Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Getting a Better Germination Rate - Corn

Now we just love corn! Sweet corn, popcorn, indian corn... and we switch out which we grow each season. (This is to stop possible cross pollination which can wreck the flavor in your crop.)

If you haven't noticed, corn seed is very hard... like little yellow rocks. In years past we've planted the corn and occasionally went too long in between waterings during the germination period. This caused a few issues. The seeds need to remain moist during this time and missing waterings or watering unevenly had the seeds sprouting at different rates in one series of rows. Example; we'd plant 30 seeds in 3 rows of 10, uneven watering left 10 out 30 stalks 2 weeks immature and perhaps 5 or 6 seeds never germinated. This does make a difference on harvesting since they depend on one another to wind pollinate within those rows. Less stalks come to age at the same time, so pollination rates diminish as well.

So now you see the problem! Now, for the solution.

Soak your corn seeds before planting. Just place what you plan on planting into a cup of room temperature water and allow to soak 12 to 48 hours before planting. The corn will double in volume and be soft to the touch full of water. This will help start germination quickly and you'll notice your sprouts all come up right on time.

This year we've already planted 2 groups of 3 rows 2 weeks apart each. We've had 100% germination and all corn broke ground within a week and within 24 hours of each other. This will make for great timing on pollination and we should have many consecutive harvests the whole summer doing it in this manner.

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