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Friday, September 2, 2011

Hand Pollinating Corn

Many home growers (like us) probably don't plant enough corn to fully rely on wind pollination. Also, given that my corn is interplanted with 3' high squash plants that are the same height as the silks, I definitely don't want to rely on wind pollination. So we are going to hand pollinate.....using Google to guide us.

What we used:
brown paper bag

Yep that's it.

1. Apply a drop of vegetable (or mineral or similar) oil where the silks meet the husk. This is to prevent insect infestation. Has nothing to do with pollination, but its a good time to do it. Here's a good shot of where the silks meet the husk.
2. Place the paper bag over the tassels.
3. Bend the tassles of the corn into the paper bag and shake the pollen loose.
4. Once you have enough pollen, sprinkle the pollen onto the silks...be sure to get a good distribution. This can be done directly from the bag or you can sprinkle from your hand. I have better control when I sprinkled from my hand.

Repeat this everyday for 3-5 days. Pollinated silks should darken. Silks are only fertile for 3-5 days after they appear, so start as soon as they appear.

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