Sweetcorn was once considered a crop that could only thrive in the south of England, but recent hybridisation work has created varieties such as Early Extra Sweet that do well in Scotland.
Plants that were raised from seed should have gone into the ground at the start of this month, planted in blocks so that the wind will carry pollen from one flower to the next. You can help to ensure good pollination by tapping the tassels when they are fully developed.
If roots develop at the base of the stems then cover these with soil and keep the plants well watered, applying a liquid feed once the cobs start to swell.
You can tell when the cobs are ready for picking when the liquid inside the grains has turned from watery to creamy, but don’t delay at this stage because once this liquid thickens the corn will be tough.
Sweetcorn grows very tall so make sure when you plant it out that you put it where it won’t cast shade on the rest of the veg plot, However, you can make use of the space around the base of the plants by growing spinach. Spinach is one of those leaves that does better when given some dappled shade, otherwise it will quickly run to seed.
Spinach likes really rich soil and will taste bitter if grown in ground that’s low in nutrients. But if you get this right, and keep it well watered, it is very easy to grow. Keep picking leaves when they are young and fresh and more foliage will be produced, providing you with a regular supply for salads and for cooking.
Keep a lookout for downy mildew during cold, wet spells and for blight, which causes the leaves to roll inwards.
It’s too late now to sow summer varieties of spinach, but winter varieties can be sown from August onwards and, if given a little bit of protection, will be ripe for picking right through until next spring.