Corn, Illini Xtra Sweet Hybrid
Four times as sweet as standard hybrids.
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How to Sow
- Growing corn is easy provided you have enough space and plenty of sun. Corn is wind-pollinated, so you need to plant in blocks to ensure pollination. You should have a minimum 10 foot by 10 foot area. The exception to this rule is ‘On Deck’ corn, which has been bred to grow in containers. If you are growing ‘On Deck’, choose a container that is at least 24 inches wide and deep and plant nine seeds evenly spaced.
- Isolate corn varieties when recommended (Sh2s), by planting corn seeds at least 250 feet apart, or select varieties that mature at least 2 weeks apart so they will not cross pollinate.
- When choosing a site for corn plant on the north side of your garden so the tall plants do not shade other plants in your vegetable garden.
- Corn is a warm season crop and should not be planted in cool soils. The non Sh2 varieties tend to be more tolerant of cool soils, but in general the soil should be about 65 degrees F or warmer.
- Sow corn seed 1 inch deep, 5 to 6 inches apart in rows 2 to 3 feet apart.
- Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days.
- When corn seedlings are 3-5 inches tall and healthy, thin to 1 foot apart.
How to Grow
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating.
- Keep plants well watered during dry periods to promote uninterrupted growth. Corn needs 1-2 inches of rain per week for best production. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. Corn is also a heavy feeder and will benefit from side dressings of fertilizer applied as directed through the growing season.
- Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
- Suckers tend to form at the base of the plants; they help support the stalks and make food for the plant. The stalks may have to be staked in windy areas, but in general they are self-supporting.
- Sunflowers are good companion plant for corns. Direct sow sunflowers in rows parallel to corn rows to help separate corn varieties that need isolation from each other. Choose sunflower varieties of comparable height to the corn plantings. The sunflower border, with vibrant hues in russets to golden-yellow, will add sparkle next to the almost all-green corn plot. The ‘Three Sisters’ (corn, bean and squash) are traditional companion plantings with Native American gardeners.
Harvest and Preserving Tips
- Ears of corn are ready to harvest about 17-20 days after the silks appear. The kernels should be firm. Open an ear and pierce a kernel with your fingernail. If the liquid is watery, the corn is not ripe yet. It should be milky. If it is creamy, it is overripe and will not taste as sweet.
- Firmly grip the ear and twist downward to harvest. Take care not to break the plant when harvesting the first ear, or the second ear will not develop. Most corn produces two ears.
- Store unhusked corn in the fridge and consume as soon as possible. Sh2 and SE varieties keep the longest in the fridge, up to one week.
- Corn freezes well after blanching and may also be canned using a pressure cooker. Immature ears may be pickled.
Days To Maturity85 daysFruit Size8 inchesSunFull SunSpread12 inchesHeight6 feetSow MethodDirect SowPlanting TimeSpringSow TimeAfter Last FrostThin12 inchesLife CycleAnnual
Corn, Illini Xtra Sweet Hybrid is rated out of 5 by 8.Rated 5 out of 5 by Timmy from The best corn ever We have grown this variety of corn for over 35 years and although there are some problems with it,it is worth the small draw backs it has. It is hard to germinate and it attracts bugs but that's because it is such a good flavored corn. It grows well in our area with multiple large ears on each stalk. The flavor is unmatched when compared to any other corn we have tried.Date published: 2016-01-31Rated 1 out of 5 by Lew10 from Beware Planted when recommended and again later. The stalks grew but the corn was dry and tasteless. Most of it was eaten by bugs (that left everything else alone). The silk never reached the top of the ear and the husk did the same.Date published: 2016-01-21Rated 1 out of 5 by Dylanese from Beware of bugs The problem with this variety is that the silk end sticks out the the bugs, including Japanese Beatles, eat the end before it is mature and if you leave it longer they can devour most of the ear. I would not recommend.Date published: 2012-08-04Rated 5 out of 5 by systemBuilder from The most awesome sweet corn, ever In the old days, as my grandfather used to say, you would start a pot of boiling water and go to the garden to pick the sweet corn. Once you had picked the corn you would RUN back into the house as fast you could - to put the corn into the pot. If you dropped an ear of corn, it wasn't worth the time to try to pick it up - you left it for dead!! The sweetness in the other ears of corn was fading, and you had to make it to that pot of boiling water as soon as possible!!! This problem no longer exists with Illini Xtra Sweet Corn, a hybrid developed at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, when I was a youth growing up in Urbana in the 1970's This corn is not only about 2x sweeter than traditional sweet corns, more importantly (from a commercial standpoint) it maintains its sweetness not for minutes or hours, but for DAYS at a time, making it worthwhile to grow this corn and sell it in markets throughout the Midwest. I'm here today looking for seeds to grow it in my adopted hometown of San Diego, as it hasn't reached this backwater city yet !!!Date published: 2012-06-27Rated 5 out of 5 by Cornlover from Yummmmy! As wonderfully delicious as I remember from my childhood. Dad loved this corn and my entire family now loves it too. So, so sweet. Grew cream & honey and this also. My son-in-law said we wasted our time growing anything else but this. If you've never ate this sweet wonder, do your taste buds a favor and try it. You'll be glad you did.Date published: 2011-12-20Rated 1 out of 5 by jwizardtree from disappointed I planted an entire package of this corn in my garden and only 4 plants emerged....I expected more from Burpee seeds. I am going to plant another package with hopes of better luck. Very expensive seeds for them not to grow.Date published: 2010-06-05Rated 5 out of 5 by madmax from sweet hybrid corn I just planted these seeds 10 days ago, and already sprouting. will write later with update on progressDate published: 2009-03-18Rated 5 out of 5 by bruce from Illini x-tra sweet Tall sweet corn with excellent yields. Large ears that retain flavor after picking. This is about the sweetest corn I have grown. My Dad grew this corn for years before I did and wouldn't plant anything else.Date published: 2007-01-05