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applestar
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FLOATING CORN seeds =not viable? >> pre-germinating corn

I'm trying to clear out my old stock of corn seeds, adn I had some old corn seeds -- 2009 -- so decided to pre-germinate them before sowing. I started out by soaking them, and most of them sank right away, but some of them are floating even after 2 hours.

Are these floaters no good? Do floating corn seeds mean they're not viable?
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Re: Do FLOATING CORN seeds mean they're not viable?

>>2 hours?

take two radish seeds and call me in the morning . . . (g)

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applestar
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Re: Do FLOATING CORN seeds mean they're not viable?

Aw, ALRIGHT -- I'll wait a little longer. :oops: But I'm impatient! :twisted:

But do floating corn signify they're not viable?
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Re: Do FLOATING CORN seeds mean they're not viable?

applestar wrote:But do floating corn signify they're not viable?
At a guess only, I'd be willing to take the end of the wager, that floaters may not germinate.
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Re: Do FLOATING CORN seeds mean they're not viable?

Sweet corn has a 50% germination for three years when shored in the right conditions...floaters would give me the idea to toss them out, they may not be mature seeds.

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Re: Do FLOATING CORN seeds mean they're not viable?

Toss em and get some seeds you know are not questionable

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Re: Do FLOATING CORN seeds mean they're not viable?

Looks to me like you must do the test yourself. Soak them overnight, then plant them (or place for germination) and see if they germinate. Please report.
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Re: Do FLOATING CORN seeds mean they're not viable?

If you roll seeds up in a wet towel and keep them about 100 degrees they will start to grow a root in about 12 hours. Unroll the towel look an see what they are doing. When roots are very short about 1/4" or shorter plant them. Any seed that does not grow a root is bad.

If your trying to sort bad seeds from good seeds easy thing to do it plant 3 seeds in each spot. If more than 1 plant comes up thin them out.

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Re: Do FLOATING CORN seeds mean they're not viable?

If they were eggs, I would say, yep! Or maybe. Eggs that float are old ones!
Try a test germination and give us your results and percentage. Then we can all try the same test and get an idea if this is a reliable guide to good and not good seed.
Usually I have seeds way past the expiration date and still get good germination, and my seeds have not been in frig or freezer for 2 years.
I have a lot of 2008 and 2009 seeds that are now seedlings under lights.
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Re: Do FLOATING CORN seeds mean they're not viable?

Thanks for all your replies. :D

OK, so I drained them last night and the floaters were still floating so I scooped them out to separate. And while all the corn had become softer with a little give when squeezed, the floaters had split or become mushy. (even though they "looked" like whole kernels).

So the FLOATERS are definitely bad.

Now, good or bad, the rest of the seeds had sunk immediately. (some of the initial floaters did sink during soaking but not many and when the water was poured out, they came bobbing out).

So I will be pre-germinating them. If you are interested, I'll tally the result and report.

Gary, I didn't think about putting them in a higher temp (I have them at room temp). Not sure if I can do 100°F but I could try putting the seed sprouter on the heating mat with the peppers.
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Re: Do FLOATING CORN seeds mean they're not viable?

got curious and started poking around. found a couple citations of "bad corn seed floats" - offered only as opinion/speculation/? - no "proof" / reason / rationale given.

also found citations like the 50% germination rate. this I rather am forced to reject out of hand. some "detail" to that assertion is missing because I've spent way to many miles on a Deere with a planter and then seen the fields to even _think_ half of it didn't germinate.

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Re: Do FLOATING CORN seeds mean they're not viable?

First bunch sprouted today :D
Gratifying that the one I wanted to grow most -- Double Red Sweet -- were pretty good germinters and I already have 20. Also 16 Howling Mob white sweet corn.

There were some squat orange colored kernels on the same cobs as Double Red Sweet which are flat and dark garnet red. They are probably some kind of stray crosses? 8 of those sprouted so I sowed them as well to see what they would do.
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Re: Do FLOATING CORN seeds mean they're not viable?

Here, it IS still early-ish. It's a week before last average frost.

This year, I'm trying a different method -- I'm pre-germinating them in my seed sprouter, then sowing them in 2" mini soil blocks to keep in the garage. Once they sprout, I'll either plant them right away or hold them a little longer under the lights if there is space available, or put them out in the sun until I can plant them.

I'm using web trays so the root pruning should take effect, but I'm not sure if corn taproots SHOULD be root pruned -- they may not be able to send down deep roots to keep from falling over. So I "intend" to plant them right away as soon as they sprout in the soilblock.


Image
Image

They were soaked on 4/18, drained and started in the sprouter on 4/19 at approx. 68-72°F first day, then mid-70's °F thereafter.
As of today,
_________________4/20/13__4/21/13__4/22/13__TotalGerm'd___ungerm'd___%
Double Red Sweet.......20...........27...........16...............63.................32.....66.3%
Orange Squat (x2x?).....8...........13...........10...............31..................2......93.9%
Howling Mob...............16...........28...........16...............60................12......83.3%


Howling Mob was left over commercial seed packed for 2012 from RH Shumways.
Double Red Sweet and "Orange Squat" was from saved mature cobs from growing the Double Red Sweet I think it was 2009 or 2010. "Orange Squat" kernels were on the same cobs as Double Red Sweet so I'm thinking they were stray pollen crosses (I think I grew Cherokee Long popcorn in the vicinity). The whole dried cobs with husks intact had been "stored" in paper grocery bags in the pantry.

Image
(Ignore the germinating peanuts :wink: )

Golden Bantam seeds from saved cobs from 2008, shown among the corn seeds in the first picture, have not germinated yet so they are not in the above photo, but some are starting to show signs that they might germinate.
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Re: Do FLOATING CORN seeds mean they're not viable?

About three years ago I took a new approach with my corn seeds. I began combining my fresh seeds with the old seeds. This is now the third or fourth year of doing this. I place two seeds every foot or so of row length. There are almost no bare spots and are very few spaces where just a single seed germinated. Off season, the seeds are kept in the freezer. Whenever there is a bare space, I just lift a seedling and move it to fill the gap. There is never any wasted corn seed at this location!
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applestar
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Re: Do FLOATING CORN seeds mean they're not viable?

Sound like a good plan if you are growing same variety corn every year. Or if you don't care they mix as long as they shed pollen/are receptive at the same time?

One reason I'm starting corn inside and transplanting them this year is because every year I have trouble with chipmunks digging up my corn. I can keep birds from pecking up the corn with a netting or a row cover, but chipmunks will merrily just dig right under. :evil:

Once the corn starts to grow and the kernel is no longer eating quality, they won't bother the corn plants, but they ate practically every single Howling Mob I sowed in two waves. (If any of you remember, I tried soaking the seed corn in hot pepper water, etc. :roll: )

Hopefully, I will be able to grow a block of corn this time.

I'm planning to try this pollination method with these three (or four if Golden Bantam germinates, too) varieties:
:arrow: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... 85#p295585

Corn seedling progress was posted here.
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Re: Do FLOATING CORN seeds mean they're not viable?

I debated the merit of single variety versus mix and decided it didn't really matter. My corn patch is so small, that if two varieties get planted, they always cross anyway. So I now just dump the seeds in together and take what comes. When two good varieties of corn mix, there is almost no way that the resulting ear of corn will be anything other than 'good'. Sometimes the corn comes out bicolor and sometimes is comes out uniform. Haven't had a bad tasting ear yet!
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Re: Do FLOATING CORN seeds mean they're not viable?

I've finally finished transplanting most of my corn. Most of them were started in 2" soilblocks as described earlier in this thread, plus some extras in 4"x4"x6" deep pots of loose potting mix.

This year, I'm interplanting them with peas and fava beans that have been growing in the bed already. I've added extra fish fertilizer In the planting holes to hopefully overcome the initial competition, and am hoping that once they are done and cut down, the dying roots of the peas and fava will release the nitrogen in their nodules The pea and fava "straws" will be used as mulch also (not tilled in). I'm hoping that the established legumes will have deeper roots and deeper N deposits for the deep corn roots, as compared to the typical method to undersow with clover seeds after corn is established.

--- (this may all backfire, with the peas and favas rhizobia "stealing" from the fertilizer and not bothering to store any N :lol: )

FWIW though, EVERY transplant hole I dug to plant the corn seedlings uncovered average of two or three earthworms. I think they like the soil in that bed. Also, I didn't find any pest soil denizens in this bed -- no slugs, grubs, nor wireworms. Two instances, I dug up very energetic centipedes. :-()

Most of the plants are 6-8" apart except for the peas which are 2-4" apart in their two rows.

Planted Double Red Sweet corn (100 days) in a block of about 5 ft x 5 ft, Howling Mob sweet corn (85 days) in two septate blocks of about 5 ft x 4 ft and 3 ft x 8 ft. 3x8 block is planted 8-12" apart in a separate bed and is not interplanted.

Also planted what appears to be an accidental cross kernels on Double Red Sweet cobs that I'm calling "Orange Squat" because of their shape and color. They are in a "block" of about 2 ft x 8 ft in two rows.
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Re: Do FLOATING CORN seeds mean they're not viable?

I was thinking about where to plant what, and when I got to thinking about sowing corn, I remembered I did this last year. :()

Looking at the time stamp, it looks like it's time to get started. :-()
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Re: Do FLOATING CORN seeds mean they're not viable?

new to the forum so hopefully this question is appropriate for this thread. :) in the next two weeks I'm going to be building some raised beds and I'd like to plant corn (love sweet yellow) but I'm shying away from it because the area I live in gets incredibly windy and I would only have space to plant about 9 stocks.

should I go for it or will it be a wasted effort?

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Re: FLOATING CORN seeds =not viable? >> pre-germinating corn

One of these threads may help answer your question :D

Corn - how much for family of 5? • HelpfulGardener.com
How many plants would you guys recommend for a 5' x 5.5' bed and ... A small crop of corn does not do well so you need to plant it TOO close ...
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... hp?t=34005

corn row question • HelpfulGardener.com
The exception would be a small bed planting of corn; "square foot", "lasagna", or whatever you wish to call it. There, 12 inches or so spacing, ...
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... hp?t=25864

Space needed to grow corn - 4x4 being the smallest ...
I remember another poster refering to plantings of corn. ... This scheme in the drawing will give you some corn in little space. ..... I have raised beds: 4'x8' and I am opening up some new soil... not rich with humus, no mulch or ...
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... hp?t=22084

In the past before collecting and hand pollinating, I found 9 wasn't enough at all, and 16 worked somewhat better.

I will note that it is difficult to collect pollen for hand pollinating when windy. You may want to cut the tassels and keep in a vase of water in the house for daily collection. This technique may be mentioned in one of the threads linked above.
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Re: FLOATING CORN seeds =not viable? >> pre-germinating corn

Thanks Applestar! I read two of the links you sent me to last night and I've decided to give it a try I love corn so even if I only get 10 cobs I'll be thrilled. it's just my husband a room mate and myself living there so we don't need a lot. Thanks again for the helpful links :()

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Re: FLOATING CORN seeds =not viable? >> pre-germinating corn

I don't usually keep corn more than a couple of years because the germination rate falls off sharply and I need pretty much the whole pack planted to get enough corn for me anyway.

I did find out recently though that seeds will keep better for long term storage in the freezer rather than the frig. Just make sure you only take out only what you need since the seeds don't like to have a lot of freezing and thawing cycles.
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Re: FLOATING CORN seeds =not viable? >> pre-germinating corn

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Re: FLOATING CORN seeds =not viable? >> pre-germinating corn

About three years ago I took a new approach with my corn seeds. I began combining my fresh seeds with the old seeds.
Good move. (Assuming same variety) I do the same. I figure that the older seed may have a bit poorer germination rate, but I always end up thinning a bit any way so it works out well.

I always plant several varieties, but am likely to plant them all the same day. They will have different timing on the tasseling, so I don't think they cross much. Then I will plant more of the same 3 weeks later.

Another plan I have played with is plant only one variety, and plant 3 rows then when it is up and 3 inches tall plant 3 more rows etc. for as many plantings as you wish.
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