Is it normal for corn to have multiple ears in one place?

Is it normal for corn to have multiple ears in one place?

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I have (out of a mistake) one corn plant in my greenhouse and it made 4 cobs in one place. Is that normal?! I never saw something like this before.

This is an example of "bouquet ears", or, what Rob Nielsen coined in his 1999 paper2 as "MESS Syndrome" (Multiple Ears on Same Shank).

Although not a regular occurrence, MESS syndrome is not unusual. According to Nielson in an online article in 2014 [my emphasis included]:

The fact that multiple ears sometimes develop from a single ear shank is not, in and of itself, physiologically unusual. Ear shank development essentially replicates the developmental pattern of the main stalk of the plant.

  • The ear shank is comprised of nodes and internodes just like the main stalk (Fig. 7).
  • Each node of an ear shank develops a leaf just like the main stalk, although we add the adjective "husk" to describe them.
  • The ear shank terminates with a reproductive organ (the female ear), akin to the main stalk terminating with a reproductive organ (the male tassel).
  • Secondary ear shoots can develop from individual nodes of the ear shank just like secondary ear shoots develop from individual nodes of the main stalk.

Normally, hormonal apical dominance exhibited by the primary or apical ear on an ear shank (or simple competition for photosynthates) suppresses the initiation or development of secondary ears at lower shank nodes. However, under certain conditions or with certain genetic backgrounds, one or more secondary ear shoots not only initiate successfully, but also continue to develop to the point that their presence is clearly noticeable. While the appearance of one or more additional ear shoots with silks emerging from lower husk leaves may not be attractive, I do not believe there is any real detriment to the plant by their existence as long as the primary ear is "normal".

Bonnet (1966)1 described this phenomenon in the 1960s and reports of occurrences happen periodically. In 2006, Nielson3 coined the "bouquet" terminology to describe multiple reports of out-of-proportional growth of multiple ears from single shanks in numerous midwestern farms.

  • According to Nielson:

    The common factor in affected fields was some sort of damage to the development of the primary ear prior to or during silking that seemed to "set loose" the continued development of the secondary ears on the same ear shank.

An Ohio State University article suggests that the cause of this phenomenon is unknown, but Nielson is probably the expert:

Some hybrids may be genetically prone to developing multiple ears on a single ear shank. A threshold genetic trait may be triggered by particular stress events that occur during primary ear formation. Dr. Bob Nielsen at Purdue University has proposed that more than one external “trigger” may enable the development of multiple ears to occur on these hybrids. He has observed that the “bouquet” effect is more prevalent and severe in late plantings where silk clipping by rootworm beetles prevented kernel set on the primary ear (i.e., possibly minimizing or negating apical dominance against secondary ears).

You can see an image of a buoquet from one of Nielson's studies below:

Source: Purdue Dept of Agronomy; Credit: Bob Nielson (2014)

1 Bonnet, O.T. 1966. Inflorescences of Maize, Wheat, Rye, Barley, and Oats: Their Initiation and Development. Univ. of Illinois, College of Ag., Agricultural Expt. Sta. Bulletin 721.

2 Nielsen, R.L. 1999. What A MESS! (aka Multiple Ears on a Single Ear Shank). Corny News Network, Purdue Univ.

3 Nielsen, R.L. 2006. A Problem with “Bouquets”. Corny News Network, Purdue Univ.

CHARGE syndrome is caused by mutations in the CHD7 gene in the majority of cases. Almost all mutations in affected individuals are de novo , which means they occur for the first time as new mutations and are not inherited from a parent. However, autosomal dominant inheritance with transmission from parent to child has been reported in rare cases. [3] [4] [5]

The CHD7 gene provides instructions for making a protein that most likely regulates gene activity (expression). Most mutations in the CHD7 gene lead to the production of an abnormally short, nonfunctional CHD7 protein, which is thought to disrupt the regulation of gene expression . Changes in gene expression during embryonic development likely cause the signs and symptoms of CHARGE syndrome.

About one-third of individuals with CHARGE syndrome do not have an identified mutation in the CHD7 gene. The cause is unknown in these individuals, but researchers suspect that other genetic and/or environmental factors may be involved. [5]

Corn Growing Problems: Troubleshooting

To come to harvest quickly corn requires warm temperatures, rich soil, and even, regular watering. Corn is wind-pollinated so planting in blocks or multiple rows to ensure pollination is important.

To come to harvest quickly corn requires warm temperatures, rich soil, and even, regular watering. Corn is wind-pollinated so planting in blocks or multiple rows to ensure pollination is important.

Here is a troubleshooting list of possible corn growing problems with control and cure suggestions: (Read to the bottom of this post for corn growing success tips.)

Corn Problems and Solutions:

• Corn does not emerge. Soil may be cold or damp. Plant later when the soil and temperatures are warmer make sure soil is well-draining by adding aged compost and organic matter to soil.

• Insides of seed and young plants are eaten. Corn wireworm or the seed corn maggot is eating the seed. The corn wireworm is the larvae of the click beetle the click beetle is reddish brown or black to ¾ inches long. Wireworms are brown or yellow and leathery to 1½ inches long. The seed corn maggot is a yellowish-white legless maggot, the larvae of a fly. The maggot feeds on the inside of sprouting seed. Cultivate the planting bed in fall to expose larvae to birds. Spade the corn bed and let it lie fallow every third season. To trap: use pieces of potato on a spike setting them 2 to 4 inches into the soil check the traps twice a week. Pick and destroy wireworms and maggots from the potato.

• Seedlings are cut off near the soil surface. Cutworms are gray or brown grubs that hide in the soil by day and feed at night. Handpick grubs from the soil at the base of plants. Remove weeds and keep the garden free of plant debris. Place a 3-inch cardboard collars around the stems of seedlings and push the collars 1 inch into the soil.

• Seedlings are uprooted. Crows and birds will pull up seedlings to feed on seed. Cover seedlings with bird block or row covers until they are established.

• Stalks fall over. European corn borers are grayish pink caterpillars with dark head (more below) they can tunnel through stalks and weaken them. Use Bacillus thuringiensis and garden cleanup to control borers. Too much nitrogen also can leave stalks lush and green but weak. Test soil. Adjust fertilization. Avoid using fertilizers too rich in nitrogen. Feed plants with aged compost.

• Stalks and leaves deformed, bent over, or may fail to unfurl plants are stunted. Aphids are small soft-bodied insects–green and gray–that cluster on undersides of leaves. Aphids leave behind a sticky excrement called honeydew black sooty mold may grow on honeydew. Spray away aphids with a blast of water use insecticidal soap aluminum mulch will disorient aphids. Aphid predators include lacewing flies, ladybugs, and praying mantis.

• Tiny shot holes in leaves. The corn flea beetle can riddle leaves with small holes and transmit Stewart’s wilt, a bacterial disease that leaves the plant’s vascular system clogged with slime infected plants wilt, become stunted and die. Pick off beetles cultivate the garden to disturb the insect life cycle. Spray with pyrethrum or rotenone.

• Large holes in leaves. Armyworm, corn earworm, various beetles, and grasshoppers eat corn leaves and foliage. Handpick insects and destroy or place them in soapy water. Loss of small amount of leaf tissue will not reduce yields. Plant early corn varieties to avoid armyworms. Use commercial traps with floral lures. Cultivate in the fall to expose larvae.

• Holes in leaves near whorls. European corn borer larvae are light brown to pinkish caterpillars with dark brown heads and dark spots on the body adult moth is light brown with a ¾-inch wingspan. Larvae feed on corn whorls then bore into stalks. They also feed on tassels and kernels. Handpick and destroy larvae. Apply Bacillus thuringiensis. Remove and destroy all infested stalks at the end of the season.

• Leaf edges roll inwards. Soil moisture may be inadequate. Corn makes rapid growth after ears form and begins to mature this requires consistent moisture. Water corn deeply, up to 2 or 3 hours at a time. When soil dries to a depth of 4 inches, water again. Place 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch on planting bed to conserve moisture.

• Leaves are mottled and streaked yellow and green leaves yellow and die along the margins growth is slowed or stunted. Mosaic virus and maize dwarf mosaic virus has no cure. It is spread by beetles. Plant mosaic virus-resistant varieties. Destroy infected plants and keep weeds and grasses down that host aphids beetles. Do not handle healthy plants after infected one.

• Yellow striping on leaves. Stewart’s wilt is a bacterial disease that results in the plant’s vascular system becoming clogged with slime infected plants will yellow, wilt, become stunted, and die. Control flea beetles which spread the disease. Pick off beetles cultivate the garden to disturb the insect life cycle. Spray with pyrethrum or rotenone.

• Leaves have purple margins starting with leaves at the bottom of the plant plant may be stunted. Phosphorus deficiency. Perform a soil test add bonemeal to the top of the planting bed at a rate of 2 to 3 pounds per 100 square feet. Use a commercial fertilizer rich in phosphorus 5-10-5 is good.

• Reddish-brown blisters on the top of leaves and stalks leaves may turn yellow. Rust is caused by a fungus rusty-colored spores grow on the plant. Rust favors warm, humid weather. Plant rust-resistant varieties. Avoid overhead irrigation. Prune away infected leaves.

• Grayish or tan oval spots on leaves. Northern corn leaf blight and southern corn leaf blight are fungal diseases that favor wet conditions. Add aged compost or organic material to planting beds to keep soil well-drained. Avoid overhead irrigation. Keep garden clean of debris and weeds which can harbor fungus spores. Plant resistant varieties.

• Leaves yellow as tassels form. Insufficient nitrogen. Side dress plants with aged compost. Water with compost tea or fish emulsion. Add aged compost to planting beds in advance of planting.

• Gray-white gnarled growths or galls on ears and leaves. Corn smut is a fungus disease. Remove and destroy galls as soon as found when they are still white. Do not allow black powdery spores from galls to fall into soil. Plant resistant varieties. Problem is more common in late harvests.

• Ears only partly filled, silks are chewed short or clipped off. Earwigs, Japanese beetles, and corn rootworm beetles feed on silks which prevents pollination or causes poor kernel development. Check ears daily for earwigs and beetles handpick and destroy. Spray plants with hot pepper and garlic repellant. Place traps around the garden to collect pests. Keep garden free of weeds and debris.

• Incomplete kernel development ears partially filled with ripe kernels shriveled kernels. Each individual kernel must be pollinated kernels that don’t receive pollen will not fill out. Pollen from male tassels must reach the female silks. Several possible causes: (1) Poor pollination can happen when not enough plants are planted plant at least 3 to 4 rows at least 8 feet long. (2) Hot weather or high winds during pollination. Pollen sheds 2 to 3 weeks before harvest. (3) Insufficient soil moisture keep corn evenly moist especially from silking to harvest. (4) Inadequate fertilizer or soil fertility add aged compost to planting beds. Check for potassium deficiency. Plant varieties adapted to your area. (5) Birds are eating kernels put paper bags over ears after pollination.

• Worms eat down through kernels ears look brown and eaten. Corn earworm is a brown-headed caterpillar with lengthwise stripes to 2 inches long the adult is a night-flying moth with brownish or olive wings and bright green eyes. The worm finds its way into the whorl of the corn plant to burrow down and eat developing tassels. Apply 20 drops of mineral oil just inside the ear tip 3 to 7 days after silks first appear. Break off the wormy end of ear and discard. Plant early-maturing varieties to avoid earworms varieties such as ‘Country Gentleman’, ‘Golden Security’, and ‘Silver Cross Bantam’ have long, tight husks. Use commercial traps. Handpick caterpillars and destroy. Dust with Sevin.

• Stalks produce small ears. Plants are spaced too close together plant early varieties at least 8 inches apart space later varieties 12 to 15 inches apart.

• Popped kernels, kernels look like popcorn. Seed coats will sometime break at the weakest point. No cure. Plant another variety.

• Kernels are pink and moldy brown lesions on stalks near joints stalks rotten inside. Fungi can cause rots. Keep garden free of plant debris and weeds that can harbor fungus spores. Remove diseased plants. Make sure soil is well-drained add aged compost to planting beds twice a year. Keep soil evenly moist but not wet.

Corn Growing Success Tips:

Planting. Grow corn in full sun. Corn requires moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Prepare planting beds or planting mounds with plenty of aged compost. Additionally, sprinkle planting beds with nitrogen-rich cottonseed meal or soybean meal, about 3 pounds per 100 square feet. Plant corn in mounds or hills–thin each hill to 3 plants–or in raised beds. Mounds and raised beds warm early in the season and are well drained.

Block planting. Plant corn in blocks or short, multiple rows. Space plants about 15 inches apart with at least 4 rows and at least 4 plants in each row. Block planting will improve pollination corn drops pollen from its tassels down to the silks in the ears below. Planted in a block, corn pollen that drifts on the breeze is more likely to find its way to an ear and silks below.

Plant time. Sow corn in the garden after the last frost in spring it is best to plant corn when the soil has warmed to at least 62°F. Succession plant corn every two weeks for a continuous harvest. Corn can be started indoors 3 to 4 weeks before planting out start seed in biodegradable pots so that roots are not disturbed when transplanted.

Care. Corn requires even, regular watering. Use a soaker hose to keep corn moist, about 2 inches of water each week. Add 1 to 2 inches of mulch between stalks to conserve soil moisture. Side dress corn with aged compost or a balanced fertilizer 1 month after planting and again when the tassels form.

Harvest. Begin picking corn 3 weeks after the first silks appear. When silks brown and begin to dry the corn is ripe. Check the ears to see that they are filled to the tip with kernels. To further test for ripeness, press a kernel with your fingernail, if the juice is milky white the ear is ripe.

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Meiosis Label – look at cells in various stages of meiosis, identify and order
Meiosis Internet Lesson – look at animations of meiosis and answer questions
Meiosis Powerpoint – slideshow covers meiosis, homologous chromosomes, crossing over…

Modeling Chromosomal Inheritance – use pipe cleaners to show how genes are inherited independent assortment, segregation, sex-linkage

Linkage Group Simulation – uses pipe cleaners and beads, students construct chromosomes with alleles and perform crosses, predicting outcomes (advanced)
Karyotyping Online – use a website simulator to learn how to pair chromosomes and diagnose abnormalities
Karyotyping Online II – another simulation on how to construct a karyotype
Chromosome Study – cut out chromosomes and tape them in pairs to construct a “paper” karyotype

Gender and Sex Determination – NOVA explores how sex is determined, and social issues of gender

DNA Powerpoint Presentation – covers the basics for a freshman level class

DNA Coloring – basic image of DNA and RNA
DNA Crossword – basic terms

How Can DNA Replication Be Modeled – students use colored paperclips to model how one side of the DNA serves as a template during replication (semi-conservative)

Transcription & Translation Coloring – shows structures involved, nucleotides, base pair rules, amino acids

DNA Analysis: Recombination – simulate DNA recombination using paper slips and sequences
DNA Extraction – instructions for extracting DNA from a strawberry, very simple, works every time!
DNA in Snorks – analyze and transcribe DNA sequences, construct a creature based on that sequence

How DNA Controls the Workings of a Cell – examine a DNA sequence, transcribe and translate
DNA Sequencing in Bacteria – website simulates the sequencing of bacterial DNA, PCR techniques
Ramalian DNA – imagine an alien species that has triple-stranded DNA, base pair rules still apply
Who Ate The Cheese – simulate gel electrophoresis to solve a crime
HIV Coloring – shows how viral DNA enters and infects a cell

Genetic Science Ethics – survey as a group ethical questions involved genetics (cloning, gene therapy..)
Your Genes Your Choices – this is a more involved group assignment where groups read scenarios about genetic testing and ethics involved.
Genetic Engineering Concept Map – Complete this graphic organizer on various techniques used in genetics, such as selective breeding and manipulating DNA

Virtual Labs and Resources

Genetic Engineering – presentation on cloning, recombinant DNA, and gel electrophoresis
Biotechnology Web Lesson – students explore genetic science learning center ( and discover how clones are made, and how DNA is extracted and sequenced
Genetic Science Learning Center – explore website with animations and tutorials, answer questions

DNA From the Beginning -step by step tutorial on the discovery of genes, DNA, and how they control traits, site by Dolan DNA Learning Center
DNA Fingerprinting – another simulation, this one from PBS, that walks you through the steps of creating a DNA Fingerprint
Cloning – Click and Clone at GSLC where you can read about how clones are made and clone your own virtual mouse

Cyst Symptoms, Signs, and Causes

A cyst is a closed sac-like structure that is not a normal part of the tissue where it is located. Cysts are common and can occur anywhere in the body in people of any age. Sometimes they may be felt as an abnormal or new lump or bump. Cysts usually are filled with air or other gases, liquids such as pus, or semisolid substances like tissue debris or other materials. Since cysts vary in size, they may be detectable only under a microscope or they can grow so large that they displace normal organs and tissues. The outer wall of a cyst is called the capsule.

What Causes a Cyst?

Cysts can arise through a variety of processes in the body, including

  • "wear and tear" or simple obstructions to the flow of fluid,
  • infections,
  • tumors,
  • chronic inflammatory conditions,
  • genetic (inherited) conditions,
  • defects in developing organs in the embryo.

Sometimes you can feel a cyst yourself when you feel an abnormal "lump." For example, cysts of the skin or tissues beneath the skin are usually noticeable. Cysts in the mammary glands (breasts) also may be palpable (meaning that you can feel them when you examine the area with your fingers). Cysts of internal organs, such as the kidneys or liver, may not produce any symptoms or may not be detected by the affected individual. These cysts often are first discovered by imaging studies (X-ray, ultrasound, computerized tomography or CT scan, and magnetic resonance imaging or MRI), often when the imaging studies are done for another purpose.

What Types of Cysts Are There?

There are hundreds of types of cysts that can arise in the body. Some of the more well-known types of cysts are

  • epidermal inclusion cysts, small benign cysts of the skin , in which the ovaries contain multiple cysts , genetically inherited multiple cysts in the kidneys
  • cysts in the breast which are part of benign proliferative ("fibrocystic") disease (fibrocystic breast disease)
  • cysts within the thyroid gland, or other organs such as the liver, kidneys, pancreas, testes, and ovaries
  • dermoid cysts, benign tumors that contain a mix of tissue types (popliteal cyst) behind the knee cysts of the joints and tendons
  • Bartholin cysts, which occur in the small glands that lubricate the vagina
  • pilonidal cysts, cysts that occur on the skin near the cleft of the buttocks
  • cysts that occur in the skin as part of acne (cystic acne)
  • cysts of the glands within the eyelid, termed chalazions
  • sebaceous cysts of the small glands in the skin.

What Signs or Symptoms may be Associated With a Cyst?

The majority of cysts are benign, but some can produce symptoms due to their size and/or location. The symptoms of a cyst depend on the location in the organ affected. For example, ovarian cysts, depending on the cause, can produce menstrual irregularities, pelvic pain and fullness, or painful intercourse. Cysts in the breasts may cause breast tenderness or breast lumps.

Rarely, cysts can be associated with malignant tumors (cancers) or serious infections. If you're concerned about any abnormal swelling or "lump," talk to a doctor. He or she can recommend appropriate diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the cyst.


Harvesting and Storing Corn

The good thing is that it’s easy for gardeners to identify when it’s time to harvest corn. You’ll notice that the tassels on the stalks start to turn brown, and the cobs swell to a larger size. That’s when the kernels are full and milky, the perfect time to pick them off of the stalks.

To remove the ears of corn, pull them down and twist them off of the stalk. You don’t want to pull too hard, or you can break the stalk.


I usually pull up a chair on my back porch, get a big galvanized tub and have a silking party with family.

But I digress, you’ll see where the husks come to a point at the end of the corn. Find a loose leaf and pull straight down toward you. Do this to each leaf of the husk until it is completely removed.

You’ll then have little silky hairs all over the corn. I recommend getting an old toothbrush out and gently rubbing it over the corn to get all of the hairs off.

After you do that, you can cook the corn, can the corn, or freeze the corn.

Storing Corn Properly

If you grow sweet corn varieties, plan to eat them as soon as possible because that variety loses their flavor soon after harvesting. It’s best to preserve them or eat quickly.

You have several options for preservation. Here are a few ideas.

  • Raw corn on the cob stores in the refrigerator for 1-3 days. If you cook the cob first, you can store them for 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
  • You can cook and store the cobs in the freezer for 10-12 months.
  • Another idea is to cook and cut the kernels of corn off of the cobs. Then, flash freeze on a baking sheet. Store all of the kernels in a large plastic bag in the freezer.
  • You can dehydrate corn to be used in soups or other dishes.
  • Canning corn is easy! You could can the kernels whole and plain, or you can make a Mexican inspired canned corn with peppers.

Multiple O's: Why One Orgasm Is Never Enough

"Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!" Those are the words that burst from Cassie Webster's mouth the night she experienced her first multiple orgasm. "That night changed my life forever," recalls the 28-year-old lifeguard from La Jolla, Calif. "I'd had orgasms before, plenty of them. But I never understood what the big deal was. I'd come, he'd come, we'd fall asleep. Then one night, after I'd had my typical one-shot, my boyfriend kept thrusting. All of a sudden, I felt like I was going to come again. I just gave into the feeling, and my body exploded. It was as though I was rocking on the ocean and every wave drove these amazing pulses of pleasure through me." Now, Cassie says once is never enough -- and she's learned how to make multiple orgasms a regular event.

Cassie's not the only one with the potential for plural peaking. You can make multiples part of your sexual repertoire too! "If you can have one orgasm, you can have more than one," insists Barbara Keesling, Ph.D., author of Supersexual Orgasm (HarperCollins, 1997). That's because when it comes to coming, we women have it made. Men -- the poor things -- have what's called a refractory period. (In other words, they need a break -- and sometimes a nap -- between orgasms.) Not so with women: We can ride wave after wave without a time-out. In fact, most women are actually capable of two different types of multiples. (Why not try for both?)

Sequential multiples are a series of climaxes that come fairly close together -- from two to 10 minutes apart -- with a drop-off in your arousal in between. "It's just like riding a roller coaster: You dip down after the first hill before climbing back up another one," explains Susan Crain Bakos, author of Sexational Secrets (St. Martin's Press, 1996). The most common scenario for sequentials: an oral sex climax followed by another climax during intercourse. Serial multiples are an even wilder ride: Your orgasms come one after another, separated by mere seconds with barely any interruption in arousal. "Here you feel wave after wave of pleasure, one on top of the other," says Bakos. You're most likely to have your boat rocked by serials during full-force intercourse as he hits one or more of your hottest spots. So, ready to go from "O" to "OOOOO!"?

Here, Cosmo's eight steps to making your lovemaking a many-splendored thing.

If you're not enjoying multiple orgasms, it's probably because you're simply not seeking them out. Lori, a 27-year-old media buyer from Princeton, N.J., says that her "single-mindedness" was all that was holding her back from having a multiple. "I always assumed I could only come once, so after I had an orgasm, I'd just concentrate on pleasing the guy I was with. Then one night, I was in bed with a new guy, someone who really turned me on. Even after I came I was really aroused, so I tried to have a second one just for the hell of it. And I did! Now I have multiples at least half the time."

Bonus tip: If you always stop after one orgasm because your genitals become hypersensitive to the touch, try waiting 10 to 15 seconds, and then resume stimulation. "You'll be astonished at how quickly you come again," assures Bakos.

Whether you're going for your first orgasm or your fourth, starting a sexual encounter with oral sex may be all it takes to ring your bell repeatedly. "I've found that for most women, the most successful way to have multiple orgasms is to receive oral sex before having intercourse," says Bakos.

One oral-sex technique he should try: The Flame. Your lover can set you on fire by imagining the tip of his tongue is a fluttering candle flame and moving it rapidly around the sides of the clitoris, above and below it, as a flame would flicker. "It's a combination of varied and repeated stimuli, and almost everyone will respond quickly to that," she insists. Since this is a technique for your man to use, we suggest you leave this magazine lying open in a spot where he won't be able to miss it (like underneath the remote).

For some women, the G-spot -- a highly excitable area in the vagina -- is the secret to having orgasmic encores. Kathy, a 30-year-old aerobics instructor from Syracuse, N.Y., says her climaxes before she discovered the G-spot were anticlimactic. "I never believed the articles I read about the existence of the G-spot until the night my husband and I accidentally found it," says Kathy. "He was thrusting really slowly and deeply. At first, I almost felt like I had to pee, and then all of a sudden, this unbelievable sensation washed over me. He stayed right there inside me and I just kept on coming. I must have had more than seven orgasms in the span of minutes."

Since you can only feel the G-spot when you're aroused -- the area swells with blood and becomes rough and raised -- save searching for it for times when you're feeling frisky. When you're ready, lie on your back and reach your index and middle fingers about two inches into your vaginal canal (your palm should be facing up). Rub the pads of your fingers around the top wall of your vagina. Your G-spot will probably feel like a rough patch about the size of a quarter. The first time you stimulate the G-spot -- which some experts say is directly connected to the orgasm center in your brain -- you'll probably feel like you need to urinate. For most women, that sensation decreases the more the spot is stimulated. If you don't feel anything, don't worry, you and your partner might have more luck (and more fun!) just experimenting until you find it.

The angle of your hips determines both the depth and angle of your lover's penis inside and outside your vagina, so simple adjustments may increase the friction on your hot spots and bring on the multiples. "One night in bed, my boyfriend and I found that if I lifted my rear end off the bed while we were having sex, he could penetrate me much, much deeper," says Kathryn, 31, a pharmaceuticals salesperson from Tulsa, Okla. "Having my hips propped up with a pillow allowed him to hit my G-spot really hard. Suddenly I just started coming and coming -- it was like nothing I'd ever felt before." Tricks to try: Position a pillow under your lower back or ask your man to lift your pelvis so that your vagina is slightly elevated, lower back pushed down. Or have him enter your vagina from behind -- many women find doing it doggie-style makes G-spot stimulation easier.

Keesling says she's found a new trigger site she calls the cul-de-sac deep within the vagina. Located near the cervix, it only becomes accessible to his penis when you become extremely aroused and the muscles around the uterus lift up. To find yours, next time you're making love in the missionary position, lift your legs up in the air and back toward your body. Then suck in your stomach. This combination of moves should allow his penis access. "When my boyfriend and I first tried sex with my knees pulled back toward my ears, I felt his penis hit a very sensitive place inside of me I had never felt before," recalls Sue, a 29-year-old clothing-store manager from Duluth, Minn. "Then I had a tremendous rush of pleasure that radiated through my whole body."

Why waste time toning your tummy when you could be exercising your orgasm muscles? "Studies have shown that the stronger the PC or pubococcygeus muscles -- the ones that contract when you have an orgasm or cut off the flow of urine -- the greater a woman's orgasmic response," says Beverly Whipple, Ph.D., president of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. "So strengthening your PC muscles with exercises called Kegels is the most important thing you can do to improve your chances of having multiple orgasms."

Trudy, a 38-year-old physical therapist from Seattle, can testify to the power of PC exercises. "I was dating my future husband when I heard that doing Kegel exercises could boost pleasure," Trudy recalls. "I started doing 20 of them every day. About a month later, my fiance and I were playing around in bed with different positions, and I suddenly felt a tremendous flood of pleasure. It was as though the most sensation I had previously had was a 3 and this was a 10. Every muscle seemed to contract and release in an unbelievable spasm. Even more unbelievably, the orgasm repeated . and repeated. That was all it took to make me a Kegel believer!"

To start your own Kegel routine, squeeze the same muscles you would to control your flow of urine for three seconds, and then relax for three seconds. Repeat 10 times, working your way up to a series of 50, three times a day. "These exercises are great to do during a boring meeting at work," says Whipple with a laugh. "Because they increase blood flow to the genitals, they can get you pretty excited. People will think you're really paying attention because your cheeks will be rosy and you'll have a big smile on your face." And try working out during sex: not only will the extra flexing boost your arousal, it will give him a squeeze he'll never forget.

"You can increase your chances of having a multiple simply by observing all the things that happen involuntarily when you approach orgasm and doing them intentionally," says Keesling. Moaning out loud, breathing faster and harder, and tightening and loosening your pelvic muscles will send your body signals that it's time for another orgasm, and that will make multiples more likely. "Eventually, you may even condition your body to become excited again automatically," she says.

Take it from Tess, a 30-year-old Chicago theater manager: "One night, I had just finished climaxing during sex with my husband, but he was just getting started. I didn't want to just lay there like a log, so I closed my eyes and started making some moaning noises. The more I moaned, the more excited my husband became, so I got even more into it -- breathing heavily and clenching and unclenching the muscles in my pelvis and butt. After about two or three minutes of this, all my playacting actually got me worked up for real! And I had my first orgasmic doubleheader."

Play With Your Peaks
Another way to fool your body into coming back for more is to practice a technique called peaking. "With this technique it's possible to teach your body a new arousal pattern," says Keesling. Think about your excitement on a 1 to 10 scale. A 2 or a 3 is a twinge of pleasure, 4 or 5 is low-level arousal, and by the time you get up to an 8, your heart is pounding, your breath is heavy, and your face is flushed. In peaking, you allow yourself to go up to a 4 or 5, then back off, taking a break from thrusting and stopping all other stimulation while you let yourself calm down for a few seconds. Then go up to a 6 and back off, then a 7 or 8 and back off, and so on. Delaying orgasm in this wavelike pattern not only results in an unusually intense orgasm, it sets you up for a second one because your body anticipates another peak.

If you're trying all these techniques and not getting results, don't despair: "Try tucking away this article and taking it out again in a few years," suggests Bakos. "We're not exactly sure why, but it appears that the closer a woman gets to 30, the likelier it is that she's going to have multiples." And no matter what your age, don't put pressure on yourself to make multiples happen -- that will just be counterproductive. "Relax and focus on the process of making love rather than simply striving for an end result," advises Whipple. "Sex is supposed to be pleasure-oriented, not goal-oriented."

Common Pests and Diseases

Animals will be the biggest pest problem. Corn borers can be kept in check with an organic pesticide such as Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), and by destroying the stalks at the end of the season. Flea beetles spread bacterial wilt. Combat them by planting resistant varieties.

Be on the lookout for a grayish-black fungus called smut. Although some cultures find it a delicious treat, it can kill your corn harvest. Remove and destroy the fungus while young, before the mass bursts and sends the spores everywhere.