Row by Row Episode 136: What’s The Different Sweet Corn Genes?

Sweet Corn Genes:

There are five different sweet corn genes that have very different characteristics from one another. When it comes to growing a standard sugary variety those are the oldest cultivars which in return makes them have the lowest sugar content (10% – 15%) at harvest. For sweet corn the lower the sugar content the lower storage time so these varieties will not store for very long after harvest. The advantage of growing these lower sugar content varieties is they can germinate in colder climates (55 – 60F).

Standard Sugary (su) Varieties:

When growing sugary enhanced varieties they can also germinate in colder climates (55 – 60F). However, they only have slightly higher sugar levels and storage ability compared to the standard sugary. What sets the sugary enhanced varieties apart from the standard sugary is the super tender kernels. If you have sensitive or tender teeth the sugary enhanced varieties are ideal to grow for you.

Sugary Enhanced (se) Varieties:

The supersweet varieties are very different from the sweet corn genes, standard sugary and sugary enhanced. When growing a supersweet corn variety they produce shrunken kernels in the vegetable garden. With these shrunken kernels, they have very high sugar levels which means they will have a long harvest window and store longer on the homestead. However, the supersweet varieties will need a little warmer germination temperatures (60F).

SuperSweet (sh2) Varieties:

When it comes to growing a synergistic variety it contains the standard sugary, sugary enhanced, and supersweet kernels all on the same cob. Therefore it contains the flavor profile of the su, tenderness of the se, and the sweetness of the sh2. The storage life is excellent due to the synergistic containing the supersweet gene. The synergistic can also germinate in cooler weather temperatures (55 – 60F).

Synergistic (syn) Varieties:

One of the newest sweet corn genes is the augmented supersweet type. This sweet corn gene is simply just an improved version of the supersweet that contains the supersweets and sugary enhanced gene types. When growing the augmented supersweet they produce sweet and tender kernels. You need to wait till temperatures are around 60F for successful germination. This sweet corn type has excellent storage life after harvesting.

Augmented SuperSweet (shA) Varieties:

Sweet Corn Genes: Isolation Requirements

Which sweet corn genes will cross-pollinate in the garden? The sweet corn types that will need isolation from one another are the standard sugary, sugary enhanced, and supersweet varieties. The augmented supersweets should also be isolated from the standard sugary, sugary enhanced, and supersweet types for a true variety. We highly recommend if you are worried about corn cross-pollinating you should stagger/succession plant your corn 2 to 3 weeks in the garden. The best variety to grow that does not require isolation is the synergistic sweet corns.

Show and Tell Segment

On the show and tell segment this week, Greg and Travis have been experiencing some wet and cold climates which have made it harder to get out in the garden recently. Travis has some fermented carrots to try from the vegetable garden. Although Greg thought there was a little too much dill in Travis’s fermented carrots, it was still good. The guys also explain the sudden “seed shortage” that is being talked about which really isn’t true at all. The seed suppliers said there really isn’t a seed shortage only one or two varieties that did not produce enough crops for seeds. The main problem is transportation which means due to the pandemic the seeds are taking longer than normal to get to seed distributors in return taking longer to seed companies like Hoss Tools. We just received some more Jimmy Red Corn which is the best field corn for making homemade grits and cornmeal. We also have a few new varieties for 2021 that have been added to our website. The Bronco Bean is similar to the Momentum Bush Bean and the Bronco is a top pick type so all the pods are grown on top of the plant which makes it easier to harvest. The 2nd new variety we have is a slicing determinate tomato known as Jolene Tomato that has lots of great disease resistance. We added another new giant sunflower variety, Kong Giant Sunflower, which produces around 10 blooms at a time in the garden. The next new variety is South American Popcorn which is an heirloom that supposedly has the butter built-in. The last new variety is Indian Flour Corn that is similar to the Jimmy Red Corn but has a little different color profile.

Viewer Questions

For the Q & A segment this week, the guys answer some viewer questions about growing on hortonova netting, fertilizing melons, and the best yellow watermelon variety. The best crops to grow on our hortonova netting are cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, pole beans, and tomatillos. A general rule is anything heavier than a big slicing cucumber you need to use a cattle panel or something stronger. When fertilizing melons if you are using a granular type you need to put half of the recommended fertility pre-plant and then 6 weeks after transplant apply the rest of the fertilizer. The other way to fertilize melons is to spoon-feed them since we like to use drip tape we can fertilize a little bit throughout the growing season. The best yellow watermelon variety is the Baby Doll Watermelon which is an “icebox” produces 6-10 lbs personal sized fruits.

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