Corn growers....need help here

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by gita s., Jan 24, 2004.

  1. gita s.

    gita s. Guest

    Okay, there's three different types of corn, right? The regulars, the sugar enhanced, and the supersweets....is it ONLY the supersweets that need to be separated from other corns or do the sugar enhanced need to be separated as well? I'm confused.

    And what happens when you plant regular corn and Indian corn? Does cross pollination do anything bad to either of them? Thanks....
     
  2. Mullers Lane Farm

    Mullers Lane Farm Well-Known Member

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    You forgot flint (Indian) corn that is dried and used for wonderful corn soup or lyed corn (hominy), etc. I'm assuming when you refered to Indian corn you are talking about the multi-colored corn??

    Corn does cross pollinate - I've never worried much about it because I'm in corn country and I have bees. Never know what my corn will be pollinated with.
     

  3. diane

    diane Well-Known Member

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    gita.....the biggest problem with cross pollination is the affect on seed saving. When I am not involved in seed saving I examine the times to maturity of the different varieties and be sure to not plant a super sweet next to an ordinary type that is going to be tassling at the same time. When seed saving I take distance and tassling times into consideration.
     
  4. gita s.

    gita s. Guest

    Diane,

    Do you mean I can plant different types next to each other as long as they're not tasseling at the same time? If so, how far apart timewise should I plant - 2 weeks?
     
  5. diane

    diane Well-Known Member

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    "Do you mean I can plant different types next to each other as long as they're not tasseling at the same time? If so, how far apart timewise should I plant - 2 weeks?"

    Yes, you can plant different types next to each other as long as they are not tasseling at the same time. Corn is pollinated by the pollen in the tassels falling onto the silk. You just don't want the pollen of other kinds falling on the silk of others.

    The second part of your question is not clear to me. Are you talking about how far apart the tasseling times should be? If so, I would go for 7-10 days to be certain.

    Here in Michigan our springs are frequently cold and wet. I use to try and plant corn early to get early corn and my seed would just rot in the ground or take forever to germinate. I now plant 3 or 4 different maturation dates after I am sure that the soil is nice and warm and accomplish the same thing I was wanting.......having corn over a prolonged period of time for the table.
     
  6. Sedition

    Sedition Well-Known Member

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    Zea mays is one be happy to inbred family.

    Here is my limited understanding. I’m no genetic or botany expert, but I know enough to keep most my seed pure.

    There are 4 important genes for sucrose content in sweet corn. Standard (S) which is dominant and found in field corn. Open pollinated sweet corn (su), which is a recessive gene which increases sugar by about 50%. Super sweet contains the shrunken gene (sh-2) which doubles the sugar content over (su) corn. And finally sugary enhanced (se) sweet corn, containing an additional sugar-booster gene along with the (su) gene. Via hybridization, you can get both (se) and (sh-2) kernels on the same cob, leading to some of today’s marketing “uber-sweet” corns.

    All of these gene are recessive except for the (S) and (se) gene. That means that a corn kernel will exhibit the most dominant trait of whatever it is pollinated with - (S), (su) or (sh-2), in that order. That is also decreasing sweetness and increasing starchiness. But, if the (se) gene is present, sugar will be boosted irregardless, which is why (se) sweet corns are the standard in corn country where time or distance isolation is not always possible.

    Time isolation is best, but not always possible. I live in corn country. I have my small sliver of land and no way of predicting what the farmers on three sides of me are going to be planting. Because of that, I limit myself to just (se) sweetcorns. I try to get the earliest possible b/c field corn comes late, and I plant two varieties. Corn is mostly wind, and somewhat insect pollinated, so only time isolation or “bagging” is acceptable for saving pure seed. Bagging is how I approach my open pollinated popcorn, but I grow hybrid sweet corns for the (se) gene. I don’t think this has been stabilized as an OP type yet.