What does SE and SU corn mean? only female cucs?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Wildfire_Jewel, Jan 7, 2007.

  1. Wildfire_Jewel

    Wildfire_Jewel Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a couple questions. I've been going thru my gurney catalog trying to plan out things and noticed the sweet corn says something about isolating it from all other se and su varieties. What does this mean?

    And the cucumbers say that the plants will be almost all female flowers. How does that work? How does the plant still set fruit? and can you harvest seed for next year from these types of palnts?
    Thanks!
    Melissa
     
  2. Steve L.

    Steve L. Well-Known Member

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    ‘SU’ is the ‘normal’/’standard’ type of sweet corn, like most of the old OP corns that your grandfather grew. SE and SH2 corns are varieties that contain mutations that affect either the speed with which the sugar is converted to starch (the SEs) or the total amount of sugar (SH2s). I think that the SH2s convert slowly, as well. This is kinda off the top of my head, I’ll try to get better info tomorrow.

    If they’re ‘almost’ all female, the may be enough male flowers to ‘getter done’.

    Or the variety may be parthenocarpic, or the company may include seeds of a ‘normal’ cuc.

    If they don’t have seeds, no. Chances are, though, that the variety will be a hybrid, and you’ll be unlikely to get any ‘mostly female’ plants from your saved seed.
     

  3. Phantomfyre

    Phantomfyre Black Cat Farm Supporter

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    :goodjob: Great question, WJ! I have some questions on this myself! Don't mean to hijack your thread - I'm hoping any answers I get will help you, too!

    Steve, you have partially answered my question - thank you!

    When I was little, I'd eat our homegrown sweet corn without butter or salt or anything, it was sooo good. I *think* I remember names like Butter & Sugar (su) and Kandy Korn (se) ... but it's gotten to be a jumble of names now. (And I haven't even hit 30 yet... :rolleyes:)

    Now I have enough room to finally grow my own sweet corn, and I'm looking at the seed catalogs and there's all this heirloom/OP, su, se, sh2, se/sh2... :help:

    I'm growing corn for my own use, so the keeping properties of these new-fangled varieties are not important to me. What I AM interested in is tender, juicy kernals that almost melt in my mouth, with sweet, rich flavor. Ahhh, the perfect sweet corn. (I admit to being a bit of a corn snob - I will NOT buy that stuff in the store they try to pass off as sweet corn, and only occasionally give "fresh" stand corn 2 thumbs up.)

    I'd *like* to be able to save my own seed from everything, but that's only really possible with the OP varieties, which I don't *think* would match my ideal corn criteria. Has anyone tried any of the OPs? Are they *really* any good?

    The isolation requirements of sh2 and some se/sh2 varieties scares me a little, because that would limit home many different varieties I can try at a time, and there's farmland all around me planted in field corn. But the closest field to my patch is about 4-500 feet away. It is, however, upwind of me. Is that a problem? Are the merits of those varieties worth the trouble?

    Thanks in advance!

    Diana, who's nearly cross-eyed from trying to decipher all this in the seed catalogs!
     
  4. Wildfire_Jewel

    Wildfire_Jewel Well-Known Member Supporter

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    LOL Diana!! You and me both!! Okay so if I understand this correctly the corn and cucumbers are hybrids then and if I harvest seed it will NOT be true to the type? Is that right? So if I want to save seeds then I need to stick with heirloom varieties and not hybrids? Does this also apply to flowers? Thanks!!
    Melissa
     
  5. 3ravens

    3ravens on furlough-downsized Supporter

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    Melissa, That's right. If you want to save seed, go with the heirloom OP types. If you want really sweet tender eating corn, buy the hybrids and plan on getting new seed each time. Other types of corn pollinating yours can affect the taste and texture. Plant in blocks not rows, and as far away from others as possible. Eating types will change yours less than field corn types.
    Most hybrid flowers have a tendency to revert to whatever the original hybrids were bred from afer a few generations. But it might be fun to try it and see what happens! Plants from corms or bulbs will breed true 'cause you aren't starting from new seed, you are growing from the little bulblets.

    HTH, Josie
     
  6. Steve L.

    Steve L. Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, the breeders have been doing their jobs, that’s for sure.

    Then you have a lot more options, ‘cause you can choose by taste rather than taste AND some other criteria.

    I’d like to grow some, some day, but corn is low on my list of priorities. I have grown some OP field and pop corns, a few times. In general inbred lines (OPs) don’t have the vigor of hybrids.

    Why? They have the same isolation requirements that OPs do.

    Probably not too much of a problem, but I’d add in isolation by time, too, in your situation.

    Dunno. :shrug:

    Yep, pretty much. It’s ‘truer’ for some things than for others. If the two inbred lines that were used as parents both have the qualities that you’re looking for (for instance, say fruit shape & size), then their progeny may very well give you (more or less) what you’re looking for. But, in successive generations, they will segregate out, and since we generally start so few seeds, chances are that we’ll end up growing out the ones that we really don’t want.