Corn should be planted in the spring, when the soil has had a chance to warm up. If planted in cool soil, the seeds will not germinate and will rot in the ground. Plant in rows about 6″ apart and rows between 24″ to 36″ apart, depending on your cultivation method. It is better to plant at least four rows in a block rather than one or two long rows because corn is wind pollinated and the block of rows gathers more pollen than does a long row. Signs of lack of pollination are unfilled sections on the cob. Sweet corn should be harvested when the kernels are colored and when you pop a kernel, a watery white juice flows out. The silks will usually be brown at this time but keep a close watch as open pollinated sweet corn moves fairly rapidly from the milk stage to dough where it is tougher and no longer good to eat.
Flour or cornmeal corns should be allowed to dry as thoroughly as possible on the stalk. Ideally, the husks will be dry and tan and rattle in the wind. But sometimes fall rains or predatory birds will make it necessary to pick the ears a bit sooner, husk the ears and lay out or hang in the protection of an indoor porch or garage to finish drying. Without husking the piled ears of corn will mold. Once the kernels are dry, you can shell the corn and store it in an airtight container for later use.
Corn is wind pollinated so different varieties of corn which shed their pollen at the same time, within up to a mile, will cross. So only grow one variety of corn each year unless they pollinate at different times. For instance, many field corns pollinate much later than do early sweet corns or many early flour corns.
Last fall, Will sent three of our corns in to Dairyland Labs in Wisconsin for testing. The results were astounding, especially as run-of-the mill, GMO field corn which is ground into “store” cornmeal, etc. runs about 7% protein. Check out the results in the different corn varieties for a surprise!
CORN about 2 0z per pack
Painted Mountain If you’re looking for a pretty “Indian” corn to display or grind into cornmeal that is also early, this is the one for you! Even with our wet, short, cool summer, we harvested lots of mature Painted Mountain and enjoyed husking cobs to discover simply gorgeous color combinations! It averages 8-12 rows of multi-colored flint kernels on 7-8″ cobs. 85 days to dry, mature corn.
Bear Island Chippewa ancient corn from Northern Minnesota.
Bear Island Chippewa This very old, extremely rare Ojibwa flint, flour corn from Northern Minnesota is simply wonderful! It is colored much like Painted Mountain but runs a bit more to the gold, bronzes and reds. Also, the cobs and kernels are larger. 8-10 rows of large, fat kernels. It makes very good cornmeal with a sweet flavor. Best of all, it’s early and hardy. 85 days to mature, dry corn. 11.73% protein! 1 1/2 oz per pack
Burro Mountain Anasazi Popcorn
Burro Mountain Anasazi Popcorn We were gifted a cob of this very ancient popcorn two years ago. Last year our cow ate our planting! Luckily, I still had over half a cob left so this year I again planted it (with a better fence in place!). Despite a horrid growing year, it did very well, producing at least one nice cob and sometimes three cobs on each six foot plant. The kernels are white and pointed as are many very old corns. And it does pop, although much smaller “pops” than modern popcorn. But the flavor is sweet and nutty. You can also grind this corn for cornmeal. We love growing history in our garden and I think you will too! 1 ounce per pack as the kernels are small. 95 days to mature
Dakota Black Popcorn
Dakota Black Popcorn Here’s a great heritage corn which is not only beautiful in fall displays and decorations but it tastes nutty as popcorn or ground into cornmeal. Shining, pointed black kernels fill these five inch cobs to the tip. This is a very productive corn and I think you’ll love it. 95 days to mature 1 oz per pack as the seeds are small
Glass Gem popcorn We read the raves of this gorgeous Cherokee-bred corn on the internet and in Farm Show Magazine and decided to try it. WOW. The plants are 9′-10′ tall and stool out with six or so tillers so you end up with a jungle of a plant. And most tillers produce ears too. We harvested an average of four ears per plant of 5″-6″ cobs of tiny-seeded corn. But wait! That corn comes in such a variety of colors you seldom see in “Indian” corn; pink, lavender, purple, mauve. And the kernels are glistening colors like little pearls. Very nice. And you can pop it. (No the typically white fluff of the popcorn isn’t colored in Glass Gem; just the hulls.) Or you can grind it into cornmeal if you wish. One ounce per pack (as the seeds are small) 100-110 days.
Early Pink Popcorn
Early Pink popcorn I was tickled pink when I shucked the first of this corn in our new Sand Garden! Those nice 5′ high plants were sturdy, each bearing two 5″ ears of the most gorgeous pink kernels you can imagine. And they were quite early too, which is a plus for we Northern gardeners. Not only can you grind this corn, as it was traditionally done, but it pops very nicely too. Very nutty and rich tasting fluffy white puffs. 90 days 1 oz package
Navajo Robin’s Egg Blue
Navajo Robin’s Egg Blue This is a gorgeous flour corn, grown for generations by the Navajo Nation. My friend, Dara, grew out this wonderful corn this year for us. The colors are fantastic, being mostly blue and purple with white and plenty of speckles. Not only is this corn beautiful but it is tasty too when ground into cornmeal. We love it! 110 days As we have a limited amount this year, we have to limit the packages ordered to one with 1 oz per pack.
Seneca Round Nose We really like this old, Native corn from the Seneca tribe. The cobs are big and fat with 8-10 rows of large kernels of white corn, sometimes tinged with red like you smeared lipstick over them. The plants are very well rooted, tall and sturdy. It’s good for roasting ears if you pick it in the milk stage but like other old-timey corns it does quickly get tough so be on your toes. This corn can also be used for cornmeal. 9″ ears 90 days. Tested at 12.34% protein! 1 1/2 oz Limit 1 pack this year; crop failure due to too much rain.
Seneca Sunrise This is a sweet corn developed by Will after years of breeding. It is sweet, has fat 81/2″ cobs with 14-16 (or more) rows. A great mid-season corn that will even dry down in the field here in Northern Minnesota. This dry corn not only makes great seed for next year but grinds very nicely for nutty, sweet cornmeal. As there is absolutely no corn grown within miles of us, you can be sure it has not been contaminated by GMO corn pollen blowing in the wind. Tested at 11.33% protein and a whopping 33.32% sugar! 67 days
Yukon Supreme If you need an early corn, this is the one for you! It came in about five days before Seneca Sunrise although it was not as sweet and flavorful in our opinions. But it did make nice six inch cobs, two or more per stalk full of nice yellow, corn flavored sweet kernels. There is some variation as it is not quite stabilized and a few cobs will have bi-colored kernels. But as far as we know, it’s the earliest corn out there worth eating. 62 days or less. 2 oz packet SORRY BUT WE’VE RUN OUT; GIVE SENECA SUNRISE A TRY. IT’S JUST A VERY FEW DAYS LATER THAN YUKON SUPREME