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How to tell when corn is ready when the silks get eaten

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How to tell when corn is ready when the silks get eaten

Post  Triciasgarden on 7/24/2012, 4:05 pm

I have this problem every year with my corn. The tassels come out, I get the silks and the corn starts to grow. The silks get pollinated mostly. Then something eats the silks, almost 100% chance its earwigs. So then I can't tell if the silks have turned brown because they are eaten to the point where they cannot be seen. I don't want to peel away the leaves to look at the silk because I don't want to affect how they grow and expose the ear to further insect damage. I've done that in the past and that is what happened. I have opened up the leaves half way down the corn to puncture a kernal to see if it is ready. Usually it is milky. I picked two cobs last night because I figured they were ready enough and it looked like one just wasn't going to grow anymore. The small one was not fully developed so all the silks did not get polinated before they were eaten down. The chickens loved it! The larger one had the silk eaten way down also and there were earwigs in the top of both.

I cooked the larger one and it was very tough but I was happy to have it anyway. Any suggestions on what I should do? Did I wait too long, not long enough. Is there a way to protect the silks and also get them pollinated at the right time? Should I just look at each plant and when the silk shows up count 10 days and put a post-it note on each to let me know what day to pick it? :scratch: lol!
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Triciasgarden

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Re: How to tell when corn is ready when the silks get eaten

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

How much corn are you growing, you could help the pollination along by going out and giving them some shakes to help the pollen fall to the tassels, might help speed things along before those darn earwigs get to them. Good luck!
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Re: How to tell when corn is ready when the silks get eaten

Post  AvaDGardner on 7/24/2012, 4:40 pm

Less water and Sluggo Plus (Organic/OMRI Certified) will take care of the earwigs.

Mine get army worms. They don't eat the silks but they get into the silk and sometimes the cob.

If your ear was tough, then it has been on the plant too long.

Ava
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Re: How to tell when corn is ready when the silks get eaten

Post  Triciasgarden on 7/25/2012, 3:55 pm

@cheyannarach wrote:How much corn are you growing, you could help the pollination along by going out and giving them some shakes to help the pollen fall to the tassels, might help speed things along before those darn earwigs get to them. Good luck!

Thank you Cheyannarach. I had 16 plants planted in that bed. I did tap one stalk and pollen did fall. Maybe on the small one it didn't get much pollen. I have more ears to pick it looks like so I should get them today.
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Re: How to tell when corn is ready when the silks get eaten

Post  Triciasgarden on 7/25/2012, 4:05 pm

@AvaDGardner wrote:Less water and Sluggo Plus (Organic/OMRI Certified) will take care of the earwigs.

Mine get army worms. They don't eat the silks but they get into the silk and sometimes the cob.

If your ear was tough, then it has been on the plant too long.

Ava

Thank you AvaDGardner! This year I am thinking because we had a mild Winter and I put straw mulch around lots of plants, the earwigs went wild breeding. I found nests in the soil also. I set out the oil in the cups trick and I'm sure over weeks I caught more than 1,000! But the earwigs like to get in the corn every year. I did remove the mulch from every bed and even took to killing them with a child's rake because that was what was close by, lol.

When using the Sluggo Plus do I put it on the ground to get them before they go up the plant? While typing this I think I remember someone saying to put vegetable oil where the silk is. Not sure if that is really a good idea or not and it would have to be after pollenation I would think.

I'm sure you are right about the corn being on the plant too long. I think that is my problem every year, not catching it at the right time. I did plant 4 squares three weeks before the rest of the bed so maybe the others I can catch at the right time.
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