Friday, April 5, 2013

Weekend Gardening: Corn

   Summer truly starts for me when corn stalks stretch their tassels toward the sky- majestically waving against the blue. Childhood memories unfold as shoes slip from my feet allowing my toes the freedom to wiggle down in the hearty soil between the rows. Slipping into the field, a treasured hymn signs in my heart be thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart.
    Planting corn requires vision. Vision and faith, for it is no small feat. Corn needs space for at least four rows, otherwise pollination may be incomplete resulting in misshapen ears and lack luster taste. To prevent mass harvest, succession planting is our plan. This keeps corn coming every couple weeks; perfect for weekend grilling. Southern gardeners are greatly blessed with long seasons for corn..spring and fall. We have planted and harvested from both with great success.
    A few terms to know- dent and sweet. Dent corns are primarily for drying or grinding into meal. These corns yield dense kernels on long ears, dry well, and have a good storage life. We have grown the Texas Gourdseed, and Navajo Dent. Ours were harvested and dried 'open air' style for use in our feed. Sweet corns are primarily eating corn yielding tender, plump kernels on shorter ears. Excellent for canning and freezing, we have grown large plots of Texas Honey June, Super Sweet 100, and Bodacious/Silver Queen. Ears were quickly cleaned and frozen after harvest to ensure their fresh taste was preserved and maintained. Many end up on the grill or the skillet for a spicy saute.

     The bare facts:
Corn is planted no less than four rows seeding 12" apart. 
Being tall with shallow roots, it benefits well to tied it for support. 
Regular applications of fertilizer required as this is a heavy feeder.
Corn is wind pollinated- without wind, walking through brushing a hand across stirs the stalks to distribute the pollen. 

Dent varieties:
Texas Gourdseed
black Aztec
Louis Miller
Sweet varieties:
Texas Honey June
Super Sweet 100
Silver queen

    On a homestead, no part of corn is ever wasted. Stalks are fodder for the herd, silks and husks are enjoyed by the flock..even the space between the rows is put to use. Our family grows our corn 'three sisters' style, placing runner beans along the stalks and melons, pumpkins, or squash between the rows. Next week we will take a closer look at the three sisters history and method. Have a blessed weekend, and let's grow something wonderful!


Lisa said...

I wish I had the space to grow my own corn. It's hard to find non GMO corn today and I love to put corn up in the freezer each year. Thanks for all the tips!

Michelle said...

It's to early here to plant corn. I did rehydrate some corn I dried last year for the chickens. I'll start mine around the middle of may,weather meriting.