We grew a few types of corn this year mostly for ornamental value. The sweet corn we grew (for potential eating) did not fare very well as I believe it was getting too much shade. The ears on the sweet corn are very small (see the two little ears in the center of the picture above). The sweet corn is called Rainbow Sweet Inca:
A beautiful multicolored corn that was developed by Dr. Alan Kapuler. This sweet corn is wonderful cooked fresh, when the colors are still very pale; delicious real corn flavor. Mature ears are great for grinding into flavorful flour, and are perfect for fall decorations. The kids will love this one. (http://www.rareseeds.com/rainbow-sweet-inca-corn/)
“The kids will love this one” is probably why I picked the variety in 2012. Those Baker Creek catalogue writers sure know how to lure me in! Last year it was not that impressive, but since I can’t resist saving seeds we tried it again this year with the seeds we saved. Even though the variety is very pretty:
it is small and I am not that impressed so we will not be trying it again. Not only are the ears small, but many of them didn’t fill out at all. Like this:
We are much more impressed with the Wades Giant Indian Flint Corn:
Though this is the only ear that I am very impressed by:
There are still a dozen or so ears on the plants, but I have a feeling that the reason more of the Wades Giant Indian Flint corn doesn’t look like the orange one pictured is because it cross-polinated with the Inca Sweet corn.
I knew the cross-pollination might happen but I didn’t really care at the time. But now I’m realizing that it is worth it to either pick one variety only or spread out the planting by 2-4 weeks so that when the plants are setting fronds they won’t cross-pollinate. Even though the genetic makeup of this ear:
is not guaranteed, I will probably save the seeds anyways and try planting from it next year. It would be really cool if all the corn looked like this: orange and black Halloween corn! Here is the description of the Wades Giant Indian flint corn:
This is the best Indian flint corn we have found; huge ears are about 12″ long, very thick and heavy! This beauty comes in a whole range of lovely hues from yellow, blue, red, orange, white, purple and more. This one is perfect for stunning autumn displays and for selling at market. Also great for producing lots of corn for meal or feed. We were really excited to find this beautiful corn that was carefully selected for giant size and superior quality by Wade Nursery of Macomb, Michigan. (http://www.rareseeds.com/wades-giant-indian-flint-corn/)
I am also interested to try Japonica corn next year:
(Zea mays) Magnificent ornamental corn from Japan; known in the 1890s as Striped-Leafed Japanese Maize. Variegated leaves striped with green, white, yellow, and pink. Tassels are dark purple, kernels are burgundy. Beautiful when planted as a border. Color develops better when plants are widely spaced. 85 days. (Image and text from http://www.seedsavers.org/onlinestore/corn/Corn-Japonica-OG.html)
The foliage of the Japonica corn is just stunning! Even though corn is not too high in nutritional value and dirt cheap at our grocery when in season, I still feel compelled to grow corn since it is just such a quintessential garden vegetable. Choosing a rainbow flint corn variety (and/or the Japonica) makes sense for this reason and also since photogenic-value is high on my list of vegetable attributes! I hope all the corn-talk didn’t bore the non-gardening readers and sorry for the lack of humor in this post I had to take out a bunch of the jokes because they were too corny.
Ba dum pssshhh!