Monday, August 29, 2011

Where Corn is Not King

That would be my garden.  The last time I planted corn was about nine years ago in a tiny little plot in our city backyard, and all it produced was corn smut (a nasty, bulbous fungus that grows on the stalks).  So now that I have a huge garden, I had high hopes for a nice non-GMO corn crop and lots of golden, frozen kernels for the winter.

Alas, my hopes have been dashed by either heat or bugs or improper row spacing - I'm not sure which is the culprit.  I have about six rows of corn, and most of the ears look something like this:

Kind of like a mouthful of missing teeth, ya know?
Besides sparsely formed kernels, many of the ears have kernels that are not fully formed at all, yet the silk (brownish tuft on the top of the ear) has dried, indicating it's ready to pick.  From what I've read, this can be due to poor pollination, which can be due to terribly hot weather (had lots this summer), or insects, or poor row spacing.  Basically, the tassels (stuff on tops of the stalks) pollinate the silk below, which run to the kernels.  And every kernel must be pollinated.  Though the poor development of my corn may be due to a number of factors, I'd love to be able to pinpoint the main one.

Next year, I plan to plant a different variety, plant more rows, and try to be more proactive in controlling the insects.  And lest I sound too morose, the rest of my garden fared better.  Report coming soon!

I'm linking up with Homestead Revival's Barn Hop; click below to visit!

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