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In the 1998 movie, The X-Files, FBI agents Mulder and Scully come across a field of corn where the pollen from the corn is infused with an alien virus. The pollen from the corn is then picked up by masses of bees, which are then used to spread the virus. Unfortunately for the makers of the movie, corn is a grass and like all grasses is pollinated by the wind. Corn does not offer any nectar for insect pollination and bees would not have any affinity for corn. It is true that corn plants are prolific pollen producers; however, the pollen is primarily carried by the wind. Assuming that the alien virus actually existed, using a bee/corn symbiosis to propagate the disease causing agent would not be feasible.
Broom corn is not a true corn. Looks and grows like corn but develops no ears. Unique seed heads used in dried arrangements. Seeds can be combed off the 24-36" seed heads after drying to make straw brooms. To use complete seed heads in crafts, harvest with a good knife or pruners. Bunch loosely and hang upside down for several weeks to dry. Separate chafe-like material by thrashing bunches against something solid. This unique ornamental corn matures 105 days from seeding in the field.
|Plant Types:||Annual, Grass, Vegetable|
|Height:||5 feet to 10 feet|
|Width:||6 inches to 1 foot|
|Bloom Color:||White, Yellow|
|Bloom Seasons:||Early summer, Mid summer, Late summer, Early fall, Mid fall, Late fall|
|Fertilizer:||Blood Meal, Fish Emulsion, High-Nitrogen Fertilizer, Poultry Manure, Steer Manure, Water Soluble Veggie Plant Food|
|Want to know where Ornamental Corn will thrive in your house or garden? The EasyBloom Plant Sensor will give you a plant's-eye view of your environment to measure soil, sunlight, temperature and humidity.||
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Sweet corn requires substantial space to grow. Plant the seeds in rows that are 3' apart. Baby corn requires less room when planting. They need roughly 4" of space in between seedlings. Organize the corn plants in several rows as opposed to a single row. This will provide for better pollination and therefore fuller ears of corn. It is important not to plant ornamental corn or popcorn close to sweet corn. Cross pollination can affect the taste of the sweet corn.
Sweet corn is harvested when the silks start to whither and the ears are plump. For a more precise test, you can peel back some of the husk of an ear of corn. Apply pressure with your finger to one of the kernels until it pops. If the resulting juice is milky then it is ripe for the picking. If the juice is transparent and clear, the ear of corn is immature. If the insides of the kernel have the consistency of dough, the ear of corn is past its prime. The sugar in sweet corn quickly converts to starch as soon as it is harvested. The less time from harvest to consumption, the sweeter the ear of corn will be. For ornamental corn and popcorn, the ears of corn are harvested when the ears have fully matured. The husks around the ear will have desiccated and have the same color of straw. Cut the ear from the corn stalk with about 2" of stalk. Pull back the corn husk and allow it to dry.
Corns thrive in heat and full sun. There are some cultivars of corn that do not have a high heat requirement. Corn can be grown year round in climates that are warm year round (for example Hawaii). In cooler climates the plants can be propagated around 2 weeks after threat of the last frost.
Corn plants have separate male and female flowers that are called tassels and silks, respectively. The 2 types of flowers are borne on the same plant (with the male flowers at the apex of the stalk and the female flowers situated halfway from the top). Corn is not grown for its flowers, however. The resulting fruits develop underneath husks on what is called ears of corn.
Corn can survive in most soil types, but does best in rich and deep soils. Provide regular water, but especially when the tassels emerge and then again when the silks emerge. These irrigation events need to be deep and thorough enough to wet the entire root zone.
Corn plants love nitrogen. Feed with a fertilizer that is heavy on the nitrogen when the plants are a little over 1' tall and then again when they reach 2.5' tall.
Do not prune any suckers that may form.
Corn plants are susceptible to many different pests, but the primary insect pest is the corn earworm. Many growers can come to expect that the tips of their ears of corn will have some damage. There is a way to help prevent herbivory damage. One week after the silks emerge put 2 drops of mineral oil at the tips of each ear where the silk is emerging. This helps to keep the corn earworm in check and will prevent and infestation. Unfortunately, this should be done with every ear of corn, which can be exceedingly tedious.