The Q&A Archives: Corn

Question: Some years when I plant sweet corn, I get beautiful green plants, but essentially no ears. Why?

Answer: Let's start with culture. Corn needs a long season to mature so when you purchase seed, make sure you look for the days to maturity requirement of the variety. Corn also needs a light soil so the roots can penetrate easily, to draw up moisture and nutrients. If your soil is too dry, lacking in potassium, or is full of nematodes, the corn plants will suffer. Also, if you over-fertilize with nitrogen without balancing the other nutrients you might get leaf growth at the expense of ear formation.<br><br>Corn is wind-pollinated so be sure to plant your corn in blocks rather than in long single rows so the pollen can fall on the silks. You can try hand pollinating by collecting the pollen (shake the stalks and collect the yellow dust-like particles then dip the ends of the silks in the dust). Better luck next year!

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