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Enough Corn for Proper Pollination  RSS feed

 
Brandon Greer
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Location: 1 Hour Northeast Of Dallas
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Due to limited space I was only able to plant corn as shown in the attached image. The yellow circles are corn. Green will be squash. How likely am I to experience poor results due to not planting enough corn?

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[Thumbnail for 3-Sisters-Three-Sisters.png]
 
Meryt Helmer
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Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
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when I was a child my dad always planted his corn this way and every plant had at least 1 ear.
 
Thomas Partridge
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If you plant that many plants, you will get corn but you will not want to save seeds. Corn is one of the few plants I grow in my garden where I actually have to grow more than I need just to have good seeds for next year. From what I have read, you need to take samples from at least 100 different ears that were pollinated by at least 200 mature plants to have good genetic viability which I believe is what you are referring to. Here is a link for more details: Corn Inbreeding Depression.

As for how necessary the 200 plants and 100 samples is, I can't say from experience and would love to see someone who saves corn seeds weigh in on how big of a deal inbreeding depression is. Something in me thinks maybe it is a myth created by big ag . . .
 
Michael Cox
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Carol Deppe (Of "Breed your own vegetable varieties" fame) talks at length about inbreeding depression, and she actively breeds her own varieties of corn and saves seed.

From her books I understand that even one generation of inbreeding in corn can make a considerable hit on genetic diversity and hence the vigour of the overall crop. Also, it is worth realising that each kernel is fertilised by a different pollen grain. With inadequate pollination you are likely to get cobs that are only partially pollinated and hence look misshapen and uneven. You should still get cobs - but the may be less appealing for the table.

 
Brandon Greer
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Charles Kleff wrote:If you plant that many plants, you will get corn but you will not want to save seeds. Corn is one of the few plants I grow in my garden where I actually have to grow more than I need just to have good seeds for next year. From what I have read, you need to take samples from at least 100 different ears that were pollinated by at least 200 mature plants to have good genetic viability which I believe is what you are referring to. Here is a link for more details: Corn Inbreeding Depression.

As for how necessary the 200 plants and 100 samples is, I can't say from experience and would love to see someone who saves corn seeds weigh in on how big of a deal inbreeding depression is. Something in me thinks maybe it is a myth created by big ag . . .


I was actually just referring to the production of edible corn but only because i had no idea that what you mention was an issue. That is quite enlightening indeed. Thanks for pointing it and thanks for the link!
 
Brandon Greer
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Michael Cox wrote:Carol Deppe (Of "Breed your own vegetable varieties" fame) talks at length about inbreeding depression, and she actively breeds her own varieties of corn and saves seed.

From her books I understand that even one generation of inbreeding in corn can make a considerable hit on genetic diversity and hence the vigour of the overall crop. Also, it is worth realising that each kernel is fertilised by a different pollen grain. With inadequate pollination you are likely to get cobs that are only partially pollinated and hence look misshapen and uneven. You should still get cobs - but the may be less appealing for the table.



This is good stuff. I had no idea! Thanks for the info!
 
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