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Can I save My Corn Seed and Plant It?
The sweet corn that we plant in our gardens is what is called hybrids. A hybrid is the cross pollination of two different parent varieties of, in this case, corn. Each of the parent variety gives the corn certain traits that produce the kind of sweet corn we like. For the serious gardeners, they have their favorites because the hybrid gives the flavor, sweetness, number of rows of corn on the cob and size of ear that they want. 

Some of the traits that cross pollination can give the plant are ear size, plant height, sweetness, maturity dates, length of storage and canning or freezing ability. 
Other factors to consider in saving seeds are, we drying the ears to the proper moisture content for both storage and germination. If we store corn seed with too much moisture in the seed, it will mold and destroy the seed. This will affect how well the corn will germinate when planted the next spring. If the seed has moisture levels that are too low, it may not be able to germinate when planted.
The most important factor to consider when the corn is pollinated is what will be the quality of next years crop if I try and save the seed.
There is a movement for gardeners to save seed from their harvest for replanting the following year. This is where heirloom varieties come to play in the garden as heirloom varieties are what is called open pollinated and will come back true the following year. Where hybrid were developed for such things are crop increase, size, storage and disease resistant, the heirloom usually lack some of these qualities. In our area, resistance to corn smut is very important to insure a good crop.
We are fortunate to see how seed corn is raised locally. When driving between farming communities, we can see corn field that were planted for the production of corn seed. You will usually notice a field with one tall row of corn, followed by four rows of shorter corn. The farmers are using the taller corn for the pollen to pollinate the ears on the shorter rows. The taller rows are normally called the bull rows in the field. What happens is as the corn begins to tassel, workers will enter the field and remove the tassels from the four rows between the bull rows. The tassels are where the pollen comes from in corn production. This insures that the bull row pollen is the only pollen that will pollinate the seed producing rows giving the harvest seed the qualities that they want.
After the seed corn moisture levels are correct the seed rows are harvested, cleaned, tested, and packaged.
There is one variety of sweet corn still on the market, that is considered a heirloom variety. Golden Bantam corn will produce seed that will grow the same corn plant the next year. However it is hard to find on the seed market as it produces ears of corn that are very short, with only about six to eight rows of corn on the cob. Most of us like an ear of corn that is ten to fourteen inches long with twelve to sixteen rows of corn on the cob. 
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By dandevarona on 3/16/2011 |
Organic Gardening | 6872 View(s) | 0 Comment(s)
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