Blithering pollination issues

Hell and damnation, it never rains but it pours. Or perhaps because it rains it pours damnation.

Remember the issues we had with sweetcorn germination this year, requiring us to buy a whole extra packet of seed and go for a second sowing?

Well they did come good in the end, and we’ve eaten some, given lots away and this week I blanched and froze fourteen cobs. Lovely jubbly and all that.

But there is a downside. All our second cobs, the ones further down the stems, are empty. There are three potential reasons for this, and I reckon that they could all be true:

1. Not enough pollen present in the air to achieve fertilisation of each kernel on the cob because of high winds (we’ve had some doozie winds here on the south east coast)
2. Too much rain which washes the pollen down to the ground before it can fertilise the kernels (we had heavy rain in June and August)
3. Edge failure, which is what farmers call this situation where corn in particular, at the edge of a field, is less fertile because the pollen count is lower and comes only from one or two directions, unlike the middle of the field where the count is high and pollen is airborne from four directions.

Sometimes it feels as if everything from microbes to macro weather systems is conspiring against me!

And this is what the plot looks like today – even the Green Man has put a jumper on, it’s so chilly. August? I don’t think so.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Thursday, August 26, 2010


Anonymous Christine@Grub, Sweat and Cheers said...

I think my corn is suffering from a combo of 1 & 3. Our growing season will end in a few weeks and I'm not holding out any hope of getting any corn at all.

August 26, 2010 at 8:57 AM  
Anonymous said...

last I checked my corn wasn't ready and i have no idea how many of the kernels are full....I'm glad you have put this information up so in the event of me having empty kernels i will know why.

Agreeing with you on the weather...i got my furry wellies and winter coat out today :-(

August 26, 2010 at 9:52 AM  

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