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Thursday, April 26, 2012

He Who Walks Behind the Rows

For the record, I like corn.

Now that we have that out of the way, I plant several types of corn. Blue dent, bloody butcher, sweet corn and popcorn. I use them for feed as well as in my kitchen. I am partial to the dent corn myself.

But how? How can you grow so many types of corn without cross pollination problems?

Ah yes, that conundrum. Many tell you that corn must be separated a half mile to a full mile to prevent cross pollination. I have a large garden but not that big. Large, edible sunflowers have become my secret to many garden dilemmas. For starters, plant your corn in blocks rather than rows. This will allow the corn to pollinate each other by brushing up against one another ( hmmmm corn gropping) rather than relying on wind or bugs. Then plant the sunflowers to help block any potential wind carried cross pollination. I have been able to do this successfully for several years, and have seen no change in my corn.

I also plant in clay, without adding topsoil. Clay soil has lots of good in it, large plants thrive well in it. After several years of planting corn and sunflowers, and tilling under the stalks, my clay soil changes and small seed crops can then be grown there. A tip, if you fish, throw the leftovers from you cleaned fish at the base of your corn stalks. They love it.

Corn is another easy to grow food, as I said earlier, popcorn is a mainstay in traditional homesteads. Just don't bunch them up together as I have seen other suggests. The quality and quantity of corn you get is greatly reduced. These plants do fight, and none tend to win. You will end up with very small cobs and kernels, not worth seed saving.

Baby oil rubbed on the is as soon as they appear, does greatly reduce the amount of worms eating through your corn cobs.

I have a post on the nutritional values and why I think organizations warning people off raising their own corn is hog wash, over here. Becuase I feel most people merely tell you what they think you want to hear and what might sell their books. And if you click on the link at the top of my blog, recipes, you will find several ways to prepare corn.


johnnyb said...

How big of blocks do you plant?

Phelan said...

I plant 4 to 6 rows of 20 to 26 plants. Then surround the outside in a double row of sunflowers.

Phelan said...

Baby oil rubbed on the silk, is what that should read. I am looking forward to being able to edit without losing everything. Sigh, oh blogger what have ye done?

Liesl Garner said...

Cannot wait - we are just beginning and have little sprouts for everything. Nothing really in the ground yet except peas. In Southern Oregon we've been warned not to plant until late May even June - so chomping on the bit a bit!! Love your blog!

Phelan said...

Here in south central Kansas, it's April 23rd. But I wait until after the first of May to plant peppers and tomatoes. We have learned from experience that even in May we can get killing frosts.

And thank you!

Flier389 said...

Kathi and I have talked about trying to grow some corn and beans of some type. Only problem is that we don't have a large area to grow things. Most of our garden is square foot gardening.

I'm with you. I love corn.

Phelan said...

Flier, try getting some hybrids that produce up to four ears. You don't have to plant as many of them, and they work well with the three sisters planting method. (hybrids and GMO's are different) and I love the outfit. You rock the hippy look.

Flier389 said...

I had all kinds of tie-dye things as a kid. I'm hoping for a come back. Plus, I've been called a old hippy several times over the years.

Kathi and I will see what we can do for growing us some corn. Thanks for the info.

Wendy said...

I grow popcorn. The first time I did, I thought I'd failed on growing corn, but I dried the cobs anyway. Then, in the spring, I was taking the kernels off the cob, and I realized what I had ... I popped some up immediately. Wow! It was such a cool experience.

I don't have enough space to grow sweet corn, but using the 3 Sisters technique, I can grow a bit of popcorn in with my hubbard squash and beans, and everyone is happy.

Popcorn is one of my favorite foods. I often eat it for breakfast ... and lunch ;).

Phelan said...

Popcorn is a favorite around here as well.

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