I have 4 types of corn. 2 are heirloom varieties, “festivity” and “truckers favorite”. I would really like to save seed from the festivity because it is a fairly unique variety, having multicolored kernels at the stage when sweetcorn is picked and eaten. Most multicolored corns do not develop color until well past the eating stage. Corn can cross polinate with other varieties from miles away because the pollen is carried on the wind so having pure seed to save and growing other varieties at the same time poses a bit of a challenge. If I have other corn on my tiny property with pollen at the time my festivity corn is being pollenated I will have a hard time getting anything but hybrid seed. There are a couple of different ways to tackle this problem. One is to plant the corn at different times to make sure that the festivity corn is not being pollenated at the same time my other corn is producing pollen. The second way is to cover several ears with bags as they form and do the deed by hand and then recover those ears. I have never tried either method before so I don’t know which is best. When in doubt try everything, right? I am going to try planting just the festivity this week and wait a couple weeks to put in the other varieties. I will probably try hand pollenating a few ears anyway just to help ensure seed purity. Luckily I am not in an agricultural area so there is not as much pollen from outside sources to worry about. Wish me luck because I will not know if it worked for a year and a half! The other corn I bought seed for is hybrid. These 2 varieties are a silver queen hybrid and a peaches and cream hybrid. With hybrids it is nearly impossible to get any seed true to the parent plant but modern hybrids are usually far superior in flavor and production to heirlooms. Corn is one of the few things you will ever hear me say this about. I don’t mind buying some seed every year to have delicious, extra sweet, sweet corn. I am really hoping that my heirloom varieties do well here but planting a diversity seems better to me than just crossing my fingers.
that’s so CORNy April 14, 2013