Corn ‘Early Gem’
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Botanical Name: Zea mays
‘Early Gem’ is an excellent heirloom sweet corn producing small delicious cobs with good robust flavour.
It’s great for eating fresh during summer (e.g. on the BBQ, microwaved or boiled), or alternatively it can be dried for winter soups. In comparison to modern hybrid sweet corns this variety is slightly less sweet but it has much fuller flavour.
It grows to around 1.7m tall so fits well into home gardens, and is suited for those in short season climates.
Spring – Early Summer
Sow Direct, or Transplant
Corn seeds are best sown in spring to early summer. Seeds can be sown in trays for transplanting, or directly in place approx. 20 – 30 cm apart when soil temperatures are above 18°c.
18°c – 25°c
7 – 14 days
Transplant seedlings or thin directly sown seeds to a final spacing of approx. 40cm apart once plants have some true leaves.
30cm – 40cm
80 – 110 days
Corn is a heavy feeder that prefers fertile well-draining soils. Please note that corn is pollinated by the wind so it's best to plant in a square/rectangle block and grow more plants than less to ensure good pollination of your corn. This is often evident where the cobs on the edge of a corn plantation end up less consistently pollinated with kernels than the inner cobs of the plantation. If you're growing more than one variety of corn, keep the blocks of different varieties well separated to avoid cross-pollination.
You want to harvest your corn while the ears feel tight and firm and full, and the flower silks at the end of the cobs have gone brown and dry. This is usually after the flower silks have been out for about 3 weeks, and you can also check by seeing if the kernels produce 'milk' (the white coloured sweet pulp) when squashed.
APPROX SEEDS PER PACKET:
|HOME GARDEN ($3.50)||50 seeds|
|FOOD FOREST ($9.00)||200 seeds|
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This is the formal scientific name for each plant, firstly identifying the genus and then the species to which it belongs.
The purpose of these Latin names is to have a single name that is accepted and used worldwide for a particular plant or plant group, and to help distinguish each plant uniquely from other plants.
This refers to the typical lifecycle of each plant.
Annual: Plants that complete their life cycle within 1 year (from germination to growing and producing seeds, then dying).
Biennial: Plants that complete their life cycle in 2 years (germinates and grows in the first year, then produces seeds and dies in the second year).
Perennial: Plants that have a life cycle of more than 2 years.
It is wise to consider the lifecycle of each plant before choosing its final growing position. For example, you may prefer to plant perennials away from annuals, so your perennials are not disturbed when your annuals are harvested at the end of their relatively short lifecycle.
This refers to the geographic region and approximate date of origin, as it is best known for each variety.
Please note that varieties listed as “pre 1900’s” are very old varieties that have often been grown for hundreds of years, and as such their specific dates of origin are hard to list accurately.
This refers to when it is suggested the seeds are best sown, to encourage strong and vigorous growth in their ideal seasonal conditions.
Please note that while some varieties may be able to be sown outside the range suggested, they will generally perform best when sown in the approximate seasonal ranges provided.
This refers to the suggested method for sowing each variety. Using the appropriate sowing method will help to ensure you achieve best results.
Direct Sow: These are seeds that perform well when sown directly into your garden. These seeds normally produce fast growing and strong seedlings. Please note that young seedlings may still need some protection from harsh weather and pests.
Transplant: These are seeds that perform well when started in trays or containers and then transplanted to their final position once they’re a bit stronger. These seeds often produce slower growing and weaker seedlings that need some care and protection from weather and pests. Seedlings can typically be transplanted to their final position once they are large enough to handle (for example 5+cm tall with several true leaves).
Please note that for varieties where we list both methods you have the choice.
Soil Temp To Germinate:
This refers to the approximate soil temperature range for optimum germination of the seeds.
Please note that while some germination may occur outside these ranges, the seeds will typically germinate strongest when sown in the optimum soil temperature range provided.
Approx. Time To Germinate:
This refers to the approximate amount of time it takes for the seeds to germinate.
Please note that while some variation may occur, with ideal conditions this represents an average amount of time before germination. This relies in part on the seeds being sown in soil at an ideal temperature for germination, per the heading above.
Spacing For Seedlings:
This is the recommended spacing between plants in their final growing position.
Please note that spacing plants closer together than suggested will likely result in underperforming plants, due to crowding and over-competition for root space and available nutrients.
Approx. Time To Harvest:
This is the number of days until the plant typically reaches the purpose for which it is normally grown. For example, this is the time it takes for the plant to fruit or flower, or until the leaves are ready to be picked, etc.
Please note that while this refers to the beginning of harvesting time, the plants could keep growing for an extended period yet, particularly if kept well looked after.
Hardiness To Frosts:
This refers to how tolerant the plant is of frost and cold weather.
Tender: Plants that will be injured or killed by frost and cold weather. These plants will probably not survive winter.
Half-Hardy: Plants that will not tolerate severe frosts, but should otherwise survive winter.
Hardy: Plants that have the ability to survive frost and cold weather. These plants should survive winter.