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I had a problem with my sweetcorn last year and I have spoken to others on the allotments that have had a similar problem. I’ve been growing sweetcorn for more than 20 years and never encountered this before. The kernels were deformed and looked as if they had exploded into a grey, mouldy mess. What was the problem and do you have any remedy for this year?

Mick Benner, via email

Emma Rawlings, deputy editor, Kitchen Garden magazine

EMMA SAYS: Your sweetcorn was suffering from sweetcorn smut, quite a serious disease of this crop. The spores of the disease are carried in the air and it is particularly common in dry weather. The spores, once released, will fall to the soil where they can infect next season’s crop. Not all cobs will be infected but you will notice that some kernels look grey and become swollen and deformed before they burst open to release the mass of black spores inside. It is very important to burn any infected plant material, before this happens. Do not compost the haulms as the spores may survive in the heap. Unfortunately, there is no cure as such - no sprays are available, and the usual advice is not to grow sweetcorn on that patch of soil for three to five years.

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About Kitchen Garden Magazine

In this month's issue of Kitchen Garden ... - Grow succulent strawberries - Save ££s on plants with our great offers - £2338 worth of garden goodies to be won! - Spring into action - 4 page sowing guide - Salads all year round - Try crunchy kohl rabi - How do you like it? Is your plot pristie or patchy? - Broad beans for beginners - 7 pages of delicious recipes - Bye bye to blight - Gloves tested - Boost your mood with gardeing