Oh no - you need more than one? See, I have a stalk out by my mailbox - and it got to be about a foot high, so I left it alone. It was an accidental planting - I think from some birdseed I spilled back in spring.
So - I won't get any actual corn from this volunteer stalk?
I'm not sure if one corn stalk can self-pollinate, but as for a few stalks, it's really easy to hand pollinate to help ensure that you get full ears. All you need to do is take a few tassles from the top of the stalks (not the whole tassle, just a couple of strips--and make sure that the pollen is mature) and rub them on the emerging silks on the individual ears. Do this every couple of days for a week or two and you should have nice, full, yummy ears come harvest time!
BTW, hey ItyBty-if you do get mature corn off of your mailbox volunteer don't boil it up and try to eat it! It won't hurt you, but it sure won't be very tasty since it's feed corn, not sweet corn. The starch in feed corn doesn't convert to sugar and it would be kind of like biting into little kernals of library paste, but without the yummy aftertaste
. Just leave the whole stalk out there to dry (it'll look fab come Halloween/Fall when all of your neighbors will think that you did it on purpose
) and let it die back and the ears will start to dry. Chances are, the critters will get to them before you do, but if not, you can husk the ears and leave them out for the squirrels or racoons. My aunt discovered this "happy accident" a few years back, and now she plants a bit of feed corn out by her mailbox every year. She thins them out to about 3 stalks in a clump and them plans sweet peas or morning glories for summer color. in the fall the flowers die back and the corn decorates for Fall. Add a hay bale and couple of pumkins and you'll have the best Fall curb appeal in the neighborhood!
Where I grew up, detassling and pollinating the corn was a BIG job for the kids who were under 16 years old and couldn't get 'real' jobs. Pay was pretty decent. I never did it b/c i was allergic to corn pollen, but from what I understand, they'd go through the fields and cut off the tassles. They'd go back a few weeks later and drop pollen onto the corn. Don't know if it was the same pollen or crosspollen.
Well - DH got a wee bit behind on teh lawn mowing, and between that and my insane rouge punkin vines, under the birdfeeder are 12 more feed corn stalks. I'm going to let em grow and feed the squirrels.