• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

corn

 
                    
Posts: 0
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Does anyone have experience growing corn?  I wonder about cross pollination between different types of corn.  I want to grow Silver Queen and my neighbor wants to grow Peaches n Cream.  We both want to save seeds.  My Silver Queen is 2nd generation saved kernel so I'd like to keep it clean.  What is the chance of cross pollination if there is a thicket of trees separating our gardens?  Can we plant two types of corn and stagger the flowering times to prevent cross pollination within the same space (not separated by the thicket)? 

Thanks for any corny information!
 
Jonathan Byron
Posts: 225
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Not only can they cross pollinate, but corn is somewhat unusual in that the color of the kernels is affected by the genetics from the pollen - you won't have to wait until the seeds germinate to see that there was cross-pollination if the two varieties have different colors. 

Increasing the distance or staggering the planting are two strategies to prevent cross pollination. Putting a windbreak might help a little, but may not help at all - the air with pollen will still move through it, just a bit slower.  The safe distance depends on how many plants there are and how much pollen is in the air ... I have heard rules of thumb, but not sure how accurate they are.
 
                    
Posts: 0
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you!
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
how much corn are we talking about? how far away? how many other people near by grow corn.
 
                    
Posts: 0
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My neighbors plot is about 200-300 yards over from mine.  They'll have a couple hundred stalks in a few rows, I estimate.  I will have substantially less, 25-30 stalks.  We are separated by a 60 foot thicket (and I mean THICK) of wild plum trees, chokecherry, elm, juniper, cedar, and cottonwood trees and underbrush the length of the properties.  We have figured out the maturing times of the Silver Queen and Peaches n Cream types and are staggering planting times according to that.  I don't want a mixed type, I just want the Silver Queen in all its glory.  Will staggering the planting times be enough to avoid cross pollination?
 
John Polk
master steward
Pie
Posts: 8018
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
269
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Corn is wind pollinated.  Suzanne Ashworth, in "Seed to Seed" recommends 2 mile separation, but with 60 feet of dense growth in between, I doubt much pollen would get through.  As far as timing the plantings goes, you should aim to have the early variety to have completed its pollination period (the tassels are ALL brown and dry) before the later variety begins to set silks.  That can be difficult to accomplish without knowing what Mother Nature is going to deal out weather wise.  Between the distance and timing, hopefully you can be successful, but do NOT save any seed from 'off-type' ears.

Since corn is particularly prone to inbreeding depression, she also suggests a minimum of 200 plants for seed collection.  Corn also has much better pollination if planted in blocks vs. rows.  If your neighbor is planting 3 rows of 66 plants each, he will likely only have 10% of the pollination he would have had with 14 rows of 14 plants each.

Good luck, and if I may suggest, put the pot of water on to boil before you go out to pick your corn for dinner, as the sugars begin to turn to starch the moment the ear is picked.
 
                    
Posts: 0
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow - good info!  Thanks so much!
 
James Stark
Posts: 79
Location: Manitoba Canada
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Awesome info John!

One thing to add, just for the sake of interest: Try eating your corn for lunch instead of dinner, or even for breakfast! The earlier in the day the corn is picked, the sweeter it is. The difference between morning picked and afternoon picked is actually quite noticeable. And like John said, be ready to cook it as soon as it's picked.
My father in law told me about this, and so as an experiment, I picked some corn first thing in the morning and ate a couple ears with breakfast, then at around 2 pm picked some more, and let it sit in the fridge until dinner time. The corn picked later, and left out for a few hours seemed so bland after the super sweet morning corn that I'll never eat corn that wasn't picked minutes before the pot again!! (The morning/afternoon part doesn't make as big a difference as cooking immediately, but it sure does make a nice treat along side a bowl of fresh fruit and a piece of toast for breakfast)

Since we're on the subject of corn, I too have a question. Last year, I discovered that my corn was so good raw that I prefered it that way. I'd tried this before, but found it to be too grassy tasying. Does anyone else prefer their sweet corn raw?
 
                    
Posts: 0
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I like mine roasted in the husk.  I am also going to husk and freeze some this year and make chicos. 
 
John Polk
master steward
Pie
Posts: 8018
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
269
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The first time I ever tried it raw was at a farmer's market.  We were looking at the corn, and the farmer took an ear cut it into 4 pieces, and gave each of us one to try.  It was so good that we bought some to take home for dinner.  Getting ready for dinner, I looked in the fridge and couldn't find it.  Then I saw the four eaten cobs in the trash can...the two kids had eaten them all!

As far as roasted in the husk, YUMM!  I like to mix some chicken bullion powder (instead of salt) and red chili powder into some softened butter.  Spread it on the kernels, then pull the husks back over it and toss on the BBQ (you may need to wrap in aluminum foil to hold it all together).  Mmm, mmm good!
 
Ed Waters
Posts: 102
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Recommend that you get the book The Resilient Gardener by Carol Deppe who goes into incredible detail about how to grow corn if you want to save seed.  We are growing Abenaki Calais Flint 88 days, and Nothstine Dent 100 days.  John gives good advice, box the corn planting, and eat the outside of the box and save the seed from inside the box.  You should be able to tell if the corn has cross-pollinated.  Carol says at least a mile, my neighbor who has been growing organically for forever says 12 miles.  GMO row cropped corn is usually way over 100 days.  Carol lists some varieties that it's OK if they cross pollinate, but they are very hard to find.

We make alot of corn mush.  Grind a cup of dent corn and then wisk it into 3 cups of boiling water, with salt, and whatever herbs you feel like throwing in there.  You can either eat it then, or put in a pan about an inch or two deep and leave it in the fridge overnight.  Fry it up with your eggs in the morning.  Yummy
 
                                
Posts: 41
Location: Missouri
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
John Polk wrote:
The first time I ever tried it raw was at a farmer's market.  We were looking at the corn, and the farmer took an ear cut it into 4 pieces, and gave each of us one to try.  It was so good that we bought some to take home for dinner.  Getting ready for dinner, I looked in the fridge and couldn't find it.  Then I saw the four eaten cobs in the trash can...the two kids had eaten them all!

As far as roasted in the husk, YUMM!  I like to mix some chicken bullion powder (instead of salt) and red chili powder into some softened butter.  Spread it on the kernels, then pull the husks back over it and toss on the BBQ (you may need to wrap in aluminum foil to hold it all together).  Mmm, mmm good!



That sounds delicious!  Imma try that this year.
 
kent smith
Posts: 211
Location: Pennsylvania
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
not to sound too negitive but: some statistics suggest that it is almost impossible to find none GMO contaiminated corn it the midwestern states of the USA and most likely most of north and central america do to the wind pollenation of corn. This is for both sweet corn and field corn. This unfortunate situation is due to companies like monsanto.
kent
 
                    
Posts: 0
 
John Polk
master steward
Pie
Posts: 8018
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
269
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
80% of all corn grown in the US is GMO
80% of all soy  grown in the US is GMO
80% of all canola (rapeseed) grown in North America is GMO

90% of all canola grown in the US is grown in North Dakota, and last year, they did some research on "wild" rapeseed in North Dakota...the stuff growing along highways, in meadows...even a 2 hour drive from the nearest farm...guess what they found?  That also was now 80% contaminated with GMO genes!  Can you guess what is in that bag of livestock feed you buy for your critters?

On a lighter note, since we just listened to crickets, how about Kookaburras(the laughing birds of New Guinea)?:
http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/nature/daceloNovaguineae.mp3
 
Ed Waters
Posts: 102
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think its even worse than that.  There were some studies done on maize grown in the mountains of Peru, and there were traces of GMO in those as well.
 
John Polk
master steward
Pie
Posts: 8018
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
269
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It appears that Roy Bean, "the Hanging Judge" was born a century too early!
 
Willy Kerlang
Posts: 106
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is why I think it's insane Monsanto tries to sue farmers whose corn ends up being pollinated by their abominations.  It's the farmers who should be suing Monsanto for tampering with a natural, ancient practice and effectively ruining it. 
 
Raven Sutherland
Posts: 159
Location: MAINE
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
it's amazing to me how much corn has been modified over time (since the Aztec's)
and what it started out as  ....closer to a grain like wheat originally.

if you do multiple plantings two weeks apart you can miss some of the accidental
pollination coming from your neighbors crop if he plants all his corn at one time.
 
Sherri Lynn
Posts: 75
Location: Piedmont, NC
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I thought silver queen was a hybrid and would not grow true from saving the seed?
 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic