My observation of corn wind pollinating on their own is that in a small block, it is really hit or miss.
- The tassels don’t start shedding pollen until the sunlight hits them (or maybe when it’s hotter if cloudy), but if it’s windy, the cloud of lovely pollen just blow away, and if the wind is from the wrong direction, even less likely that they will land on any of the silks.
- when humid or damp, the pollen clump and when I’m trying to hand pollinate, they stick to everything — completely different from when they are dry and roll off corn leaves and fly freely. I may manage to get the pollen to shed on to something — paper, iPhone, hosts leaf, but they won’t come off.
- VERY often, overlapping corn leaves cover/block silks. If the pollen grains are sliding off the dry leaves and floating in the air, that might not be a problem, but if they are stuck, they might not dry and make their way to the silks during the short window while they are viable. (the silks getting blocked is the primary reason I stopped 3-sisters or other companion planting with corn unless bush beans or something very short).
...if I’m not actively collecting pollen and pouring onto/into silks, what I do is push the stalks over to the center of the block, or according to wind direction and give a little shake. You’ll see what I mean about them not shedding pollen until conditions are right — I’ve tried first thing in the morning while I was in the vicinity, and got nothing, then later on made special trip to the corn patch and they were almost pouring out of every tassel.
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