VEGETABLE HEROES Sweet Corn or Zea mays var. saccharata is the answer to that question about what vegetable is used in the manufacturing of nylon fibres and as a source for producing degradable plastics.
Much of the corn now grown around the world is genetically modified for herbicide and/or pest resistance, so a good reason to grow it yourself.
Sweet corn belongs to the grass family. Poaceae.
You can plant sweetcorn all year round in tropical and subtropical climates, in spring and midsummer in temperate zones and late spring to early summer in colder regions.
Before planting out your corn, soak the seeds in acontainer of water overnight. You can either sow the seeds directly into the garden, 25cm apart in short rows 50-60 cm apart, or in seed trays.
Dig in some chook poo a couple of weeks before you plant the corn.
Corn needs to be planted closely for pollination. Plant a hand span apart. You could also try planting your corn in a circle sow your corn seeds and water them in (a good soak).
Hints andTips- A good tip is, once the corncob has been pollinated (the corncob tassels have gone brown and you can feel the cob forming) cut the top flower off about a 10cm up from the cob. Hopefully this will let the plant concentrate on feeding the cob, making it grow larger and sweeter.
Poor germination and too few corncobs can be caused by a number of problems. For example:
- poor seed quality - if the seed is old or hasn't been dried or handled properly after harvest;
- seed rots (Pythium and Rhizoctonia fungi);
- planting into cool, wet soil, planting too deep and soil crusting.
Online companies that sell varieties of corn. www.heritageseeds.com.au www.greenharvest.com.au www.edenseeds.com.au
Plant of the Week: Crotons, Codiaeum variegatum Family - Euphorbiaceae-It is a native of the tropics from Java to Australia and the South Sea Islands, and because of the Crotons' susceptibility to cold injury, is restricted to the southern and warmer parts of australia for growing outdoors. Otherwise Crotons make a very decorative indoor plant in cooler climates.
Crotons develop their best leaf colors when planted in dappled sunlight all day. Plants placed in shade or semi-shade tend to develop a large amount of green color. Soil should be enriched with compost, muck, or coco peat, and the plants fertilized regularly with a general purpose fertilizer, preferable one that has an high acidic rating, such as an azalea fertilizer.
Croton plant varieties require heavy watering as well as high humidity. Misting the plant once or twice a week appears to to keep up with the Croton's humidity needs if you live in an area with low humidity levels. Keep the plants soil moist at all times.
If leaves begin to fall off or slope downward, you are probably not providing the plant with enough water. If the leaves edges become wilted, this may be an indication that you are over watering the plant. Try cutting down on how often you water and see if that improves the leaves appearance. Overall, I have found that Croton's are a medium maintenance house plant. They can be touchy in terms of how much water they are given or not given.
One blogger writes “When I made the decision that I was going to make my garden a native/exotic mix, …. I wouldnt go overboard with colour. A sea of green highlighted by a few tastefully composed beds containing Cordylines and Crotons, with the Broms around a Poinciana rounding out the 'terrific threesome' of tropical gardens everywhere.
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