The Q&A Archives: Corn

Question: I grew rows of corn and seems the corn wasnt big, some were small and others didnt finish had only half corn done and the top half was just empty

what went wrong??

Answer: What you describe sounds like incomplete or partial pollination. Corn needs lots of heat and a long summer season to be able to produce so be sure to plant short-season varieties in your garden (look at the backs of the seed packages to find those with the fewest days to maturity). Corn is wind-pollinated so instead of planting in long rows, plant in blocks so the pollen from one plant can fall onto several of its neighboring plants to provide complete pollination. Ears of corn go through several stages of maturity. As the stalk grows and small ears begin to develop, the silks that are produced actually attach to the individual kernals within the ear. When the silks are all sticking out of the end of the ear, the top of the stalk develops a tassle. Within the tassle are hundreds of pollen-producing organs and when the pollen is mature it will drop or blow away from the tassle and (hopefully) land on the silks of the ears below. When this happens, the pollen travels down the tubes of the silks and pollenates the individual kernals. With your incomplete ears of corn, you can see where the pollen traveled to the kernal and where it didn't. To ensure full ears of corn on all your plants, plant in blocks rather than rows.

Hope this clarifies things for you!

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