A mid-season variety that performs better in cooler conditions than many other varieties, Lark F1 is a great sweet corn for Northern European climates. It boasts an excellent, super sweet flavour and the plants are not too tall, making them perfect for the average size allotment.
|Germination||7 - 10 Days|
|Sowing Method||Start in Pots / Trays|
|Days to Maturity||75 - 95 Days|
|Recommended Soil pH||6.0-7.0|
[83 days] Growing sweet corn in Britain used to be quite a challenge, and getting a good crop was even trickier. Lucky for us, a new breed of modern F1 varieties has been bred for our cooler climates, and that in includes the Extra Tender Super Sweet (or Tendersweet) Lark F1.
This easy-to-germinate, mid-season sweet corn produces two or three golden yellow cobs per plant, roughly 20cm (8”) long. Deliciously sweet, the fruit from Lark sweet corn tend to be more pleasurable to eat and easier to digest than traditional “supersweet” varieties.
Unlike most hybrids, the Lark F1 can be planted alongside other varieties and doesn’t need to be isolated. (Sow with Earlybird and Wagtail varieties to eat corn all season long!)
Eat sweet corn fresh or boiled, steamed and/or barbecued the cobs for scrumptious treat. Height: 200cm (79”). Spread: 45cm (18”).
Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Plant in sheltered spot where the soil is both rich, well-drained, and has a pH between 6.5 – 7.5. Make sure the crop won’t shade out other sun-loving plants (the plants grow between 180-220cm tall.) Like most other corns, the Lark F1 is wind pollinated and best planted in large blocks – not in rows. (For best results, a minimum block of 4x4 plants is recommended.) Sweet corn tends to have very shallow roots that need protection both from wind and water loss in the soil.
Although corn generally doesn’t like to be transplanted, if care is taken not to disturb the roots it can be started indoors in the spring (generally April). Most folks prefer to sow directly outside in May.
Sow in cells or 3-inch pots filled with good, free-draining compost. The compost should be moist, but not waterlogged. Saturated compost will not only be cold, but also can reduce the amount of oxygen your seeds need to germinate. Sow 2 seeds per pot or module.
Once the starts are 2cm (1”) tall, thin to the strongest seedling. When the soil outside has warmed and all chance of frost has passed, harden plants off gradually and plant in a block with 25 to 30cm (10-12”) between plants and 60cm (24”) between rows.
Note: Sweet corn seed does not germinate below 10°C (50°F), so make sure the soil has adequately warmed before planting. It also needs a good summer to produce at its best.
Transplant outside or into permanent pots once the soil has warmed – no colder than 50F at any given time. Harden off gradually before transplanting.
Plants should be set 12-24” apart, and planted in a square pattern as this allows for the plant to best germinate in the wind and provide support.
Sweet corn likes a lot of water, so make sure it gets regular water, especially once you see cobs start to form. (If you see the leaves curling when the cobs begin to swell, this a sign your plants need more water.) Apply a nitrogen fertiliser once the plants are about 20cm (8in) tall and again when they start producing tassels.
Keep the area between the plants free of weeds, either by mulching, inter-planting (beans and squash are a great option), or by light hoeing.
Harvesting: Test for ripeness when the silky tassels have turned a chocolate brown. Peel back the sheath and squeeze a grain between thumbnail and fingernail: if a watery liquid squirts out, it’s not ready yet. If the liquid is creamy, the cob is ready. If paste-like, the cob is over-mature.
To harvest, twist the ripe cobs from the stem. Make sure you eat them soon after harvesting—the cobs rapidly lose their flavour after picking.