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Unpollenated corn question

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Unpollenated corn question

Post  littlesapphire on 7/24/2012, 10:57 am

This is my first year growing corn. I grew a dwarf sweet variety called blue jade. It's done surprisingly well considering I planted it in a new box (I always have trouble with plants when the boxes are new) and I've never grown them before.

The plant description says they'll grow 2 to 6 ears per plant. I've gotten maybe a total of ten ears per eight squares, which like I said I'm very pleased with considering everything else. The thing is, the stalks are now producing more silks! Almost every stalk has between two and four female flowers. However, theres only one or two stalks left that have any pollen left.

so my question is, can you eat unpollenated female corn flowers (the part with the silks)? I've only found one reference on the entire Internet that says you can. If I can, I'm going to have a huge crop of baby corn!
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Re: Unpollenated corn question

Post  yolos on 7/24/2012, 3:37 pm

Someone will correct me if I am wrong, but I thought the pollen was on the tassles at the top. The pollen is supposed to fall down onto the silks. Every silk has to be pollinated because each silk is attached to a kernel. Therefore, if the silk did not get pollinated, there will not be a kernel. So, if you do not have tassels left, how can the corn be pollinated? thinking If it is not properly pollinated, you will not get a full ear of corn.
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Re: Unpollenated corn question

Post  CharlesB on 7/24/2012, 3:51 pm

They said they have one or two stalks with pollen left. I would assume that would mean tassles.
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Re: Unpollenated corn question

Post  Triciasgarden on 7/24/2012, 4:20 pm

The tassels which is considered the male flower (which is probably what you mean) do have the pollen. Each little bud/flower thingy (all I could think of to describe it, lol) has pollen in it. It sounds like your tassels have released some pollen and maybe some tassels have waited to pollinate the next batch of silks, which are considered the female flower. It sounds like you will get more cobs growing. As Yolos said each silk is attached to a kernal. When that silk gets pollenated it sends the signal to that kernal to grow. That signal is very fast. If none of the silk for the whole potential cob are not pollinated, then you will not have kernals on the cob. I would think eating the silk could get stuck in your throat, and that is why it is removed when shucking the corn.


Last edited by Triciasgarden on 7/24/2012, 4:23 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Had to fix my answer.)
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Re: Unpollenated corn question

Post  littlesapphire on 7/24/2012, 4:26 pm

Yes, that's right, I only have two tassles with pollen left in them. All the others have, I don't know what it's called... Opened up? And they have no more pollen left in them. My slks and tassles didn't sync up properly. The silks down below are connected to small baby corn, and my question was could I, if I know those silks won't be pollinated, cut the baby corn off and eat it.

I actually found my answer later in the day. It turns out that baby corn, the kind you find in like Chinese food, is actually undeveloped, unpollenated corn, and you can harvest and eat it right when the silks are just coming out. It doesn't have to be any specific kind of corn, any will do, even field corn. So I'm going to go harvest some! I'll let you all know how it goes.
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Re: Unpollenated corn question

Post  littlesapphire on 7/24/2012, 4:30 pm

Here's a link to the info about baby corn.

http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/harvest-baby-ears-your-corn-patch

And no, I don't think the tassels have any pollen left because its been several weeks since they started releasing pollen and they haven't released any for a while now. Just those two stragglers that developed
later than the others.


Last edited by littlesapphire on 7/24/2012, 4:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Unpollenated corn question

Post  CharlesB on 7/24/2012, 4:32 pm

Cool. Let us know how it tastes.
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Re: Unpollenated corn question

Post  AvaDGardner on 7/24/2012, 4:37 pm

Fresh baby corn is great, right in the garden. I ate one that grew on the one corn plant I had on my patio years ago, and that was all I got! Unknowing me...I thought it would put up more stalks if one went away!

So I don't do that again.

This year 2 seeds produced 8 ears. I learned about the silk-pollination thing after the fact, so not everything was fully kernaled. I never did see physical pollen from my tassels, which kinda surprised me. Next time I planting 4/square, and hoping for more natural pollination!
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Re: Unpollenated corn question

Post  southern gardener on 7/24/2012, 5:30 pm

out of 128 stalks, I'd say we have about 20 ears total? Most of them never produced an ear, only tassels and pollen. Some corn is 5 feet tall, some is about a foot tall?? The variety is Kandy Korn. Last year it did so well. Planted another round of corn, and it seems to be doing better. I planted a bunch of string beans/ie two sisters method. I checked this AM, and the birds pulled almost all of the green beans out Sad I wasn't able to cover the bean seeds since the corn is about a foot or so tall Sad Darned birds!
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Re: Unpollenated corn question

Post  FamilyGardening on 7/24/2012, 6:31 pm

southern g we planted kandy korn again this year too because it did so well last year in our three sisters garden....we too had problems this year.....with the seeds.....at least half of them didnt come up and when we went to replant them some of the seed that we did put down was gone.....others failed to germinate.....

the corn is doing great now at two differnt stages so polination is going to fun What a Face

good to know that we can eat the small un-polinated ears.....littlesapphire let us know how they taste!

hugs
rose
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Re: Unpollenated corn question

Post  southern gardener on 7/24/2012, 6:46 pm

@FamilyGardening wrote:southern g we planted kandy korn again this year too because it did so well last year in our three sisters garden....we too had problems this year.....with the seeds.....at least half of them didnt come up and when we went to replant them some of the seed that we did put down was gone.....others failed to germinate.....

the corn is doing great now at two differnt stages so polination is going to fun What a Face

good to know that we can eat the small un-polinated ears.....littlesapphire let us know how they taste!

hugs
rose

Hi Rose. Ours germinated fine, almost all came up. They are just all over the place. Some are 5-6' tall, others a foot or so? Tiny plants with pollen and no ears, tall plants with pollen, no ears. So strange. I'm not sure you can eat the unpollinated ears in our variety? I think they are growing the "baby corn", the variety that is supposed to be tiny? Maybe I'm wrong! wouldn't be the first time! haha
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Re: Unpollenated corn question

Post  Pollinator on 7/24/2012, 9:05 pm

Corn pollen is very fine and hard to see. You can see it best in the early morning if you shake a tassel and watch toward the early sun. There's lots more info on corn pollination right here: http://gardensouth.org/2011/07/09/you-can-avoid-corn-pollination-failure/
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Re: Unpollenated corn question

Post  littlesapphire on 7/25/2012, 9:45 am

I picked a tiny unpollenated ear yesterday with the silks just coming out. It was super sweet! I was surprised. It was so small, though. I think I'll let the ears get just a little bigger before picking next time, maybe when the ears are all the way out.

SG, the website I posted yesterday said you can use any kind of corn as baby corn, even field corn, and that using sweet corn won't make it any sweeter. The trick is just to get it before its pollinated, which won't be a problem for me since the tassels are done releasing pollen.
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Re: Unpollenated corn question

Post  Triciasgarden on 7/25/2012, 3:48 pm

Oh that's cool about eating the baby corn! I wasn't sure what you meant but now I do, lol. This year I decided to see if I could get the tassels to release pollen and I tapped the side of the tassel. Pollen fell off. It was very fine and plenty of it. I may have just caught it at the right time because I tried on other occasions and it didn't work. Maybe more than one tassel was ready to produce. My corn never got more than 2-4 feet tall and I thought it was because I planted in April and the weather was cooler. I planted a whole other bed of corn and it is going to tassel and is even shorter than the first batch. So go figure!
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