The Q&A Archives: Greenhouse Sweet Corn

Question: I have been trying to grow sweet corn in my greenhouse. It grows pretty well but the ears are short and poorly pollinated. I've been told that sweet corn needs 'real' darkness (we don't get that up here in the summer!) to produce corn. Is this true? Is there a variety that would produce in our situation? Last year I shook the plants to help with the pollination but didn't see a significant improvement in production. Thank you.

Answer: I think your problem is insufficient pollination. I'm not aware of any "photoperiod" requirements for corn, so I don't think that's the problem. However corn is usually planted in large blocks, so that the wind can freely distribute pollen all around. (Often the corn on the outer rows is small because of poor pollination.) So I think you need to be extra diligent to pollinate the corn. Wait until the tassls look loose and open. Shake the pollen into a paper bag, then sprinkle a little on the silks of each developing ear. That should do it!

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