‘Black Sugar’, also known as ‘Black Mexican’ and ‘Slate Sweet’, is an heirloom variety, possibly the most popular hairloom corn grown today. It matures in 75 to 80 days. The plants grow 6 feet and bear 6 to 8 inch cobs about 1.5 inch in diameter. The kernels are black, on a white cob. The corn can be harvested early and eaten as sweet corn, or harvested late, after the kernels change to blue and black, for flour. Originally domesticated by Mesoamericans, it is a staple food with many other traditional uses. Home gardeners love to grow corn, and there are many varieties suited to different climates. Plant seeds 1 inch deep in rows or clumps, two weeks after the last frost date. Corn needs rich soil, full sun and adequate moisture to produce good ears. It is wind pollinated, so if you want to save seed, you will need to either stagger the planting time of different varieties, or plant them 1/4 mile apart. Water deeply.
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CharacteristicsCultivar: Black Sugar
Size:Height: 6 ft. to 6 ft.
Width: 2 ft. to 2 ft.
Plant Category:annuals and biennials, edibles, vegetables,
Plant Characteristics:seed start,
Foliage Characteristics:coarse leaves,
Tolerances:heat & humidity,
Bloomtime Range: Mid Summer to Mid Summer
USDA Hardiness Zone:4 to 11
AHS Heat Zone:1 to 12
Light Range:Sun to Full Sun
pH Range:5.5 to 8.5
Soil Range:Sandy Loam to Clay Loam
Water Range:Normal to Normal
FertilizingHow-to : Fertilization for Annuals and Perennials
Annuals and perennials may be fertilized using: 1.water-soluble, quick release fertilizers; 2. temperature controlled slow-release fertilizers; or 3. organic fertilizers such as fish emulsion. Water soluble fertilizers are generally used every two weeks during the growing season or per label instructions. Controlled, slow-release fertilizers are worked into the soil ususally only once during the growing season or per label directions. For organic fertilizers such as fish emulsion, follow label directions as they may vary per product.
LightConditions : Light Conditions
Unless a site is completely exposed, light conditions will change during the day and even during the year. The northern and eastern sides of a house receive the least amount of light, with the northern exposure being the shadiest. The western and southern sides of a house receive the most light and are considered the hottest exposures due to intense afternoon sun.
You will notice that sun and shade patterns change during the day. The western side of a house may even be shady due to shadows cast by large trees or a structure from an adjacent property. If you have just bought a new home or just beginning to garden in your older home, take time to map sun and shade throughout the day. You will get a more accurate feel for your site's true light conditions.
Conditions : Light and Plant Selection
For best plant performance, it is desirable to match the correct plant with the available light conditions. Right plant, right place! Plants which do not receive sufficient light may become pale in color, have fewer leaves and a "leggy" stretched-out appearance. Also expect plants to grow slower and have fewer blooms when light is less than desirable. It is possible to provide supplemental lighting for indoor plants with lamps. Plants can also receive too much light. If a shade loving plant is exposed to direct sun, it may wilt and/or cause leaves to be sunburned or otherwise damaged.
Conditions : Full Sun
Full Sun is defined as exposure to more than 6 hours of continuous, direct sun per day.
PlantingHow-to : Preparing Garden Beds
Use a soil testing kit to determine the acidity or alkalinity of the soil before beginning any garden bed preparation. This will help you determine which plants are best suited for your site. Check soil drainage and correct drainage where standing water remains. Clear weeds and debris from planting areas and continue to remove weeds as soon as they come up.
A week to 10 days before planting, add 2 to 4 inches of aged manure or compost and work into the planting site to improve fertility and increase water retention and drainage. If soil composition is weak, a layer of topsoil should be considered as well. No matter if your soil is sand or clay, it can be improved by adding the same thing: organic matter. The more, the better; work deep into the soil. Prepare beds to an 18 inch deep for perennials. This will seem like a tremendous amount of work now, but will greatly pay off later. Besides, this is not something that is easily done later, once plants have been established.
ProblemsPest : Corn Earworm
The corn earworm changes from a white to a black caterpillar and as an adult changes yet again into a dull grey-brown colored moth that migrates at night. Eggs and worms are often found eating in the silk or tips of ripe corn.
Prevention and Care: place about 1 teaspoon of mineral oil on the tips of each ear of corn as soon as the silk appears. This usually keeps the moth from laying her eggs there. Insecticides can be used. Make sure the product is labelled for that intended use. Follow the label directions to a tee.
MiscellaneousGlossary : Annual
An annual is any plant that completes its life cycle in one growing season.