Photo by Melody
Congratulations to all our photo contest participants! Check out the winning photos here. We will have the 2015 calendars available to order from Zazzle soon.

Vegetable Gardening: Why is my corn doing this?

Communities > Forums > Vegetable Gardening
bookmark
Forum: Vegetable GardeningReplies: 13, Views: 124
Add to Bookmarks
-
AuthorContent
happygirl345
Pleasant Hill, CA
(Zone 9b)

August 14, 2013
1:45 PM

Post #9630681

If anyone can assist me with this challenge, I would be grateful. My corn looks like a cartoon hag's mouth.

Some ears are perfect, some look like this.

I feed organically only, and feed a lot (weekly with either fish emulsion or seaweed tea). Corn gets 8-10 hours of sunlight a day, and stalks are between 6 - 10 feet tall.

It tastes fine (oh soooo fine!!!), but sure doesn't look good enough for company!

Thanks -

Thumbnail by happygirl345
Click the image for an enlarged view.

lavender4ever

lavender4ever
(Louise) Highland, MI
(Zone 5b)

August 14, 2013
2:11 PM

Post #9630690

Looks like a pollination problem.

NicoleC

NicoleC
Madison, AL
(Zone 7b)

August 14, 2013
3:10 PM

Post #9630749

Agreed. How much corn do you have planted and in what size block?

Lily_love

Lily_love
Central, AL
(Zone 7b)

August 14, 2013
6:35 PM

Post #9630934

Here goes, a very helpful article for Patti.
http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/4341/
AdamAgain
SW, AR
(Zone 8a)

August 15, 2013
3:28 AM

Post #9631151

Insects (mainly the corn earworm) cutting the silks inside the husks can cause poor pollination.

Also, as you can glean from Angela Carsonís fine article, enough tassel damage leads to pollination problems.
JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

August 15, 2013
7:29 AM

Post #9631350

Maybe I'm thick, but I don't understand the article on detasseling- doesn't removing the pollinating tassels cut down on pollination? I would think it would be good to cut the pollen filled tassels ahd shake them on each ear that has silks showing.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

August 15, 2013
8:13 AM

Post #9631388

Jo - I think the detasseling article was meant to imply that it was done to prevent the corn from self-pollinating. You would not want to do this in your home garden.

happygirl - your corn has suffered from insufficient pollination. How many rows did you plant and how many squares. From memory, I think one should plant at least four rows by at least four rows for adequate pollination.

Corn is wind pollinated. All the excess rain we have had this summer, might have caused lack of pollination.

Invite honey bees into your garden. They are great corn pollinators.

NicoleC

NicoleC
Madison, AL
(Zone 7b)

August 15, 2013
1:02 PM

Post #9631649

I've always heard a block of 100 square feet, but I had good pollination with a 4x10 block, a 3 foot aisle and a 4x10 block. The necessary size of the block may be dependent on local conditions and "100 feet" has some safety margin.
Indy
Alexandria, IN
(Zone 6a)

August 15, 2013
3:04 PM

Post #9631736

I shake the stalks a few days to help ensure good pollination. Doing that, directing the pollen dust over the silks, would work with a single solitary stalk.

drobarr

drobarr
Hummelstown, PA
(Zone 6b)

August 15, 2013
8:52 PM

Post #9631996

Poor pollination is your problem.

Every single potential kernal has a silk attached to it that exists the top of the ear. And the only kernals that will fill are those that are pollinated. The pollen falls from the tassels down onto the silks and a pollen grain must enter the silk and travel all the way down to the future grain for it to fill. The empty spaces you have on the ear is where the grains were not fertilized. That means the silks attached to the potential grains did not recieve pollen and thus were not fertilized and could not fill.

This is why you need to grow corn in several short rows. Some of the ears were better positioned than others for the rain of pollen. Some of the ears with poor pollination may have been on the edge or upwind from the pollen.

I always break off a piece or two of the tassel and manually brush them against the silks. This helps to ensure pollination. It is possible to get good pollination with a single plant, but I recommend manually pollinating.

It is not a disease or insect or fertility issue.

This message was edited Aug 15, 2013 11:54 PM
happygirl345
Pleasant Hill, CA
(Zone 9b)

August 16, 2013
7:39 AM

Post #9632284

I grew the corn in 12's (four across, three rows). I grew four sets like this.

There are only two of us, so I don't want to produce too much. (Of course, I guess I can freeze what we don't eat!).

Breaking off the tassel and brushing them on silks is a great idea!

Thank you all! I will triumph! (I have one more set that is just setting tassels now, so the silks should be visible shortly...)

-Patty
Indy
Alexandria, IN
(Zone 6a)

August 16, 2013
10:26 AM

Post #9632443

I had some ears like that on the seventh planting a few years ago...it was caused by insects. That year the corn root worm beetles had amassed on the silks, eating them back to the shuck, and the grains that pollinated were huge and starchy and you could not remove the silks either [readily].

I prefer to shake the stalks as you get many repeat shakes...by leaving the tassels alive.

drobarr

drobarr
Hummelstown, PA
(Zone 6b)

August 17, 2013
5:13 AM

Post #9633141

No need to break off the entire top part of tassels...just one little piece. Works very well. Also shaking is good but even with a slight breeze sometimes the ones along an edge can be missed. If an insect does devour the silks before pollination can occur then you very well could have the same problem. Did the ears on the ears that had poor grain fill have missing silks at the top of the ear?
Indy
Alexandria, IN
(Zone 6a)

August 17, 2013
11:47 AM

Post #9633371

When there is a breeze, I lean the stalks that way to compensate...been at this for a while.

You cannot post until you register, login and subscribe.


Other Vegetable Gardening Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
very important question farmgirl21 31 Jan 8, 2008 12:31 AM
Need Source For Chinese Vegetable Seed berrygirl 18 Jun 15, 2008 7:21 PM
An accidental lesson Farmerdill 26 Feb 24, 2013 12:10 PM
Planting the "Three sisters" HilltopDaisy 94 Jul 6, 2011 3:38 AM
Rhubarb emilyrasmus 19 Apr 25, 2013 4:55 PM


We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2014 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.
 

Hope for America