Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2097
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 11:27 pm
Location: Mid Ohio

Re: Can you pollinate different types of corn with each othe

Two years ago I tried to segregate colors on an 'Indian' corn. I failed because of racoons, but the pollination was easy. I tied to swamped out natural cross pollination by adding so much of the pollen I wanted that I was sure to get mostly the results I wanted.

This method works for a small garden, one row etc: Cut a tassle off when it first starts to release pollen, and put it in a vase of water like the flower stalk that it is. (You can cut as many tassles off as you want, I hd to keep my tassles separate because of the colors).

Set that on a newspaper to catch the pollen.

Pollen will be released in the early part of the day. It only has a short life span so use it as soon as possible (within a day I think --I took it outside right away).

Starting about 10 AM shake the tassle over the paper. I regularly got a teaspoon of pollen per cycle. Repeat every two or three hours until it stops for the day. You can do this for about three days. I then used a paper plate folded in half to form a pouring spout and simply sprinkled pollen onto silks out in the garden. Start as soon as you see silks emerge from the ears and keep doing it until the ear is fully silked.

From what I read, fertilization is more successful better during the same time of day that the pollen is being released. Silks are sticky or something--I forget the detail. You can get a tablespoon of pollen in all from a single tassel, more than enough for a small plot of corn.

It would probably make a good science fair experiment for the kids -- Timing pollen release etc.

The down side is that all the action happens while you are at work. I don't know the efficiency if you pollenate the silks late in the day, but I don't see why it wouldn't work well enough.

User avatar
Posts: 27905
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Can you pollinate different types of corn with each othe

I love it! :D

Definitely trying that this year IF I manage to sow corn. I want to use up all the leftover corn seeds -- yeah yeah I know... -- so this should make it very interesting. 8)
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

User avatar
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3567
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

Re: Can you pollinate different types of corn with each othe

Each year I buy new corn seed and just dump it in with last year's seeds. I don't really care what mixes, as the corn always tastes great. Some comes out true to name, like 'Silver Queen'. Some comes out bicolor, white and yellow. Other comes out relatively true to name as pure yellow. I do try to stagger my planting time for yellow corn and white corn, so the mix there is usually much less.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.

Senior Member
Posts: 266
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:24 pm
Location: AZ, zone 9

Re: Can you pollinate different types of corn with each othe

Definitely have to try this method of hand pollination! At first my concern was cross pollination. The more you guys post, the more concerned I am about getting pollination at all! :? I only have 8 corn plants total, in two "rows". From what everyone says corn does better planted en masse.
Thanks so much to all of the helpful gardeners! :D
The corn is thick and 2 feet tall, and I'm already chomping at the bit to get this done!

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”