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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Corn Pollination Problem - Spacing

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Post  twodaend 7/24/2014, 2:06 pm

This is the 2nd year in which I'm growing corn, however this year I'm trying 2 different varities.  However, I'm having what I think is a pollination problem especially toward the center.  I planted 4 per square, but looking at the full size stalks, the stalks toward the interior sometime have their silk cover by another corn stalk leaf.

I'm wondering if placing 4 per square is correct as although in a single square each stalk is approximatly 12 inches appart, ajoining squares are not.  For example, where 2 squares meet, those stalks are closer to each other than they probably should be.  I'm wondering did I plant too close or am I jumping the gun a little and my corn is just not ready yet.

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Sorry for the poor example pic.
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Post  twodaend 7/24/2014, 7:36 pm

Well I decided to pick one on the outside that looks like the silk has dried all the way to the husk.  I was pleasantly surprised.  This is peaches and cream.

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Post  sanderson 7/25/2014, 12:57 am

Twodaend, I read your topic this morning but am just now able to reply. It sounds like you planted the seeds in the 4 corners of each square instead of in the center of each 6" x 6" sub-square. Look at the photos of planting 4, 9 or 16 per square:

All New Square Foot Gardening, 2nd Edition, page 111.

All New Square Foot Gardening, 1st Edition, page 111.

By the way, that ear of corn looks delicious!
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Post  twodaend 7/25/2014, 9:10 am

Thanks Sanderson.  You are correct.  I planted them in each corner instead of in the center of each 6" x 6" square.  Embarassed 

I took a closer look list night and it seem the outer ones are just about ready and a few inner one seem to have pollinated, but the silk is not as dry.  I'll give them a few more days, but I guess a half of cob is better than no cob. LOL!!!  Next year I'll do better.
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Post  sanderson 7/25/2014, 10:01 am

Very Happy 
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Post  Turan 7/25/2014, 1:25 pm

I am worrying about this as well.  The center of my corn patch is looking very crowded.

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Post  slimbolen99 7/25/2014, 1:53 pm

I didn't have much luck planting a 4x8 bed with four to each square.  I was told by two old-timer farmers that that was way too tight and pollination would be a problem -- and it was.  One farmer suggested if I was going to do that -- to plant all four in the very middle of the square, which would allow more wind flow between the stalks...although he said he would only do three in that case.

Next year I will plant two or three to a square -- no reason to be greedy.  Smile  I think it works well for some (four to a square), and not so much for others.
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Post  twodaend 7/25/2014, 2:40 pm

I was thinking the same thing for next year.  I migh do 3 per square in some sort of triangle or zig-zag pattern.  In that case, I'm only loosing 1 stalk per square and I'll still end up with plenty.
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Post  Pollinator 7/28/2014, 12:26 pm

twodaend wrote:This is the 2nd year in which I'm growing corn, however this year I'm trying 2 different varities.  However, I'm having what I think is a pollination problem especially toward the center.  I planted 4 per square, but looking at the full size stalks, the stalks toward the interior sometime have their silk cover by another corn stalk leaf...

The exact positioning is not significant, if you just hand pollinate for insurance. All you have to do is bend a tassel from one, over the silk of another plant, and gently shake. If the light is behind you, you can see the pollen fall. Do it for three mornings; it only takes a couple minutes.

Here's more: http://gardensouth.org/2011/07/09/you-can-avoid-corn-pollination-failure/
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Post  Turan 8/18/2014, 11:58 am

A month ago a storm blew my corn patch over.  I propped it up and it was soon standing on its own again.  When the pollen started to fly we naturally had no wind (impossible here usually) so I was shaking each stalk and watching the pollen fill the air.  Now the pollen has finished and another storm came and blew the corn over again.  I wonder how this is going to affect the resulting cobs. 
When I grew corn in double rows a couple feet apart I could easily hill the corn and that anchored it better.   O well.  Live and learn.

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Post  yolos 8/18/2014, 3:15 pm

Turan - In my corn SFG (4 x 12) I dug four 12 foot trenches in the bed and planted the seeds down in the 4 trenches.  Then as the corn grew, I hoed the dirt into the trenches.  Eventually hilling up as much as I could.  I still had a few stalks fall over though because of the MM.  It was real tricky getting in between the rows to hill the corn.
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Post  AtlantaMarie 8/18/2014, 9:22 pm

In my SFG corn patch, I just planted 4/sf (we think too many at this point...).  As they grew, I put some string around the perimeters to help hold groups of them up.  Seemed to work, but not sure I got the same severe storms you guys did.
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Post  Turan 8/19/2014, 2:45 pm

Yolo, that is similar to my plan for next year but I think my trenches will go across the short way.  That would be easier to reach into for doing hilling and if I need to put oil in the corn for ear worms.

AMarie, I did something similar the first time they blew over.  I even put unused tomato cages in there for supports.  This last storm was a doozy and the corn is now taller than me so lots of sail potential.  Some one here but a grid a couple of feet high over their corn patch for the corn to grow through.  I am contemplating that as well as hilling.  Also for the soup beans that are taller than bush and shorter than runners.

Luckily for me these are flour corn.  I will harvest a few in green stage to bbq but the rest can do what ever until I harvest the whole plants after frost.  Then I will feed the stalks and husks and dry the ears for later shelliing.

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Post  yolos 8/19/2014, 3:23 pm

Turan wrote:Yolo, that is similar to my plan for next year but I think my trenches will go across the short way.  That would be easier to reach into for doing hilling and if I need to put oil in the corn for ear worms.

AMarie, I did something similar the first time they blew over.  I even put unused tomato cages in there for supports.  This last storm was a doozy and the corn is now taller than me so lots of sail potential.  Some one here but a grid a couple of feet high over their corn patch for the corn to grow through.  I am contemplating that as well as hilling.  Also for the soup beans that are taller than bush and shorter than runners.

Luckily for me these are flour corn.  I will harvest a few in green stage to bbq but the rest can do what ever until I harvest the whole plants after frost.  Then I will feed the stalks and husks and dry the ears for later shelliing.
Oh, running the trench across the width (short way) would make it so much easier to hill up.  Thanks for that suggestion.  I keep forgetting to try the trellis laying horizontal across the bed a couple of feet off the ground.
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Post  plantoid 8/19/2014, 5:01 pm

Turan & others with fallen corn problems ,
 
Despite a bit of a dismal summer here I'm still hoping I'll get some mini pop sweet corn , they should stand about five feet tall .

 I am growing them in one of my 36 inch high raised beds ......they are great wind catchers .

I gave it quite a bit of thought when I planted the 10 inch tall plants and ran a 3 foot dia circle of pig fence wire ( approx 9 x 4 grids ) around the five plants plus one in the middle
all plants are contained within the circle .


According to the house sitter , we had some strong winds and rain whilst we were away in Germany .
 The corn is standing fine ...wish that could be said of the toppled and bust gladioli and wrecked outdoor tomatoes .

 
Perhaps douing the same in ANSFG beds is a better answer than trying to secure a horizontal grid over a couple of beds to hold the corn up  as there will not much shear force to speak of that will break the corn stem when the wind blows strong .
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