Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hand-Pollinating Corn

Signs of summer are popping out all over! One of these signs is that the corn is shooting up and making tassels and silks. Tassels are the part at the top of the plant where the pollen comes from (male), and silks are the things that stick out of an ear of corn (female). Corn is fertilized when the pollen falls from the tassel to the silk. Each strand of silk that gets pollinated makes a corn kernel. If only some get pollinated, you get a partly empty ear of corn --how sad--. In big fields of corn there's plenty of pollen to go around, but in a small corn patch like ours (700 square feet), it's not a sure bet.

I tried to help nature a bit today by gathering the pollen from the tassels and sprinkling it on the silks. I thought this would be a major pain, but it was actually quite easy and kind of fun.

Shaking some corn pollen into a paper bag.

Sprinkling corn pollen onto the silks of a new ear.

No comments: