Browsing Tag

pollination

Vegetable Garden

Sunday Snap ~ Name the Plant

July 14, 2013

This edible plant is growing in the polytunnel and loving the heat. Do you recognise it? I’m veering away slightly from the usual Sunday Snap by posting two more pictures to help with identification, both belonging to the same plant.

sweetcorn female  closeupIf you’re growing sweetcorn you’ll have seen the soft, silky tassels that develop at the end of the cobs. Every strand needs to receive pollen from the male flowers that grow on the top of the plant. The picture above is a close up of the pollen on the strands.

Sweetcorn Female Flower

Sweetcorn – female flower. Can you see the pollen that’s resting on the tassels after the plant has been shaken?

When grown outdoors, sweetcorn is usually planted in blocks and the wind will help with pollination. In a polytunnel we have to give the pollination process a hand by gently shaking the stems every day. This encourages the pollen to fall from the male flowers onto the silky female tassels which will ensure pollination takes place. If strands are missed, kernels wont develop.

male flowers on a sweetcorn plant

Male flowers on a sweetcorn plant

Growing your own sweetcorn wont provide you with cobs for the whole year as usually each plant will only develop one or two. However, once you’ve taste freshly picked sweetcorn you may never buy another frozen or canned cob again. It’s worth the wait.