Cobs and Kernels
Last week I talked to my Dutch friend Lotte. She had seen the beautiful sweet corn cobs from Bridget’s garden and asked me if I know how it actually grows. To my shame I had to admit that I didn’t. Funnily enough I’d never thought of asking myself this question and it turned out that I should have, because it’s fascinating! Lotte kindly sent me some great drawings that she’d done to illustrate the process and now I understand why my sweet corn crop failed. The seeds I used were old and it took a lot of effort to get them going. The plants are now dying off and when I open the cobs I see that only a few kernels have ripened while the rest are still white…
How does sweet corn grow?
Here’s a translation of Lotte’s captions from Dutch into English:
1. Sowing the sweet corn seed 2. Mid July flowering of the male flower 3. About a week later the female flower emerges from the pit – the corn cob 4. Each corn grain has its own beard hair and when the beard hair gets fertilised a yellow kernel forms 5. An example of a corn grain with its beard hair, before fertilisation.