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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #1
Raiquee
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Default Hand pollinating corn

Has anyone done it? I’d love to grow some of the rare heirloom
Sweet corn, but I’m surrounded by corn fields (typical Midwest) and the air is thick with stray pollen. I’ve had ok success with timing my corn, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

Hand pollination looks like it’s not too hard, just looking for other people’s experience. Thanks.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #2
PhilaGardener
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It's actually really easy, and the best way to get well-filled ears in a small patch, but it is hard to keep out stray pollen unless you bag your silks. Just wait until the tassels are shedding and then pick and shake-shake-shake!
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #3
Raiquee
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Yeah I have good pollination as we are very windy and I plant in blocks. But that’s part of the problem, is that it will get crossed knowing my luck. I will have to bag silks and tassels. Which I don’t mind, just have never done it.

Looks like seed savers has the bags pretty affordably! I guess I’ll watch a YouTube video and give it a whirl next year!
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #4
rhines81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiquee View Post
Has anyone done it? I’d love to grow some of the rare heirloom
Sweet corn, but I’m surrounded by corn fields (typical Midwest) and the air is thick with stray pollen. I’ve had ok success with timing my corn, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

Hand pollination looks like it’s not too hard, just looking for other people’s experience. Thanks.
Truthfully, wouldn't worry about it unless your crop is right next to theirs. 300 ft should be plenty of spacing unless it is directly down wind.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #5
Raiquee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhines81 View Post
Truthfully, wouldn't worry about it unless your crop is right next to theirs. 300 ft should be plenty of spacing unless it is directly down wind.
Well we live in a very windy micro climate and my sweet corn was late this year and tassled same time as the field corn. Was ruined. Not to mention I want to grow multiple varieties and I can’t even give them 100ft in my patch let alone 300. I’m going to do timing like I usually do, but for the rare types that I will give back to other people, I want to know for sure it’s true.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #6
carolyn137
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The following link should answer almost ALL of your questions about cross pollination and how to prevent it.

https://www.google.com/search?q=how+...&bih=815&dpr=1

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #7
JRinPA
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I tried it this year but it was pain in the butt in blocks. If I was hand pollinating 100% I would do rows or double rows only for easier access. My second stand was fine this year, but the first was really dry and buggy when it tassled and the third was super wet. I'm not sure what I learned though, and that is a bad feeling.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #8
Tormato
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It's very easy to do by hand. And, if doing entirely by hand there's no need for planting in blocks, unless it's to conserve garden space. I plant in single rows, which makes hand pollinating very easy.





Some years the plants don't tassel and silk at the same time (I've had one variety produce silks one month after tasseling). So, I freeze pollen until it's time to pollinate.


Also, if attempting to save OP corn, I think 100-200 plants are needed to keep a variety stable.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #9
Raiquee
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Thanks guys!! I was looking for insight on people here who have done it. I’ve watched enough videos. You make a great point about the rows vs block, sounds like it would be way easier.

I did read that, 200 plants I believe to keep the variety stable. Which...that’s a lot of seed! Haha. Gonna have to divide it year to year.

Thanks for the ideas guys.
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