Saturday, 1 December 2018

How to grow Sweet Corn at home in containers - Organic gardening tips - Chapter 6

The pleasure of growing different varieties of vegetables, fruits and flowers in our garden organically is unparalleled. The more the merrier. 

From our kitchen, we can take seeds to our garden and bring many a vegetables from our garden to our kitchen. It's a beautiful cycle. While cutting the vegetables, eating fruits, I always keep an open eye and think whether the seed needs to go to the garden. It's a most thrilling experience. A most beautiful and fulfilling creative art.

Today I am going to explain how to grow sweet corn in containers at home. You would be surprised to know how simple it is to grow sweet corns in pots.

Please read my other interesting posts about gardening tips and tricks :

1. Organic gardening method - How to grow veggies in a very very small place
2. Organic gardening medium - How to grow easily without soil and with less water

3. Organic gardening plants - What all the vegetables we can grow in 10x10 area 
4. Organic Manure composting - How to use your kitchen waste directly in your pots to compost and prepare organic manure

5. How to grow and harvest cabbages in containers 

You need to take a pot which it at least 12 inch wide and 12 inch deep. You can sow the seeds procured from the market.
I, on the other hand sowed a matured corn I had at home. In fact I didn't bother even to take out the seeds. I just sowed an entire corn cob into my pot.
It is actually advantageous to sow the entire cob because I will get many plants grown closely side by side and getting more and more male and female flowers side by side gives more yield.

I am growing my corns in organic manure which holds water. So I take care to water it regularly to keep the manure moist. And as explained in many of the gardening posts here, I add my kitchen waste which act as a most nourishing manure. Other than this I don't use any other outside manure.

The plant starts flowering after about 2-3 weeks and gives the yield after about two months. Another interesting fact about growing corn is the pollination. As is well known, every plant gives male and female flowers and bears fruits and vegetables after pollination. The pollination usually happens with the help of air, bees, birds and butterflies. At times we need to do hand pollination. Especially so in case of corn.
Look at this corn plant. The long one on the right side is a male flower and the flower with the silk threads is the female flower. Where as it is generally easy  for the pollination to happen in other vegetables, in case of corn we need to do hand pollination especially when we are growing them in containers. Even in the vast fields the general practice is to do hand pollination because of the number of silks and the fact that each of these silks is connected to individual corn kernel. In case of other fruits and vegetables it involves one male and one female flower, here the pollens from the male flowers need to get connected to not just one flower but to each of the hundreds of silks.

One can't depend on the air or bees for pollination. So each male flower is covered with a paper cover and the pollens connected so would be sprinkled on the female silks. This generally needs to be done in the morning between 9 to 11 AM. Taking the pollens so collected need to be touched to the silks. These silks actually contain a very thin tube inside which is connected to a kernel each.
When we do the pollination, the pollens travel to the base of the silk and the pollination happens within next twenty four hours. This pollination needs to be done at least for five to six days for each ear. The white silky threads turn brown which is the indication of the completion of the pollination of all the silks.

Corn is ready to be harvested as soon as the ears have completely filled out. We can tell when this happens by feeling the end of an ear. If it's rounded or blunt rather than pointed, the ears are ready. The silks also dry up when the ears are almost ready to be picked. Now we can break the corn ear from the corn stalk.

Watch the video I have shared here to understand more about the hand pollination of the corns.