Corn Advice Welcome!

| June 19, 2012 | 3 Replies

Corn Advice Welcome! I am growing corn in my parkway (the strip between the sidewalk and the street), and the yard near the sidewalk. Everyone who walks by tells me they had trouble growing corn. I thought I was going to be the exception.

Yesterday, a couple went by and said they grew corn, but the ears were tiny.  When I took a closer look (hey, there’s a lot to take care of out there, and I hadn’t noticed), there were these ungainly small ears on the tops of the stalks. They also said you were supposed to shake the plants every day to make sure they pollinated. I didn’t do that.

Because the husk is split open to reveal kernels, I am assuming these are no good. I thought I might dry these kernels for seeds. I read about corn the other day (I thought it was about time), and it said when the silks turn brown they are about ready to harvest. Almost all my silks are brown on the ends.

Another thing, my plants are not all that tall, and there’s corn growing just a few inches from the ground. The book said a single plant produces one to two ears! Mine are loaded. There’s a dozen ears growing on this double standard.

I’m thinking I could harvest all these. Should I give it a try? I plan to eat them raw.

Now, here’s a funny one. This is the only double plant of a different variety, and one set of tassels was rose colored, and the other, taller one was white like the rest.

This is the bottom of that plant, ears close to the ground, and silks are rose and white, like the tassels.

Neighbors Courtney and Ashley bought some ladybugs and distributed them in my garden. I told them to put some on the corn, but, this couple are more interested in fraternizing than eating bugs.

Thanks for reading! Corn advice welcome! – Kaye

Update 2014: I have learned so much about growing corn since this first experience. Please check out Summer Update episodes at “Late Bloomer” and Preserving the Old Corn Growing Tradition.

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Category: Vegetables, Warm Season

Comments (3)

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  1. edythe preet says:

    Kaye – did you know that EACH silk thread is responsible for plumping up an individual kernel? ergo letting all go brown is the key to getting all plump kernels….as for shaking them: I guess farm winds are stronger than those in PP – Edythe

  2. oceannah says:

    Looks like poor pollination. In general corn plants are easy to grow…growing CORN for eating is not as simple a task…. to grow in small quantities at least. It’s usually recommended to grow in at least 4 x 4 blocks, this ensures proper pollination. Since your corn looks very healthy (plant wise) it looks like the nutrients are on track. Corn is pollinated by the wind, but can be helped along with some shaking it’s true. If you grow corn in long strips, like the driveway it may be that the ears are simply not pollinated. They’re otherwise healthy and no harm in eating them. Good luck.

  3. Interesting as we had a lot of wind through April, mild breezes here and there since. As I have 10 more plants just starting to show tassels, I will be sure to shake them! Anna, you mean the little ones at the top of the post look like poor pollination?

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