For some folks this may be common knowledge, but I have decided to post some general information on how corn pollinates. I also wanted to include some tips on how I assure proper corn pollination for my home garden.
Corn has a male and a female part and both are needed during pollination just like any plant. The tassel (male) forms at the top of the corn plant, and the silk (female) forms in the middle to lower portion of the plant. The pollen forms on the male tassel in what looks like grains of rice. The grains of rice are what contain the actual pollen inside them and they are called anthers. Mother Nature uses wind to blow the pollen from the anthers on the tassel and hopefully it lands on a corn silk to complete pollination. This is why it is preferable to plant corn in blocks in a home garden rather than one long row. With one row plantings of corn, there is a good chance the wind would just blow your pollen away from the plants. Each silk on an ear of corn is connected to one corn kernel on the ear and all must be pollinated for the kernel to fully form.
Some people hand pollinate their corn by shaking the stalks, but I prefer actually running my hand across the tassel to collect some pollen anthers in my hand. I then sprinkle them into the silk on the lower portion of the plant. This works great for small gardens assuming you have the time and are tall enough to reach the pollen on the tassel of the corn stalk. I am 6' 2'' so this is not a problem for me. I like this method better than just shaking the plants because I have found the wind will blow the grains of pollen away from the plant while shaking.
For an even more detailed description on corn pollination, see the link below.
Up close view of pollen anthers on tassel
To self pollinate, run hands across tassel to grab some pollen anthers
Then sprinkle them in your corn silks to aid in pollination
Close up of corn silk after hand pollinating
Here is a shot of my corn, 4x8 bed of Peaches and Cream, 72 plants