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When can corn be harvested?

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When can corn be harvested?

Post  dac_cincy on 7/22/2010, 8:44 pm

My corn has tassles that are browning up, but the ears stll looks smaller. I peaked in one of the ears and the kernels seem underdevelopled, so I think the corn still needs some time?

thanks,
Deb

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Re: When can corn be harvested?

Post  Megan on 8/7/2010, 9:04 am

I'm trying to figure out that one, too. A couple weeks back I took a couple of ears and they were regrettably and mouth-puckeringly NOT ripe. It was a sad loss because I don't have all that much corn growing, but there are at least a few more ears in there!
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Re: When can corn be harvested?

Post  dac_cincy on 8/18/2010, 9:11 pm

I ended up harvesting on 08Aug2010. Friends who are real farmers- beef cattle, corn, hens, pigs, etc, were over. from the 128 seeds planted, I got 6 ears of corn. It was delicious. John indicated that the low yeild was due to lack of nitrogen in the soil through the growing season. Apparently corn needs way more nitrogen inorder to produce. He suggested chicken manure, but that is not an option, so I will be looking at bonemeal prices over the winter. I am going to give corn another year, but I am going to move down to only 1 4x4 square- I would like the other square for other things like squash and pumpkins.


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Re: When can corn be harvested?

Post  Chopper on 8/18/2010, 9:31 pm

Wow. Not much of a yield. I have 12 squares planted and have been eating corn every day for two weeks. And had family over and served corn then. Best corn crop EVER. I did have the beans growing with the corn so they may have added nitrogen and I used fish emulsion (harkens me back to the bass-o-matic) every week or two weeks.

Since bugs ate my silks off at the ends I had to peak inside but if it showed all brown silks and the end, I picked it. I have not had a problem with too green. Some have been small but most were pretty well filled out and this year - NO CORN EARWORMS - which does nothing for my appetite.

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Re: When can corn be harvested?

Post  ander217 on 8/19/2010, 8:17 am

@dac_cincy wrote: Apparently corn needs way more nitrogen inorder to produce. He suggested chicken manure, but that is not an option, so I will be looking at bonemeal prices over the winter.

Bone meal is usually used as a source of phosphorus. If you need high nitrogen, blood meal might be a better choice for your organic mix.

This was a very bad year for corn in our area. High heat and drought caused many local farmers to plow under their entire fields and even the irrigated fields did not do well. High heat basically cooked the pollen in the tassels on top before it could reach the ear silks. The heat coupled with high humidity and drought allowed aflatoxin, a carcinogen, to run rampant in the area and affected corn had to be destroyed. (See this link for a photo.)

http://kentagextension.blogspot.com/2007/08/aspirgillus-fungus-that-produces.html

We grew our corn in raised beds with plenty of water and nitrogen. Although our plants grew well, the harvest was poor. It was all a matter of timing. If this is your first year at growing corn, don't be too discouraged. Next year might be much better.
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Re: When can corn be harvested?

Post  Megan on 8/19/2010, 6:35 pm

My corn grew beautifully, but the ears never seemed to fill out. I'm really disappointed about that. I have a couple ears left, trying to leave them go a bit longer.
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Corn

Post  ander217 on 8/20/2010, 7:20 am

@Megan wrote:My corn grew beautifully, but the ears never seemed to fill out. I'm really disappointed about that. I have a couple ears left, trying to leave them go a bit longer.

If your ears didn't fill it must be a problem with pollination. Probably the heat wave caused it. Did you water every day during pollen shed? Or you may have gotten a good pollen shed from the tassles to the silks, but the silks may not have elongated all the way from the end of the ear in order to catch the pollen that drops. Heat or drought stress can interfere with silk elongation, too.

When you think your ears are ready to pick, (the ends of the silks should look dark and dry and the ear should look and feel full) pull back the shucks on a small area and look at the kernels. If they look full, pinch one with your fingernail. The liquid should be milky, not clear. Once the kernels are "in the milk" the ear is ready to harvest. If the ear is not ready, pull the shucks back up over the end of the ear and check again in a couple of days. Once the kernels reach full size, the milk stage only lasts a few days before the corn gets too hard.

Our first corn crop didn't do well at all, so we planted a late crop. It is just now tasseling and setting ears, and guess what the weather is doing? Another long heat wave. This is just not a good corn year for us.
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Re: When can corn be harvested?

Post  Megan on 8/20/2010, 7:02 pm

@ander217 wrote:
@Megan wrote:My corn grew beautifully, but the ears never seemed to fill out. I'm really disappointed about that. I have a couple ears left, trying to leave them go a bit longer.

If your ears didn't fill it must be a problem with pollination. Probably the heat wave caused it. Did you water every day during pollen shed? Or you may have gotten a good pollen shed from the tassles to the silks, but the silks may not have elongated all the way from the end of the ear in order to catch the pollen that drops. Heat or drought stress can interfere with silk elongation, too.

I watered every day, or more often. The silks grew out, and later on turned dark. The kernels just aren't filling out... so sad. Of the two I picked already, one was completely underdeveloped, the other one had a spattering of small but delicious kernels scattered among undeveloped ones. It is open-pollinated corn and I have maybe 8 stalks growing in very close proximity. Don't know what I did wrong. Sad
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Re: When can corn be harvested?

Post  Chopper on 8/20/2010, 8:15 pm

Ander217: are you saying that heat can compromise pollination or that watering can wash off pollen and disrupt pollination?

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Re: When can corn be harvested?

Post  extremesoccermom on 8/21/2010, 10:50 pm

Mine did great until a wicked storm came through and flatened most of my corn. Before that we got 6 really nice ears which we had as corn on the cob for dinner. I tried to prop up what I had left but we then had a heat wave of over 100 for a week. This is what I ended up with. (I made corn chowder from this batch).

Next year I plan on planting more and building something that will hold them up in the event of another summer storm.

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pollination problems

Post  ander217 on 8/21/2010, 11:07 pm

Chopper, sorry I didn't make myself clear. High heat can cook the pollen in the corn tassels. If the heat lasts only a day or two it won't hurt because new pollen is released over a period of a couple of weeks or so. However, long heat waves such as we've had this summer will greatly reduce the amount of pollen that survives.

My corn was tasseling during a period when daily heat index readings were in excess of 110 degrees. I googled to see if anything could overcome this, and several sites suggested that daily watering, especially in the morning, could help reduce the stress on the plant enough that more pollen survives. It didn't say whether it was due to lowering the temperature in the morning when most of the pollen is produced, or whether it just reduced the overall stress on the plant. But some said watering in the morning would help. Other sites said if the temps went too high, it didn't matter and nothing would help. The experts seem to be divided on how much effect watering has on the pollen issue, but most agreed that drought stress will worsen the effects of heat stress. Those are two different issues, but both can affect pollination. (That's why I wondered if Megan had watered daily. If she did and she still didn't get good ear fill, then it seems to shoot down those who say daily watering will help.)

The tassel does not shed pollen if it is wet, so in any case I wouldn't do any overhead watering in the morning when most of the pollen is shed. You aren't likely to wash pollen away, it just won't drop until it dries later in the day when temperatures are higher.

The other problem which could affect the filling of corn ears is silk elongation and timing. Every potential corn kernel produces a silk that must be pollinated for that kernel to grow on the cob. The silks must grow out the end of the ears at the right time for the pollen to fall on them. Silks are produced from the bottom of the ear first and must grow the longest. Sometimes growing conditions can disrupt the growth of the silks causing the silks to emerge after the tassels after finished producing pollen.

I think silk elongation and timing was another factor in my own corn failure this year. My corn tasseled several days before the silks emerged, thus reducing the number of days available for the silks to catch whatever pollen might have survived the heat. We were hit with a double whammy this year, all due in my opinion to the weather.

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Re: When can corn be harvested?

Post  Megan on 8/22/2010, 7:18 am

@ander217 wrote:Silks are produced from the bottom of the ear first and must grow the longest. Sometimes growing conditions can disrupt the growth of the silks causing the silks to emerge after the tassels after finished producing pollen.

I think silk elongation and timing was another factor in my own corn failure this year. My corn tasseled several days before the silks emerged, thus reducing the number of days available for the silks to catch whatever pollen might have survived the heat. We were hit with a double whammy this year, all due in my opinion to the weather.

Ah hah. My tassels were out well before the silks.
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