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Speaking of Corn...

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Speaking of Corn...

Post  middlemamma on 10/4/2010, 4:41 pm

Am I the only one that gets confused when looking at a seed catalog?

I wanted to try a few different kinds, in the same year. Some catalogs say you can, others say you cant due to cross polination? I get really confused. Anyone able to clear this confusion up for me? Seems the hybrid s/e kinds don't need isolation? but hybrid sh2 variations do need to be isolated? How do you tell if the catalog you are looking at doesnt say?

I'd like to try 3 different kinds this spring in an effort not to put all my eggs in one basket so to speak...but picking which seeds to buy has me stumped. Plus I don't have a long season here...

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Re: Speaking of Corn...

Post  Odd Duck on 10/4/2010, 5:23 pm

If you want to save some of your corn (or most plants for that matter) for seed to plant next year, then it needs to be isolated or it can cross pollinate between varieties. If you're just eating the corn, I don't think it matters.

There are a few things that self-pollinate (tomatoes, for instance) so well, that cross-pollination is less risk, but if growing them for seed, they still recommend you isolate them from other plants of the same species.

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Re: Speaking of Corn...

Post  Chopper on 10/4/2010, 5:29 pm

I believe that with corn, let's say you have a yellow variety and a white variety. If they cross pollinate while growing then you may have a mix of white and yellow kernels in one ear. Again, so what. As long as you are not saving seed, it ultimately isn't a big deal. But you still may get mixed ears. The answer would be to sow smaller beds of them not too close to each other, but wind being what it is, they still might cross.

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Re: Speaking of Corn...

Post  middlemamma on 10/4/2010, 5:30 pm

SERIOUSLY??? That's it?

OMG(oodness...)

I am so writing that Gardening for Imbeciles book......Sigh.

I have been agonizing over these stupid catalogs...googling like a crazy woman trying to figure this mess out..couldn't find anything...grrr...wish I would have posted sooner..but I post so many dumb questions I was really trying to figure this one out on my own.

THANK YOU Odd Duck and Chopper for ending my misery.

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Re: Speaking of Corn...

Post  Megan on 10/4/2010, 5:41 pm

Jennie, the same thing goes for carrots and dill and Queen's Anne lace.

No questions are dumb! Very Happy

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Re: Speaking of Corn...

Post  boffer on 10/4/2010, 6:04 pm

I looked into the same thing several years ago, and the recommendations were to keep different corns apart by 300-600 feet. I can't feasibly do that even on five acres. It means everyone in town could have their corn pollinated by all their neighbors' corn. As I recall, the worst case scenario was that the extra sweet varieties wouldn't be as sweet if cross-pollinated.

The other option is to have them reach the pollination stage several weeks apart. I found a long season variety that I like that I have stuck with for several years. Next year I'm going to try a short season variety too, and it will be planted right next to my long.

This is a link posted in another thread. I put in the zip code for Post Falls, and you have a warmer growing season than I do!

http://www.weather.com/outlook/agriculture/growing-degree-days/

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Re: Speaking of Corn...

Post  Odd Duck on 10/4/2010, 6:48 pm

I am not a corn expert, but in nearly all plants the fruit (or seed) is determined by the genetics of the plant that produced it, not the plant the fertilized it. The produce from a seed that was cross pollinated will bear traits of both parents.

Now, I don't know how the genetics of the super-sweet corns are expressed, but as far as I know it doesn't change from standard genetic inheritance. Traits of the actual produce are nearly 100% determined by the plant the bears the produce, not by the pollinator plant. The pollinator plants traits are only expressed by the OFFSPRING of the plant grown from cross-pollinated seed. In other words, if you have a yellow corn strain growing next to a white corn strain, they will each produce what the seed packet says. But any "children" they have would have potential to be mixed colors.

Anybody know of an actual scientific article that says otherwise, or is it all just anecdotal, web-type rumor that says the corn won't be as sweet? It seems strange to me that corn would be so different than standard Mendalian (sp?) genetics, but I've heard of stranger things happening.

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Re: Speaking of Corn...

Post  Megan on 10/4/2010, 7:01 pm

Mendelian Very Happy

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Re: Speaking of Corn...

Post  camprn on 10/4/2010, 7:21 pm

@middlemamma wrote:I am so writing that Gardening for Imbeciles book......Sigh.
I think this is a brilliant idea!

@middlemamma wrote:I have been agonizing over these stupid catalogs...googling like a crazy woman trying to figure this mess out..couldn't find anything...grrr...wish I would have posted sooner..but I post so many dumb questions I was really trying to figure this one out on my own.
I think you ask very good questions, in fact it shows that you are actually going through the process of thinking and you have great questions!

camprn

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Re: Speaking of Corn...

Post  boffer on 10/4/2010, 7:27 pm

@odd duck wrote:Anybody know of an actual scientific article that says otherwise...
I'll plead ignorant about the science. But, from page 26 of the Territorial Seed Co. catalog:

  • For best results isolate Tablesweet corn from any other corn.
  • For best results isolate Triplesweet corn from any other corn.
  • To grow great Supersweet corn, you must isolate it by time or distance from any other corn.


On page 25, one of the selling points for SE/se is
No isolation is required from other normal types of sweet corn, making SE/se corn very popular.

A seed catalog is not a scientific article, but is it enough to pique your interest?! Wink

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Re: Speaking of Corn...

Post  middlemamma on 10/4/2010, 8:01 pm

Thanks to everyone for their input....and thanks for not thinking my questions are dumb!

Boff...I was AMAZED when I went to that site mentioned earlier in another post and figured out what my GDD days on average are, and what they were this "not normal year". See below!

Growing Degree Days (GDD) for Post Falls, ID
Apr. 1 - Sep. 30
2010 = 1673.5 GDD
Average** = 1979.0 GDD

HOLY COW EH? Im excited about getting closer to that 1979 figure Spring 2011.

Ok so I am excited about corn now....I was going to do what you suggest Boffer and plant kinds that "mature" at different times. I really want to try 3.

And all those quotes from Territorail Seed is EXACTLY what had me so confused. I thought you wouldnt get any corn if they were not isolated.

Thanks again all!!

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crosspollination

Post  ander217 on 10/4/2010, 8:02 pm

@Odd Duck wrote:Anybody know of an actual scientific article that says otherwise, or is it all just anecdotal, web-type rumor that says the corn won't be as sweet? It seems strange to me that corn would be so different than standard Mendalian (sp?) genetics, but I've heard of stranger things happening.

Page two of this article explains it pretty well.

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/HO-98.pdf

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Re: Speaking of Corn...

Post  Chopper on 10/4/2010, 8:10 pm

OK, so the main thing is all sweet corn or all of the more starchy corn to avoid getting what you don't want. But still, a minor inconvenience.

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Re: Speaking of Corn...

Post  boffer on 10/4/2010, 8:18 pm

@ander217 wrote:Page two of this article explains it pretty well. http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/HO-98.pdf

Thanks Ander, it works for my un-scientific mind too.

Also, from the same article:

After picking, use the sweet corn immediately for fresh
eating, canning, or freezing. At high temperatures, the
sugar in sweet corn is quickly converted to starch, giving
it a bland taste. Although many new cultivars have
extended storage quality, most older cultivars will lose
50% of their flavor within 12 hours of picking if left
unrefrigerated. If sweet corn must be stored before use,
keep the temperature as close to 32°F as possible.

I keep re-iterating this for folks who haven't had the pleasure of a 'fresh' ear of corn: Put on the pot of water to boil, then go pick the corn. Throw the corn into the boiling water for 2 minutes max to get it hot-not to cook it.

Of course, that was the correct wisdom 40+ years ago. The advantage of the new sweeter hybrids is that they will hold their sweetness and flavor for a couple of days after harvest. But, I read recently that the super duper sweeter varieties begin to sacrifice flavor and tenderness for more sweetness. YMMV

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Re: Speaking of Corn...

Post  Megan on 10/4/2010, 9:00 pm

@boffer wrote:
I keep re-iterating this for folks who haven't had the pleasure of a 'fresh' ear of corn: Put on the pot of water to boil, then go pick the corn. Throw the corn into the boiling water for 2 minutes max to get it hot-not to cook it.

Of course, that was the correct wisdom 40+ years ago. The advantage of the new sweeter hybrids is that they will hold their sweetness and flavor for a couple of days after harvest. But, I read recently that the super duper sweeter varieties begin to sacrifice flavor and tenderness for more sweetness. YMMV


Boffer, that was EXACTLY what we did when I was growing up. Except we kids tried to run while we were shucking the corn. Smile

My favorite way more recently (with the sweeter corns) is to not boil them at all. I get a cast iron fry pan really hot, add some extra-virgin olive oil and unsalted butter, toss the ears in with a little salt, pepper and ground cumin, and jounce it all around until it gets some color.

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Re: Speaking of Corn...

Post  Chopper on 10/4/2010, 9:17 pm

The best treat is to shuck and eat the sweet corn raw in the garden. That is some sweet!

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Re: Speaking of Corn...

Post  Odd Duck on 10/7/2010, 10:32 am

@ander217 wrote:
@Odd Duck wrote:Anybody know of an actual scientific article that says otherwise, or is it all just anecdotal, web-type rumor that says the corn won't be as sweet? It seems strange to me that corn would be so different than standard Mendalian (sp?) genetics, but I've heard of stranger things happening.

Page two of this article explains it pretty well.

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/HO-98.pdf

Excellent article, thanks so much! I hope you'll all pardon my sometimes overly scientific mind. Embarassed

And I couldn't agree more with picking and heating the corn at the last possible second. Straight out the garden is the best possible flavor. It makes me wish for more garden space. Hmmm, that seems to be the most common theme around here!

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Re: Speaking of Corn...

Post  Old Hippie on 10/7/2010, 11:14 am

@middlemamma wrote:

HOLY COW EH?

Middlemamma, do I detect some "Canuck" in you or have you been hanging out with some? I thought only us Canadians were guilty of saying the "eh" word. Laughing

And I also think you ask great questions. There is no such thing as a dumb question. Not everyone is at the same level of knowledge or expertise on any subject. That is why these forums are so wonderful and so much fun. I find the seed catalogues terribly confusing at times and just end up choosing my seeds by growing season length and the pretty pictures. Not very scientific at all!!!!!!

GK

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Re: Speaking of Corn...

Post  middlemamma on 10/7/2010, 11:29 am

LOL GK! Yea I like the pretty pictures too!

No...no Canadian here.. Sad But I do love language...which may be hard to tell sometimes by my awful grammar. I love the way other dilects sound. As a child I would play with my dolls and such mimicing a mother with a southern accent...or even walk around talking "Spanish" which was actually gibberish etc...

and those voices in my head have always spoke with an accent! Shhhh...don't tell anyone! Smile

I love the "eh?" expression. The kids have a movie, Brother Bear I think? By Disney...it has these two moose brothers in it and they are "Canadian" and they "eh" each other through the whole movie and they are hilarious...it just kinda stuck after watching it 500 x when it first came out on DVD.

Smile Thanks for noticing...and thanks for the forgiveness for all my questions!!


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Re: Speaking of Corn...

Post  Old Hippie on 10/7/2010, 10:40 pm

@middlemamma wrote:

and those voices in my head have always spoke with an accent! Shhhh...don't tell anyone! Smile


Yours too?!?!?! I thought it was just me! I don't mind the accents but I really hate it when they don't speak English. Wink

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Speaking of corn.....

Post  trustinhart on 10/8/2010, 9:48 pm

Old Hippie and middlemamma!!!! You guys are too funny and tooooo right!

Yep, the non-english speaking ones really aggravate me, that just gives me one more thing to worry about.

Love you guys!!! BIG hug

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Re: Speaking of Corn...

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