Sunday, July 13, 2008

Cornsilk extravaganza!

(Holy tamale!)
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Kindly forgive my wee obsession with corn. I've not had a lot of experience growing the stuff, city gal that I am. But look at the color of that silk. Cowabunga. It started out pale and took on this hue a day or so ago.
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So far, I have 5 of these beautiful silky bundles. I hope I don't run out of corn pollen any time soon, but it's been mighty windy in these parts. In really big cornfields that's a non-issue, but I have exactly 8 stalks, and they're all equally exposed to my often intense third-floor wind situation.
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Your corn lesson for today: Every single individual silk is connected to a single proto-kernel on the ear, tucked inside the husk. Each individual silk needs just one grain of pollen to land on it, so it can pollenate and form into a mature kernel (pollen comes from the tassels on the top of the stalks). Otherwise, the corn doesn't form properly and you'll get dwarfed, incomplete ears.
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Corn lesson over. Go do something fun and restful, it's Sunday!

11 comments:

Carolyn said...

Thanks for the corn lesson. I didn't know any of that!

Wildside said...

Gorgeous! (Trying to comment yet again, let's see if this takes!)

Robbyn said...

Hey, I didn't know that! We save corn tassells (call me crazy) for making a natural diuretic tea. If you have pesticide-free corn, when you harvest and shuck the corn, we pull off the tassel cluster all at one time and trim off the dark brown part (though it's probably fine to use, too). Then you can either dry the tassels or use them fresh...one bunch steeped in a mug of hot water makes a lightly-grassy-tasting tea (you can add your favorite tea bag, the flavor's not overwhelming and can be flavored with any other favorite tea ingredient)...it makes a very effective and GENTLE natural diuretic. Cool, huh?

PJ said...

Do bees figure in to all of this or is this a mainly wind-driven form of pollination? Can you pollinate the tassels yourself? Enquiring minds want to know because our corn did not do well and now, I'm seeing things differently...

Cassie said...

That was very educational know I know why there wern't any kernals at the tips of my corn last year

Such a beautiful colour too.

Kate said...

What a beautiful colour...even if the corn doesn't develop properly you still have the beauty!

ilex said...

Pj, corn is mainly wind- pollinated, with a bit of help from native pollenators. I hand-pollinate my squashes and cukes because I can't be count on honeybees 'round these parts; I've also been running a paintbrush along the corn leaves and dusting the results over the silk.

Madam Robbyn, do you mean the silk on the tip of the ear, or the tasssels at the top of the stalk? I'm a bit confused.

Rabbits' Guy said...

I thought I used to sort of understand this blog, but boy, lately .. it is pretty corny. :<)

I still believe that patio/deck/lanai there has collapsed down a few floors from all the weight of the goods!

FRITZ said...

Also: corn silk mixed with lead makes a very nice facial powder.

Oh! Wait, we don't live in a world where makeup would be tainted with lead. For Heaven's sake...color me yellow and call me a zucchini.

Verde said...

Wow, I never knew that about corn silk! What color - beautiful.

Amanda said...

I'm envious. Mybe corn is in my future after all.