• Sofias Country Gardens

Hopi blue sweetcorn


If there is one thing I really love, it is to try out growing new and colourful vegetable varieties. This always happens with sweetcorn which comes in such a delicious range of different colours, and although I know that our season is too short for them to try I still end up growing a new variety each year. Just give me a seed packet that promises novelty, and I sure will try it out. This year, it was the Hopi Blue sweetcorn that caught my imagination, and of course I had to give a try even though I knew full well the harvest would be limited due to our shorter summers. Hopi Blue is a Native American heirloom variety that is used to make corn meal. It is very easy to grow, prefers sandy loam and although it only takes a short 10 - 15 days to germinate it takes at least 110 days to harvest.

In my cold climate garden I start off the seeds indoors in seed trays and only plant the plugs out once all risk of frost has passed
The first month the corn is companiaonplanted with spinach, as this early crop does no harm and is gone by the time the sweetcorn is ready to take up more space.

Growing this corn variety was fun in that it all started out so well, with seeds happily germinating in the spring sunlight. Although I only planted half a seed tray, by the time they are big enough to move outside they invariably took up half a raised bed in the vegetable garden - space that I might much better have used to something that will produce a better harvest. As always, I mulched around the plants with grass cuttings to keep an even moisture in the soil and also to keep the weeds at bay while giving the sweetcorn a load of nutrients too. One month later the grass is more or less wilted and gone, with worms having pulled it partly into the soil already.

Self seeded marigolds amongst the sweetcorn. I love these friendly companion plants, and let them pop up a bit here and there as they like as long as they don't crowd out any vegetables.

In the end of August I got my hopes up that I would have a harvest to talk about, and much to my delight a few of the cobs turn out exactly as advertised! The colours of the hopi blue sweetcorn was all they promised to be, and I was lucky to get a bakers dozen of these gems. Shifting from the palest blue to dark azure, the colour was amazing. A few corncobs had wilted (probably from lack of pollination) and gone deep mauve and small, but these too I picked and keept as decoration on the kitchen table.

This variety is apparently excellent for drying and using as popcorn, but this didn't work for me. As I tried to dry them they just became hollow in the middle of the corn instead of good hard kernels. If I had gotten a much bigger harvest I most surely would have tried to use them to make cornflour, but with so few there wasn't much point in even trying. I did try some boiled like normal sweetcorn, but when cooked they were bland so no culinary delicacy there then! Never mind, in the end I used the corn cobs as decorations on my table and considered the whole experiment a partial success as at least I got some very pretty pictures and a new experience. This year I keep telling myself to plant something else instead but like a true seed addict I keep looking at other amazing varieties of corn...!


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