Corn – preventing cross-pollination

Q: I am a organic gardener and would like to know if you plant pop corn next to the regular corn will it cross-pollinate and ruin my corn crop?

A: Unlike other vegetables, the taste of corn is affected by the pollen an ear receives. For squash, beans, tomatoes and others, the taste of future crops is affected but not the current one. In your case, it depends on what you want. If you want good sweet corn, popcorn planted nearby will cause the sweet corn to be a little less sweet. On the other hand, if you want good popcorn, cross-pollination won’t affect the popping ability of the corn but it may taste a bit more “corny”.

However, there is a way around your problem. Plant your two corn crops a couple of weeks apart. In this way they won’t be shedding pollen at the same time and you’ll likely get a good harvest of both kinds of corn.

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