Flint and Field Corn
Average 100 seeds/oz. All open-pollinated. Days to maturity are for dry stage.
In Sweden, Knäckebröd is a crisp bread (cracker) made from rye. This cornmeal variation with seeds is delicious!
1 cup cornmeal
1⁄3 cup raw sunflower seeds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup flax seeds
¼ cup olive oil
- Heat 1¼ cups of water to boiling.
- Mix the dry ingredients together, then add the boiling water along with the olive oil. Mix to form a soft dough.
- Cover two regular cookie sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough, and with your hand in a plastic bag or plastic wrap, press out the dough in a very thin sheet.
- Sprinkle with coarse salt. Score for easier portioning.
- Bake in a low oven (300-305°) for one hour. Break apart.
—recipe from customer Betsy Erickson, Tustin, Michigan
Culture: CAUTION: Untreated sweet corn seed will not germinate in cold wet soil. Please be patient and wait till soil warms to at least 60° before sowing, or start seedlings indoors and transplant at 3–6" before taproots take off. Minimum soil temperature 50°, optimal temperature range 60–95°. Tender, will not survive frost. Heavy nitrogen requirements. Rows 3' apart, 4 seeds/ft. Thin to 1' apart. When corn is knee-high, sidedress with azomite or alfalfa meal to stimulate growth. Plant in blocks of at least 4 rows to ensure adequate pollination, essential for good tip fill. If you lack sufficient space for enough plants for good pollination, try hand-pollinating by cutting off the tassels and shaking their pollen onto the silks. Sweet corn is ready 18–24 days after the first silks show, the exact time dependent on the weather in the interim. Press ears 2" from the tips to assess kernel fullness. Harvest when the kernels are plump, soft, tender and filled with a milky juice. Most sugary enhanced varieties have an optimal picking window of 5–7 days, but some open-pollinated selections hold only 1–2 days.
Corn Insect Pest Control
Cultural controls: use resistant varieties with tight husks such as Bodacious RM or Silver Queen, choose short-season varieties, release trichogramma wasps. (Beneficial insects are available at insectary.com or 800-477-3715.)
Material controls: Bt kurstaki, Spinosad.
European Corn Borer (ECB) and fall armyworm
Cultural controls: mow and disk old corn stalks into the soil, release trichogramma wasps (found to give better control than insecticides in research by Cornell’s IPM program on five organic farms) for ECB; none known for fall armyworm.
Material controls: Bt kurstaki, Spinosad.
Flour, Flint, Dent... Corn!
Flour corn has soft starchy kernels easily ground into flour. Flint corn has hard flinty kernels that store well and is often used to make corn meal, polenta or grits. Dent corn with indented kernels is eaten fresh as elote or dried and ground into fine cornmeal flour, or used in alkaline cooking processes to make masa, tortilla chips or pozole. (Dent is also most commonly used for processed foods and ethanol production.) Field corn can be any of the above when used as animal feed, though most typically dent is used. (Also see Field corn from Organic Growers Supply).
Sweet corn first appeared in commerce in 1828 and became popular a generation later. The first crop to be hybridized; most of the open-pollinated varieties disappeared between 1930 and 1970. All sugary enhanced sweet corn traces back to a single inbred developed in the 1960s in Illinois by Dr. Dusty Rhodes, ILL677a. Our trialers have found SE corn to be especially suitable to our climate, with good cool-soil tolerance and a near-perfect blend of sugars and corn flavor.
Testing: To help ensure the purity of our seed, we have for the past seventeen years employed industry leader Foodchain ID (formerly Genetic ID) to test samples of our sweet corn lots for the presence of transgenic contamination. Because of the risks posed by production of genetically engineered Roundup Ready beets, we have added beet and chard varieties to our GE testing program. We remove any seed lots that test positive for transgenic contamination. A negative test result does not guarantee genetic purity but improves the chances seed is uncontaminated. The tests are expensive, but in a time of genetic roulette they are necessary, though not sufficient. Only if the seed trade takes an adamant position that it will not tolerate GE contamination in products can we maintain any integrity in our seed supply.