 degrees F., Peas should be sown successively every two weeks in cooler climates, but in the hot and humid South, they should be planted in late winter to harvest in early summer or two months before first frost for a fall crop. Sow seeds at a depth of 1 inch, spaced 2 inches apart and do not thin, in rows 30 inches apart. Inoculate with nitrogen to greatly increase yields. Taller varieties require support.

Shelling Pea types include Green Arrow, Maestro, Wando, Little Marvel and Lincoln; while Snap varieties featured are Sugar Sprint, Super Sugar Snap and Cascadia. Snow Peas for eating whole include Oregon Giant, Mammoth Melting Sugar and Oregon Sugar Pod II.

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