Irish Gardeners Forum Home
 FAQFAQ   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 
Custom Search
   
Weather Report /
Moon Phase for Ireland

Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Vegetable growing, fruit and allotments in Ireland

Can I help pollination of sweetcorn


 
Most Recent Posts funny
Last post: Sue Deacon
Skimmia seed wanted
Last post: Brendankearns
At last! A garden joke. (except maybe it's not a joke!)
Last post: Ado 2
2016 Vegetable quizz.
Last post: Greengage
 
Visit TheGardenShop.ie
Author Message
slugsaway
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
Rank attained: Hazel Tree


Joined: 20 Apr 2010
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:25 pm    Post subject: Can I help pollination of sweetcorn Reply with quote

I am attempting to grow sweetcorn at the moment and nearly all my plants have male flowers at the moment. However they all seem to be at different stages of growth. Only 2 plants have developed the female tassels yet, although I can see a few more starting to develop. I'm worried that by the time the female flowers all develop there will be no male flowers left to provide the pollen... Or does it simply drop from the flower on the same plant in which case nature should ensure that both flowers are ready at the same time? I'm very confused with all this!!!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
James Kilkelly
Rank: Site Admin


Joined: 30 May 2006
Posts: 2142
Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should be ok slugsaway, as I reckon it's a case of sit and wait for you.
Are they planted in rows or in blocks?
To ensure effective wind pollination of the female flowers I suggest to all growers that they grow their sweet corn in roughly square or rectangular blocks rather than in rows or drills.


Need more materials?


Irish home delivery.

Need more materials?


UK home delivery.

Need more materials?


US home delivery.



- Sweetcorn seed bargains-
CLICK HERE.





-Sweetcorn seed bargains-
CLICK HERE.





- Sweetcorn seed bargains-
CLICK HERE.




_________________
Gardening books.

http://www.allotments.ie/ Ireland's allotments.
On Twitter... http://twitter.com/Allotments

Garden Consultation & Design.

Try my Garden Design home study course!
.
.


Last edited by James Kilkelly on Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
slugsaway
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
Rank attained: Hazel Tree


Joined: 20 Apr 2010
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They're in kinda blocks... I didn't have a huge area for them so I made 8 mounds in 2 rows side by side (4 per row like this :::Smile each mound is about a meter square and has 3-4 corn plants, french runners and some butternut squash... I'm a bit worried that I've planted everything too close together as its like a jungle! Don't know how I'm going to harvest the runner beans as I don't know how I'll find them amongst all the foliage, but that's another days work! Everything looks very strong and healthy tho and its really the corn I'm looking forward to... the kids LOVE the stuff and I'd love to treat them to some home grown
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
michael brenock
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 12 Aug 2008
Posts: 1275
Location: cork

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shake the plants around mid-day when they are in flower to ensure the pollen drops onto the flower tassle below. it is up to the weather after that. There could be a conflict between the beans and the corn as the beans will probably use the corn as a means of support. good lesson.
michael brenock horticultural advisor (retired)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
PeterEnglish
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree


Joined: 09 May 2010
Posts: 50
Location: Meath

PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A wise gardening old-timer in England once warned me, "Less is always more".

Unfortunately, I'm still fighting the habit of thinking, "Well, I could just squeeze in a quick row of radishes. It's only the one row; one more won't hurt. It's not as if I couldn't stop planting things if I really wanted to." Slugsaway, you sound like you also suffer from this condition.

I've only achieved successful sweetcorn once out of three attempts, growing the corn in a block of twelve hills, three plants to each hill. My problems have been caused by the good old unpredictable Irish weather, assisted by the catch-crops I've tried to grow between the corn in my addiction to maximising space. Too much rain, too much foliage, too much humidity and too little air circulation; the corn pollinates nicely with the aid of an occasional shake, but then the little black patches start to appear...

I don't know if sacrificing a few beans and squashes might help this year's corn, but when you try again (as I know you will - my kids adore sweetcorn too), I'd recommend a designated "sweetcorn only" area.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
michael brenock
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 12 Aug 2008
Posts: 1275
Location: cork

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

where do the black patches appear? if the patches are on the cob then that is a sign of non pollination. Try growing a different variety, one suitable for cooler climates. Start off the seed inside and grow in individual pot before planting out. Interplanting between the rows is seldom a good idea as there is competition for light and for plant food. Covered in areas like that are excellent breeding grounds for slugs.
michael brenock horticultural advisor (retired)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
slugsaway
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
Rank attained: Hazel Tree


Joined: 20 Apr 2010
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now I'm confused!!! When I had decided to give sweetcorn a try I did a bit of research on the net and loadsa sites were saying to grow the beans sweetcorn and squash together as they grew best this way... The 3 sisters, corn provides support for the beans, and the beans provide nitrogen for the corn. The squash helps keep the weeds down and provides cover at the base to keep the soil moist... I do think that I must have misinterpreted tho cause the area does resemble a jungle! I was down last night and most of the corn plants are now around 7ft high and all are fully flowered now. I can see loads of small beans forming so I can probably harvest them early next week , or even over the weekend. And some of the flowers have started to drop off the squash plants so I'm hoping they got pollinated. I have potatoes growing next to these and those plants are HUGE as well, adding to the jungle atmosphere! I've still more flowers developing on the squash plants, should I cut these back a bit now, will they keep spreading if I don't?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
PeterEnglish
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree


Joined: 09 May 2010
Posts: 50
Location: Meath

PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My black - and mouldy-mildewy looking - spots first appeared lower down on the main stalks and then spread upwards over a period of about three weeks.

Talking of internet "advice", there are several places out there that recommend interplanting your sweetcorn with sunflowers "to attract bees". I'd add one of those emoticon things, but I can't decide which one to choose! I'm all for attracting bees, but attracting them as sweetcorn-pollinators is pointless - I can only presume it's recommended as the plants might grow to similar heights and buttress each other. Logically, the "three sisters" ought to work together, but I'd guess they work better in a larger area, rather than a small back-garden like mine.

My only successful sweetcorn was achieved by bribing the kids to help:

"Wouldn't it be nice if we had enough to give some to Grandma and Grandad?"

The boys did loads of weeding that year!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
slugsaway
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
Rank attained: Hazel Tree


Joined: 20 Apr 2010
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL! My kids idea of weeding is not exactly conducive to growing excess to harvest size! Last weekend my 2yr old insisted on "I helping you mummy" and proceeded to pull several carrots and onions, don't think he managed one weed bless him! Still he did eat the onions and carrots that evening so all was not lost... don't think I'll let him weed that particular patch again tho! might let him loos on the cabbage bed instead, he'd never manage to pull one of them!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
PeterEnglish
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree


Joined: 09 May 2010
Posts: 50
Location: Meath

PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If your kids are anything like mine, weeding the cabbages won't be a problem - it's when the two-year old starts eating the caterpillars...

Incidentally, I got my kids growing Jersey Cabbage (aka Jersey Kale etc) a couple of years ago. It was great fun - it grows to two metres high! Try it next year!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Organicgrowingpains
Rank attained: Silver Birch Tree
Rank attained: Silver Birch Tree


Joined: 24 Aug 2008
Posts: 175
Location: Cork

PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read this thread the other night and checked our sweet corn which is growing great guns this year with three cobs on most of the plants but there are a couple of black spots on one plant lower down the stem? Confused
The tassels seem to be brown on most of them , when is the corn most likely to be ready to harvest, I peeled back one to test but it is still white inside.



007.JPG
 Description:
The sweetcorn bed, enclosed with netting to deter the rabbits! There are 12 plants in htis bed
 Filesize:  151.48 KB
 Viewed:  4109 Time(s)

007.JPG



006.JPG
 Description:
The cob size in relation to my hand, ignore the grotty nails I am not a celebrity gardner!
 Filesize:  130.67 KB
 Viewed:  4109 Time(s)

006.JPG



_________________
Always learning!
http://www.organicgrowingpains.blogspot.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
PeterEnglish
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree
Rank attained: Hawthorn Tree


Joined: 09 May 2010
Posts: 50
Location: Meath

PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Organicgrowingpains' black spots sound very similar to mine. I put mine down to overcrowding, too much rain, and lack of August sunshine, but still managed to harvest about 10 decent cobs that year, in early September. Let's face it, these plants are not native Irish, and "international" guidelines about harvesting when the tassels turn brown just don't apply over here.

From the photo, the cob appears to be fattening around the middle, but if our mutual black spots are an indication of poor pollination, as Michael suggests, then the cobs will remain weedy at the tips, no matter how long you give them. I'd wait another week or two in the hope of more sunshine, then dig a thumbnail into a niblet to check for a milky, white-ish juice.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Organicgrowingpains
Rank attained: Silver Birch Tree
Rank attained: Silver Birch Tree


Joined: 24 Aug 2008
Posts: 175
Location: Cork

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Peter, I have been told that sweetcorn is one of the few plants to take up to 5 months growing so early Sept would be our harvest time then, also to watch the birds as they know when it is ready !
_________________
Always learning!
http://www.organicgrowingpains.blogspot.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
slugsaway
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
Rank attained: Hazel Tree


Joined: 20 Apr 2010
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quick update... had the first of our sweetcorn last night and it tasted FABULOUS!!! There were only 2 cobs ready so I only got a taste as I let the kiddies have them... really looking forward to the rest of them now. Each plant has 3 cobs on average and I have about 27 plants!!! So really looking forward to this harvest... I hope that freezing some for later won't affect the taste too much..
As for the french beans, I have managed to get a good lot of them, but many got too big before I found them. I don't think I would plant them with the corn again despite what the native americans say! There is just too much foliage to search through.
I have a good few butternut squash fruits developing as well. That should be interesting as I wouldn't really cook with that much, just thought I'd try something different. The vines have gone a bit mad tho, should I be cutting away the ends of them now to stop them spreading further??

So to sum up.... All in all the 3 sisters garden was interesting, but I don't think I'd do it again...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Vegetable growing, fruit and allotments in Ireland All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You can attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group

Privacy Policy | Copyright © 2006 - 2016 IrishGardeners.com (part of GardenPlansIreland.com)