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Popcorn And Sweet Corn


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#1 Jordan9682 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 08, 2013 - 07:47 PM

This year i want to plant sweet corn and popcorn in the same garden.
Can I do this? I've read that if you don't plant them atleast 250' apart "cross-pollination" can be an issue.
Is that something i should worry about? I'm not gonna keep my own seed.
And my the corn seed i have is supposed to be 60 some days till maturity, whereas popcorn is much longer
I was thinking i could have some space between them (a few rows of sunflowers and maybe 'taters)

Can I do this?

#2 Cat385B ONLINE  

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Posted April 08, 2013 - 08:24 PM

You could plant the sweet corn early and the popcorn late to combat this if your growing season is long enough to allow that. Three weeks difference would do the trick, I believe.


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#3 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted April 08, 2013 - 08:26 PM

You could plant the sweet corn early and the popcorn late to combat this if your growing season is long enough to allow that. Three weeks difference would do the trick, I believe.

 

Yep, that should do the trick!


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#4 shorty ONLINE  

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Posted April 08, 2013 - 08:30 PM

I did that last year with out trouble. I think I had tried for a few weeks separation. They were planted right next to each other.


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#5 Jordan9682 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 08, 2013 - 08:31 PM

The "if" is the big problem. My growing season reply cuts it close and I want to get the popcorn in as soon as possible.
I thought maybe being that its growing season is twice as long they could be planted at the same time? (If I remember correctly, the popcorn was well over 100 days from planting to maturity...)
Would it be even worse If I planted the corn after the popcorn then?

#6 Amigatec OFFLINE  

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Posted April 09, 2013 - 02:13 AM

It won't affect a thing, the cross pollination will only affect the seed if you save the seed and plant next year.
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#7 bja105 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 09, 2013 - 05:42 AM

The seed you save for next year is the seed you eat this year!  Yes, cross pollination affects this year's crop.

The days to maturity are counted differently.  Sweet corn is 'mature' in what would be quite immature for popcorn or field corn.  Popcorn is not mature until it has dried, and it may need more drying inside, after harvest.  It would be helpful to know what the days to tasseling are, but I have never seen that.

 

I am no corn expert, but I have done a bunch of reading on this very topic, since I have some popcorn this year, but the neighbor wants to plant field corn just upwind of my garden.


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#8 Amigatec OFFLINE  

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Posted April 09, 2013 - 05:54 AM

No cross pollination will not affect this years crop. It will affect the crop next year, if you plant seed that has been cross pollinated this year.
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#9 Jordan9682 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 09, 2013 - 08:26 AM

Great,
I think I'll risk it and see how it turns out :)

#10 bja105 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 09, 2013 - 05:10 PM

Cross pollination will affect THIS YEAR's corn.  If it were a fruit we were eating, like a squash, apple, or tomato, the fruit this year would be true to the type, but the seeds in the fruit would be crossbreeds.  With corn, the crop we harvest and eat is the seed.  That seed is different when cross pollinated, not just the genes, but the seed structure, sweetness, and skin.

 

http://www2.ljworld....n_corns_flavor/

"The concern about cross-pollination arises when the corn-loving home gardener tries to plant two or more varieties. If pollen from one kind of corn finds its way to the silks of another variety, it produces genetic confusion. In some cases the results are harmless - an ear of corn with white and yellow kernels, for example.

It's important to remember, though, that if cross-pollination occurs, you won't get the variety of corn you intended, and it may not be flavorful or tender."

 

Here is one from a major Ag university, discussing popcorn.

http://www.hort.purd...u/ext/ho-98.pdf

"Corn pollen is carried by the wind from the tassels to the
silks. Different types of corn can cross-pollinate and
contaminate one another. All sweet corn types must be
isolated from other types of corn including field corn,
popcorn, and ornamental corn because their pollen will
turn sweet corn starchy. The shriveled characteristic of
sweet corn is dominant, so popcorn pollinated by sweet
corn will be sweeter and probably shriveled. The color
yellow is also dominant, so yellow corn that is pollinated
by white corn will remain yellow. However, white corn
that is pollinated by yellow will turn yellow."

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#11 Jordan9682 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 09, 2013 - 05:14 PM

Hmmm... That's... Hmmm...

#12 Amigatec OFFLINE  

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Posted April 09, 2013 - 06:14 PM

I've seen this discussed before on gardening sites, and you can believe what ever you chose too. I have never seen real study to prove either way.
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#13 bja105 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 09, 2013 - 07:41 PM

I think a factor is how far does the wind disperse pollen at an altitude high enough to reach the silks.  I have heard of anywhere from 175 feet to one mile, quite a range.  I'm sure it depends on wind, terrain, and how much cross pollination you can deal with.  I won't cry if 5% of my popcorn shrivels, but I can't accept 50%.

The first link mentions hand pollination, and I can attest that it works for small plots like I plant.  I had too few kernels per ear when I left it to the wind at home.  At my farm garden, I am surrounded by fields that are sometimes corn.


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#14 Jordan9682 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 09, 2013 - 10:00 PM

Lots to think about... What seems like a simple thing always ends up being complicated, eh? (Yeah, I know. Typical canadian. Lol)

#15 oldedeeres ONLINE  

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Posted April 09, 2013 - 11:46 PM

We always plant corn in about 15 ft. rows in plots three rows wide and stagger the plots , the first on the south end of the garden, then a row or two of other veg., the second on the north end of the garden, then another couple rows of other veg. etc. We also try to stagger the maturity dates as well for the different varieties so there is less chance of cross pollination. Our season is too short for popcorn, although we keep hoping and plant some every year, but we have grown broom corn and coloured  corn successfully without cross pollination problems. A trick we have learned over the years is to "boost" germination by putting the seed in damp paper towels in the oven at the lowest possible temp. They'll germinate almost overnight and you can plant them in the garden right away and gain a good two weeks on maturity.


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