This is my first time growing this variety. It's Joseph Lofthouse's strain, seed purchased from Experimental Farm Network.
I planted a small patch of 25 plants on May 15th (close to our average last frost date here), not sure what to expect. Nearly 100% germination despite 2 more weeks with nights in the 30s. Now they are the craziest sweet corn I've ever seen, much less grown! They vary from 6-9' tall, and nearly all have 4+ tillers. One plant has no less than 5 ears forming on 3 different stalks. I'm wishing I had planted them further apart, as they might have even produced more! We get some nasty summer thunderstorms with high winds here, and these monster plants haven't even been phased, while my mom's early F1 hybrid sweet corn patch planted a week later was entirely flattened.
I'm delighted if a bit baffled! Has this been other people's experience of AD corn? What's with all the tillers? Is this how it typically grows or is it something different about my humid growing conditions, my soil, the rainfall, something?
Post by keen101 (Biolumo / Andrew B.) on Jul 14, 2020 17:12:03 GMT -5
Sadly I've never grown it, despite swapping lots of seeds (including corn) with Joseph over the years. Now I may need to finally get some! Thanks for the grow report.
The original variety bred by Alan Bishop had a lot of Native American corns in its ancestry, so I imagine many had tillers. Joseph likes to select what thrives for him and that usually means they grow like weeds for others. Haha.
Producing large numbers of side sprouts is a common genetic trait in sweet corn. It is selected against by most sweet corn breeding programs as the side sprouts tend to prevent large ears from forming on the main stalk. However, under drought conditions, the side sprouts feed nutrients into the main stalk which can permit the main stalk to make one or more ears that otherwise would not fill properly.
Standability is determined by several traits. Number of brace roots formed near the soil line directly affects the ability of the stalk to withstand strong wind. Thickness and fibrousness of the stalk also is important. A lot of breeding work has been done to improve standability. Mostly it focused on breeding corn to be no more than 8 feet tall and improving the strength of both brace roots and stalk. As you may guess from the number of side sprouts on your corn, it also forms a large number of brace roots.