New to gardening - 2 questions - corn & plant ID

meloncauli-flowerJuly 20, 2012

This is my first year gardening. I made the mistake of not having deep enough raised beds. I planted corn back in... May I think, & It grew to waist length and then stopped it seemed. I realized after they grew a bit that I planted them too close and too shallow. I figured they probably won't produce but I'll leave them in the raised bed anyway. Well the other day I come out and find tassles growing at the tops of these 3 feet corn stalks. I'm amazed, but not convinced they will produce still. I don't see any silks. Do silks form after the tassles? Also, I planted Golden Bantam corn if that makes a difference. I was wondering what others thought as well, do you think this corn will still produce something edible?

Here's some pics of the corn:

My next question is regarding a mystery plant. I saw this growing next to my squash. I could have swore we planted 3 squash seeds, but SO says he remembers planting only 2 hahaha. But whatever it is, it's for sure not squash.

The leaves are velvety soft. It had some lower leaves going up the stem as well, but I wasn't watering adequately and they started dying off. I know the plant is pretty small and more than likely won't be able to tell, but I thought Id ask anyway. I'm really curious about it.

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Welcome to the forum.

With the corn, in normal conditions and circumstances, the tassels emerge first, and then the silks. Then, the pollen falls from the tassels onto the silks and fertilization occurs. It is a one silk/one kernel at a time process that happens multiple times on multiple days until you get a whole ear full or kernels. In an ideal situation with perfect weather conditions, all your silks on all your plants can emerge within about a 3-day period and quickly fertilize. In less than ideal situations, silks may be very erratic or may not appear at all.

During periods of extreme drought, extreme heat or a combination of the two, anything can and will happen, especially for late-planted corn that is tasseling and silking (or attempting to) in extremely hot weather. Some people this year have reported tasseling but no silking, silking but no tasseling and even tassels with corn ears/silk seeming to spring right out of the tassel. Plenty have reported stalks with no silks and no tassels. Such genetic oddities seem to be induced by high heat/low moisture. Heat and drought affect corn pollination and fertilization in different ways. Dry heat is usually worse for corn than humid or wet heat.

It is too hot now for proper fertilization to occur, so even if silks appear, it is unlikely you'll get ears that are filled with edible kernels. The smaller your corn patch, the harder it is to get good tip fill on the ears, and your corn patch is pretty small.

The recommended planting dates for spring corn are March 25th through April 30th (earliest date for SE OK, latest for NW OK and everyone in between can plant somewhere within that range). The recommended planting dates for fall corn are July 1st-15th, with the order being reversed for fall, so the July 1st date is for NW OK and the July 15th date is for SE OK, and everyone else falls into the middle in between the two.

These recommended dates are very important because corn pollinates/fertilizes best when temperatures are not too extremely hot, so you want your spring corn to pollinate and fertilize early before the real heat sets in, and for fall you don't want it to pollinate/fertilize until the air temps have cooled down.

As for the little unknown plant, I think it could be velvetleaf. I've only had it here one year and it took me a while to figure out what it was, but people in other parts of Oklahoma see it more often there than I see it here. Hopefully some of those who see it more than I do can tell you if they think it is velvetleaf. If it is, you probably don't want to keep it and you surely don't want for it to go to seed and reproduce itself in a great quantity. I let it stay in my garden the first year because I thought it was pretty. I then spent the next spring pulling out all its little seedlings. Lesson learned.


Here is a link that might be useful: Corn Pollination & Drought Stress

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 9:48PM
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Looks like velvet leaf to me too. You didn't say where you live, but over here in Adair Co we plant Corn in early and again in mid April--two weeks apart and usually have the corn out of the patch and in the freezer by 4th of July. This year planted and harvested early. Put up corn on Father's Day

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 10:11PM
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Thank you very much, both of you! I really appreciate all the corn info & the velvet leaf suggestion. I'm going to google it now.

I'm in Norman. I got a late start gardening this year and it has been pretty much a flop. But I've learned a lot (and still learning) and plan for a better garden next year.
Thank you again!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 12:03PM
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Chandra is also in Norman and has lots of posts here with photos. He was also a new gardener when he joined a few years ago. It is an inspiration to see how much progress he has made in a short time. A search should bring up his posts.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 4:52PM
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