Tin Can Tomatoes and Two Corn Ears

“Is the time to germinate part of the growing time for corn? Do tomaos need sunlight to ripen. I want to experiment with forcing different shapes for tomatos (like growing inside an inverted tin can)? Is the IOCHIEF the only 2 ears on one stalk you sell? ~M.”


The days to maturity for corn is derived to include a 7 day window for corn to germinate.  If the corn takes fewer or more days to germinate, then the days to maturity will be less or more, respectively.

Tomatoes do need a little bit of sunshine to ripen, but it has to be in the right aspect.  The fruit itself is damaged by direct sunlight.  When a tomato fruit is green, it contains tissue components that will develop into lycopene and hormones initials that will develop into ethylene, a naturally occurring plant hormone that allows the tissues to soften during ripening.  If the fruit is in the sun while developing, these tissues will be damaged by UV rays.  It is important to keep the fruits covered by leaves to protect them.  Once the fruit begins to ripen, sunlight is important to the leaves, as they will be using the energy from the sun to create sugars that are transported to the fruit to sweeten it.  So, indirectly, sunlight is needed when ripening tomatoes.

If the tomato has ‘blushed’ (has streaks of red), it can be ripened in a sunny windowsill.  The sugars have already been transported by this time and the glass will block the UV rays.

This entire process is the reason why tomatoes that you see in the store are pink and hard instead of red and soft.  The fruit was picked too green and was not allowed to have the sugars transported to the fruit or the hormone initials for the ethylene to form.  Instead, the fruit is gassed with ethylene gas.  Being that it only hits the exterior of the fruit, it ripens the skin, but not much more.  Thus, you have a underripe, cardboard-tasting, pink tomato.

A tomato should grow in a can or other shaped item.  The only thing you want to watch for is that the tomato stays relatively dry inside the can.  If moisture from precipitation events or dew gets in there and doesn’t dry in a reasonable amount of time, it is possible that it could allow fungal and bacterial growth that will damage the fruit.

Under good growing conditions, most hybrid corn varieties have two ears.  If the plants become stressed from extremes of precipitation, temperature, or wind, the yield may be decreased to one ear and one sucker or just one ear.


© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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