• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
  • Mike Haasl
  • Pearl Sutton
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • r ranson
  • Burra Maluca
  • Joseph Lofthouse
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • Leigh Tate
  • Carla Burke
gardeners:
  • Greg Martin
  • Jay Angler
  • John F Dean

Selective Breeding for Field Corn (High Anthocyanin, Resistance, Appalachia)

 
Posts: 7
Location: Virginia, Scott County
1
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello. I'm planning a field corn (maize) selective breeding program in the Virginian Appalachians. I thought I'd run my plan by you all to get your input and opinions. We plan to use it for cornflour (mainly cornbread and grits), and for animal feed (chicken, pig). I am trying to maximize the anthocyanin content (dark colors), rich flavor, and disease/pest/lodging resistance. The candidates that we already have seeds for are Jimmy Red, Bloody Butcher (for their good flavor and dark red color, though Jimmy Red has lodging issues I hear), Blue Clarage (good rootworm/smut/lodging resistance, and dark blue color), Maiz Morado (a.k.a. Kulli corn, Black/Purple corn, has the highest anthocyanin content (one of our cobs from last year's crop pictured here)), and Jerry Petersen Blue (I just have a lot of seeds from a previous season that I thought I'd include because it had good flavor and decent anthocyanin content). The first three are Appalachian heritage dent corn cultivars (we live in the Appalachian mountains of Southwest Virginia in our own cove/valley, well-isolated from other corn fields.)

My current plan is to plant all these in the same field each in their own documented multiple rows (interspersed with each other) so I can keep track of what's what and maximize cross pollination. I will plant 70 to 100 seeds of each cultivar. I was considering cutting off the tassels of all cultivars except for one to keep one "true", but that may not end up being the best for my final end-goal. With corn breeding does it make a difference if the genes are inherited from the staminate (male) vs. the pistillate (female) flowers? I am hoping they all flower at about the same time; they all have maturity dates of 100 to 110 days. After the coming years of selective breeding, we're hoping to end up with a locally adapted, healthy "landrace" corn.

Thoughts? Critiques? Ideas? Any other suggestions? Would you suggest other cultivars, or not including some of these? Foresee any problems with crossing dent and different types of flour corn? Since my seeds have been open pollinated (from the original source) do I need to be concerned with cytoplasmic male sterility? If so, how do I avoid that, just check each year for sterile males to pull? I doubt any are resistant to Japanese beetles? We have issues with them eating down the pistillate silks, reducing the successful pollination.

Hope everyone is doing well,

Ryan
IMG_0647.JPG
Maiz Morado (Kulli Corn, Black Corn) from our farm last year.
Maiz Morado (Kulli Corn, Black Corn) from our farm last year.
 
pollinator
Posts: 649
Location: Montana
231
forest garden trees
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here is my thought. You've already managed to grow Maiz Morado the highest anthocyanin corn.

How much variation is there within your Maiz Morado population? Could you do within variety selection?

So what do you want from your breeding program?

Higher vigour?

Better local adaptation?

Stronger stalks?

You listed a bunch of varieties. But what traits do you want from them really?

You mentioned anthocyanin from multiple varieties. Why do you want to mix lower anthocyanin varieties in when you already have the highest?  

Or do you simply want to grow a corn grex and see what shakes out?

Do you want a flint, dent, or floud corn? Or a variety with mixed kernel types? All choices are acceptable but have different properties.

The guy who bred painted mountain corn here in Montana has already bred a high anthocyanin Maiz Morado x painted mountain derived Montana adapted flour corn. He has not yet released it and is hoping to make money from it. Which is cool but I really want a packet. I've thought about trying to replicate the work, but haven't ordered a packet of Maiz Morado yet and who knows when I would get to it. Though that's what I would do if I wanted a higher anthocyanin corn for here. Painted Mountain is a fine flour corn for Montana and people have selected and crossed to get lots of other varieties from it.
 
steward
Posts: 5563
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
2186
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My experience is that varieties that are high anthocyanin (due to sap color) tend to grow very poorly. Perhaps because the red color in the leaves/stems prevents them from getting sufficient sunlight. Perhaps due to close linkage to other deleterious traits.

Anthocyanins in the aleurone or pericarp don't have this effect, but they also provide much less anthocyanins.

I haven't been able to reliably detassel varieties, therefore, depending on detasseling isn't a reliable way to keep a variety pure in my fields. (Corn tassels are sneaky.)

To maximize crossing, my practice is to count out 100 seeds of each variety, jumble them all together, and then plant willy-nilly. In landrace breeding projects, record-keeping quickly becomes unmanageable. I figure that I might as well start simple, cause landrace projects eventually move towards simplicity.  

If you are worried about flowering times overlapping, plant half the seeds, and then wait until the first patch is 3 - 4  inches tall before planting the second patch right next to it.

My goal is to retain the organelle DNA (inherited from mothers only) from as many different varieties as possible.

I have never seen male sterility in any of the corn varieties that I've grown.

Dents and flour corns cross fine with each other.

I don't know those starting varieties, therefore I looked them up. Maize Morado seems problematic (because of the purple sap and red leaves). I'd expect the others to be OK.

Resistance to Japanese beetles may evolve naturally in the landrace. You'd never know though, unless you plant a non-resistant variety...

To me, "grits" is a meal that is made from flint corn, not from dent or flour. I don't know how you use that particular word... Cornbread is typically made from flour corn. Dents are typically fed to livestock, though the animals will eat anything....



 
Ryan Huish
Posts: 7
Location: Virginia, Scott County
1
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Good questions, William. Thanks for your response. I've only grown Maiz Morado for one year. Only a few of the stalks produced good cobs like the one pictured in my post, the others were not that great (small, odd shaped, some stalks with very small vestigial "triplet" cobs or no cobs at all... some of the problems were due to Japanese beetle style foraging, but not all), and I don't think the genetic diversity is that great. The cultivar is originally from the Andes, and then grown in New Mexico to adapt to northern hemisphere for some years before being sold to the seed company I got it from (Baker Creek). The Andes and New Mexico are very different than the wet and rich Appalachians. I originally thought I'd just keep doing selective breeding of this one cultivar, and that may have worked out, but after that first year, I decided to bring in some heirloom Appalachian dent corns that had better flavor and to speed up the local climate adaptation and increase genetic diversity. So if my ONLY goal was highest anthocyanin content, I'd stick with Maiz Morado, but for the other traits, I need more genes mixed in.

You asked for more details about the other traits I seek. Yes, stronger stalks to prevent lodging during heavy rains/wind (Blue Clarage trait), pest and smut resistance (Blue Clarage), I'd like to have several ears per stalk (Bloody Butcher trait), really good rich nutty flavor (trait of Jimmy Red (and to a lesser extent Bloody Butcher)). All of these are more locally adapted to my region, so will provide good genes there perhaps. From what I understand, Blue Clarage, Bloody Butcher, and Jimmy Red are all dent corn. Maiz Morado is a flour corn, and Jerry Petersen Blue is a flint corn? (though they are all "field corn" and can all be used for flour).

I am concerned about flowering time. I don't know what to expect there. In future years, after finding out when each one flowers, I may need to stagger plantings so they flower at the same time. But then the agro-ecotype ("landrace") I'm wanting, I don't want them blooming at different times, so I'd have to then select for consistent flowering time too, unless there's some benefit to a diversity of flowering times? (Wish I could time the flowering to avoid the Japanese beetle onset so they won't be eating the silk/stigmas!)

Does anyone know if there are other field corn cultivars resistant to pests and diseases that I should consider?

Ryan
 
Ryan Huish
Posts: 7
Location: Virginia, Scott County
1
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks Joseph! Hey, I was born in Cache Valley, where you are! Nice place. Your response was reassuring, thank you. Dent corn makes good grits too. Dent corn has intermediate characteristics between flint and flour corn (perhaps reflecting its breeding history?) and is used for a lot more than just animal feed. Jimmy Red (a dent corn) is a sure favorite of Sean Brock, a popular Appalachian chef, for making grits and cornbread (See the NPR story at https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/01/02/574367086/from-hooch-to-haute-cuisine-a-nearly-extinct-bootleggers-corn-gets-a-second-shot). We prefer earthy, hearty, gritty cornbread anyway. But yes, throwing in the flour corn genes may make the grits have a different texture; perhaps we'll just have to adapt our taste buds' expectations, depending on how the traits show up in future generations; we'll see how it turns out. Jerry Petersen Blue is a flint corn, so that may balance it out.
corns.jpeg
Diagram to understand types of corn
Diagram to understand types of corn
 
pollinator
Posts: 226
Location: SE Indiana
132
dog fish trees writing
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'v  never noticed poor growth in corn with purple in the stalks and leaves. I'll be on the look out for it as the project I'm working on right now has a considerable amount of it in it's ancestry.

I discovered a corn that I think is amazing. It's a Mexican landrace called Zapalote Chico. It isn't by itself one that fits the flour/flint variety I'm looking for but I wanted it because of reported resistance to ear worms or fall army worms, what ever you call them. After growing it for two years I can attest it is indeed nearly bulletproof for that.   I'v crossed it both ways with several other corns, primarily flints. I'll be growing a mix of F1 and F2 seed along with  a little more of the pure flints and pure ZC. I'll select seed for coming years from the F1 and 2 plants knowing that some has crossed again with the pure strains.

Zapalote Chico has lots of color in the stalks and husks but grows wonderfully here in Indiana. Two ears per stalk when grown crowded, three or four if more spaced. It is or was available from USDA GRIN.

O, forgot to mention, the kernels are white, sometimes with a touch of pink.


Zapalote-Chico.jpg
[Thumbnail for Zapalote-Chico.jpg]
 
Joseph Lofthouse
steward
Posts: 5563
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
2186
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If a long season corn crosses with a short season corn, then offspring tend to be intermediate season corn. Flowering times tend to be a self-correcting trait in a landrace, cause the earliest to flower, and the latest to flower tend to not get pollinated as well, and thus those types produce fewer seeds.

Flint, dent, and flour corns have different culinary characteristics. I have found it most useful on my farm to separate the different kinds, and use each kind based on it's highest fitness for a particular type of food. It's perfectly acceptable to make new culinary traditions based on new varieties of corn.  

A general breeding strategy that I like, is that if I don't introduce deleterious traits, then I don't have to select against them later on.

I use mixed characteristic corn varieties only as hominy or animal food.

Because the Maize Morado grew poorly, it confirms my bias that red-leaved high-anthocyanin corns are trouble.

If I were starting a corn landrace in the Appalachians, I'd sure want to include Cherokee White.  

I wonder if flint corn would be more resistant to the Japanese beetles?





 
Mark Reed
pollinator
Posts: 226
Location: SE Indiana
132
dog fish trees writing
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I grew a purple corn called Suntava one time, it didn't do well at all for me all. It was advertised as sweet corn but was actually a dent. I don't remember if it had color in the leaves or just the husks and kernels but it performed very poorly compared to the other corns I had that  year. It was an F1 and if I remember right maze morado was in it's ancestry.  

Cherokee white is glorious corn but way to big and too long season for me. Spent the whole summer and fall worrying every time the sky darkened a little that a storm was gonna take it down and no way to get it matured before the fall ear worms arrived. I can't grow a lot of those great corns for those same reasons, Bloody Butcher, Hickory King and others I'v tired had the same issues.

There is a considerable amount of a white sweet corn called Aunt Mary's in the ancestry of my corn, it's an heirloom from Ohio and a very strong grower here. Dry kernels are just very slightly wrinkled, not puckered up like most sweet corn.  It blended very well into a more flint type. Some flinty ears I found in Lofthouse's Harmony grain corn also fell right in to place and interestingly are a source of some the purple color, the stalks mostly are very dark with some purple veins in the leaves, husks are green. Eastern and Northern flints like Bronze Beauty are well represented too, they I hope will provide the push toward the ultimate goal of a locally adapted flint corn.

Not including bad traits from the start is important to me too and the Zap Chico has lots of them, ears are small and fat and not very flinty but it has that worm resistance which is very important and it grows extremely well for me, doesn't care if it rains or not, lodges in a storm but stands back up on it's own the next day. I'll have to deal with the unwanted things later.

I have little experience with actually utilizing my corn for corn bread or anything else other than critter food so I don't really know how it will work out. i found though that trying to learn ahead of time about those things and then picking out a particular kind that's best for a particular thing just didn't work out for me.

My advice on making a local landrace, for example if you want a flour corn is to of course to make sure there is a lot of it in your stating mix but let your climate and soil do the heavy selecting for a few seasons. Mine right now is so mixed up I have little clue what will come from it this year or next. But it is so mixed up that if I find just half a dozen ears that are getting close to what I want then that will be enough to get the ball rolling.  



 
pollinator
Posts: 861
187
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Very cool project Ryan. I am in the early stages of a similar quest. I started with a really random mix of corns, a couple odd old packets of sweet corn, a decent amount of two different local dent corn varieties (a yellow kernel and a red kernel), and a fair bit of a mixed color corn that came from a friend planting out 3 different corn varieties he brought back from mexico together for several seasons at his place.

Since I'm in a cool, wet, coastal environment none of.these were really adapted to grow in my area (the "local" seed was from some of the slightly inland valleys that are significantly warmer and drier over.the summer) so I just mixed it all together.and planted. That first year I got about 6.5 ears out of a 5' x 24' planted block. Planted all of those kernels again the next year in a larger block and got about 30-40% plants producing a successful ear. This year I plan to plant the survivors as well as some unity (harmony) seed that I got from Joseph and start trying to select for the culinary traits I am interested in, mainly making masa for tortillas.

I'll add that in my experience there is a correlation between the.level of red/purple color in the stem/leaf/husk and the size of the plant. The darkest individuals in my plots have always been the shortest and fastest to flower. I have also noticed this correlation in cannabis for whatever that is worth.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
steward
Posts: 5563
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
2186
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

s. lowe wrote:Planted all of those kernels again the next year in a larger block and got about 30-40% plants producing a successful ear. This year I plan to plant the survivors as well as some unity (harmony) seed that I got from Joseph



I recommend 2.5 square feet per plant. (Rows 2.5 feet part and not more than 1 seed per row-foot).

 
William Schlegel
pollinator
Posts: 649
Location: Montana
231
forest garden trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:

s. lowe wrote:Planted all of those kernels again the next year in a larger block and got about 30-40% plants producing a successful ear. This year I plan to plant the survivors as well as some unity (harmony) seed that I got from Joseph



I recommend 2.5 square feet per plant. (Rows 2.5 feet part and not more than 1 seed per row-foot).



This advice is pretty good for an Appalachian corn or a Lofthouse corn or really any normal full size corn. When I grew Joseph's corn they were big robust full season plants.

Painted Mountain does OK with square foot gardening 1 square foot per plant spacing.

Tiny ultra early sweet corns you can do less. Maybe as close as 6 inches apart in a grid. Probably also true for ultra early small plant grain corns like the Gaspe flint seed I bought last year but don't plan to plant till maybe next year.

It was one of the things that surprised me about Josephs  corn. Some of the founding corn of mine are Yukon Chief and Painted Mountain. I was working off advice from Susan Ashworth's book. I figured I could keep Yukon Chief, Ashworth, and Painted Mountain separated in time and raise three corns a year in the same garden. It worked OK as I recall but then I kept getting more and more corn varieties until I now have a sweet grex and a flour grex, hope to grow out a flint grex sometime soon. Anyhow I have been fooling around with ultea early corns which are also ultra small. Joseph has bigger plants because he has found that they produce more and are less predated. Both true, I'm just fascinated by shortness of season. I actually have a longer growing season than Joseph despite being a days drive north of him. Though I think he catches more heat units and gets more snow.
 
Mark Reed
pollinator
Posts: 226
Location: SE Indiana
132
dog fish trees writing
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I tired some of those very short season corns like Yukon Chief and they tasseled at about foot tall. They didn't end up in my mix because they were over with before most of the rest even tasseled or I culled them. Painted Mountain and the Manna corns almost the same.

Joseph's corns with few exceptions did very well here but in my area they are not full season. They fall right into what I like, early to mid season and mostly staying under 8 feet tall. I was able to blend them into mix that in a good year can produce two crops, seed to seed to seed. Those giant corns like the Cherokee flour are what I think of as full season.

I sometimes plant my corn thicker, rows only about 2 feet apart but I think 2.5 is better for production, I do the more crowded sometimes just to get more plants in the patch and increase the number  contributing genetics to the next generation. I can boost production in a crowded patch with addition of chicken manure and if it's a dry year, more water. I pant six or even more seeds per foot of row and thin them down to minimum of six inches. If two or three nice looking plants are crowded within a few inches of each other I might leave them all and thin a foot or so in all directions around them.

I have planted in hills, of sorts. Five or six plants crowded, then three or four feet to the next hill with low growing things planted between. That works good and looks cool too but my garden is small and it's all hand labor. Might not work in a bigger patch or if power equipment is used.
 
Squirrels are the worst animal pest on corn in my garden. Strong tall stalks are of no benefit against them. Took me while to figure out how the coons were getting my corn without breaking over the plants, duh, squirrels can climb and they don't weigh enough to break a robust corn stalk. They have to be trapped or shot.
 
William Schlegel
pollinator
Posts: 649
Location: Montana
231
forest garden trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In 2011 when I came back from five years in California some of my seed had gotten old. I bought a new packet of painted mountain. Didn't need to. Also planted really thick. Didn't need to. Crowded plants did OK. Probably not ideal for production but I grew plenty of seed which is what I was after. Now it's 2020 and some of my seed is probably getting really old again though I did grow outs in 2017 as well. Wish I had chickens again. That would be a good use for old corn seed. I would actually need to grow way more corn to feed 6 or so hens. Don't really want to buy feed next time I have chickens.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
steward
Posts: 5563
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
2186
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

My experience in watching other people grow corn, is that the number one reason why a corn plant doesn't produce an ear is due to overcrowding. Usually due to overcrowding by other corn plants, but also because weeds may be out-competing the corn. In my fields, the same variety that produces 2 cobs per plant when grown close together, will produce 15 cobs per plant when given ample space, but it might not produce any cobs if there is too much competition.

When I was growing commercial sweet corn, I expected to harvest one cob per square foot.
 
s. lowe
pollinator
Posts: 861
187
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you for the spacing advice Joseph. I think I have been letting my corn get crowded here (18 in rows, about 8 in in row spacing) so i will be sure to space it out this year. That will work well with my plan to intercrop winter squash with the corn too
 
Ryan Huish
Posts: 7
Location: Virginia, Scott County
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sand Hill Preservation Center suggests that "Flour corn is best adapted to areas where heavy rains are not common. Rain at harvest time can mean a total crop lost as the softness of the kernels allows fungi to grow rapidly". They may have a good point. Anyone else experience this? Thinking in my wet Appalachian mountain habitat, I should just stick to dent and flint corn types. The Maiz Morado is a flour corn (from what I understand?), so am thinking maybe not including it in my little cross-breeding project. I was also planning to include Jerry Petersen blue corn; some sites classify it as flint, some as flour. Anyone know what it actually is? (Google isn't helping with this one.)
 
Posts: 135
Location: Northern Colorado
37
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I specifically breed for high anthocyanin foliage corn and have been doing so off and on for at least 10 years now. Many varieties do have a weird linkage with some unuseful genes where they will will grow only tiiny cobs covered with extra layers of husks. And sometimes the amount of anythocyanin might interfere with the amount of light reaching the chlorophyll, so it's possible that the green corn plants will grow better than purple ones. But based on my observations with other high anthocyanin species i suspect that is mostly just a breeding / selection problem. I've seen purple corn plants grow tall and healthy and produce big ears of corn just the same as green ones. I think it is just a matter of finding / starting with those varieties from the beginning OR doing lots and lots of crosses to break the bad linkages.

I think my purple corn population is finally starting to head in that direction. I did a grow out last year and i didnt see any of the weird husk or growing issues that i've seen in the past. I have a fellow who is growing some out in the nearby town of Longmont, Colorado this summer and he is going to plant some coming this fall / winter in Texas since my population was originally being bred to thrive in early early spring here even with snow. I have plenty of seed i could probably share for your project. But i am also always on the lookout for purple corn varieties with GOOD genetics and that grow large ears. It's important to have more genetic diversity in such a population in my opinion.

It should be noted that i dont breed with flour corn, only flints.

I grew Maiz Morado from peru years ago, but it grew too tall and too long season for it to be much use to me at the time (without selection, which i probably should have done), so that sounds cool that you have a variety that does well here in a temperate climate.

The maternal line is the important one i'm pretty sure. But joseph is right in that you sorta get out what you put in. If you have a line that grows weak or weird then without crossing and crossing it you will still have that problem for awhile. Which is why i'm thinking genetic diversity for such a narrow trait might help.

I'm surprised you have japanese beetles eating your silks. that seems very unusual to me. Are you sure they are not the yellow cucumber / corn root earworm beetles? They are VERY common. They will eat any corn variety. The best way to combat this is to practice crop rotation so they don't gain a foothold in your soil. They will always come back eventually if you stop the crop rotation though.

sadly i don't have many good photos that i can find right now.





 
s. lowe
pollinator
Posts: 861
187
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So we laid out our 3 sisters patch yesterday, bush beans are mostly in the ground and we're tentatively planning on seeding the corn and winter squash in about a week. Is this spacing crazy?

Row of corn - 12 in - row of beans - 12 in - row of corn ?
Corn will be thinned to 18-24 in in row and in between those triple rows will be a 3 foot wide row of winter squash

Total plot is about 800 sq ft which will be half planted in my corn seed blend I've been building up with whatever will make ears in my cool moist coastal environment and half mix of unity corn from Joseph and a couple other supposedly diverse north american lines
 
s. lowe
pollinator
Posts: 861
187
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Also, sorry for sort of highjacking your thread Ryan. I hope it can become a place where we can all share our results and possibly trade some seed around to keep diversity high. I've definitely found success by mixing lines with diverse backgrounds but similar phenotypic expression.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
steward
Posts: 5563
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
2186
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

s. lowe wrote: Is this spacing crazy?



I recommend not less than 2.5 square feet per corn plant. A row of squash 3 feet away from the corn is wonderful.

Sometimes, if I'm planting 3 sisters style, I'll plant a clump of 3-4 corn seeds on 3 foot centers. That still gives them the space that they crave, and makes more room for the beans and squash.
 
Ryan Huish
Posts: 7
Location: Virginia, Scott County
1
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for your input, Andrew Barney. I am selecting against any purple leaves. The Maiz Morado has very dark purple kernels, but the leaves are green. Andrew, can you tell me why you don't breed with flour corn? For this year, I may decide to detassel the flour corn plants and just let the flint/dent corn pollinate them, that way I keep the flour-mix lines separate to see how they turn out before I decide to allow them to cross pollinate the others.

The flour corn cultivars I'm growing are Maiz Morado (a.k.a. Kulli corn) (though Wikipedia labels it as a flint (Zea mays indurata)) and Jerry Petersen (though Jerry Petersen is listed as flint, flour, or dent depending on what website you happen to be on, though most don't specify. I have found no information on its history besides it is an heirloom bred in the Dakotas. (Anyone know its history? I've even contacted GRIN NPGS (Germplasm Resources Information Network with the USDA's National Plant Germplasm System) and they haven't given any word about it.) The Jerry Petersen seeds I have seem to be a mix (I grew them in isolation in a previous year on my farm). Some have the typical dent on the top of the kernel, some look more like flour, some more like flint. So I am assuming it has mixed ancestry and it works/dries/tastes/grows fine here. So maybe it is ok to mix them. (The other corn cultivars I'm growing this year for cross pollination are Bloody Butcher (dent), Jimmy Red (dent), Blue Clarage (dent), Apache Red (flint), Calhoun Creek Red (flint/dent mix).

Does anyone suppose that maybe the dent corn was originally made from a cross between flint and flour types? In my mind, the dent phenotype seems to look like an intermediate between the flour and flint anyway (see diagrams below). So maybe crossing the three isn't that bad.



 
Andrew Barney
Posts: 135
Location: Northern Colorado
37
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ah, I guess it wasn't clear that you were breeding for purple seeds and not purple foliage. The main reason I don't breed with flour corn is I have no use for it. Flint grows better in my climate, looks nicer, keeps better, and can dry down faster to a hardness that can escape predation by animals if it's an early crop. Flint corn can even be eaten as sweet corn if picked in the milk stage. For me it is the only choice except sweet corn. But to each his own. Do whatever works for you.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
steward
Posts: 5563
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
2186
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Culinarily, around here: Flint is used for porridge and grits. Flour is used for breads and hominy. Dent is used for animal food.

I've heard that flint, dent, and flour corn can be used as sweet corn, but I've never tasted any that I liked, nor caught them at a stage when they were good eating. I think that my local raccoons concur, because they leave the flours and flints alone, and go after the sweet corn.

I grow a grex of flint, flour, and dent corns. They end up with lots of intermediate types as well. My chefs will use it, but they prefer pure flints or pure flours.  It makes an adequate hominy. It makes wonderful animal food.  Makes it easier to be consistent with recipes if the chefs know what they are starting with.



 
s. lowe
pollinator
Posts: 861
187
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm fairly novice to corn types, my goal is to make a locally adapted corn that I can use for tortillas and polenta. Will flint corn work for both of those or is flour corn typically used for tortillas?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
steward
Posts: 5563
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
2186
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

s. lowe wrote:I'm fairly novice to corn types, my goal is to make a locally adapted corn that I can use for tortillas and polenta. Will flint corn work for both of those or is flour corn typically used for tortillas?



Polenta (hominy) and tortillas are commonly made from flour corn. I have made both from flint corn, they end up being coarser textured. Polenta made from flint corn is quite dense and chewy. Polenta made from flour corn is softer, and often opens up during cooking. Flint corn causes more wear and tear on processing equipment. Flint corn is more resistant to seed predators both in the field, and during storage.

 
Mark Reed
pollinator
Posts: 226
Location: SE Indiana
132
dog fish trees writing
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I asked a similar question several years ago and it turned into a rabbit hole full of indecision and second guessing. Sure, I think it's good to do your research, learn all you can but when it comes down to it for me at least the most important first question is what grows well in my garden?  Gather up all you can find that meets at least some of your general preferences and put it in the dirt. Just quit worrying too specifically over what is good for what.

In architecture there is the argument, does form follow function or does function follow form. I'm a form follows function fellow myself but that's in architecture, bit goofy I think to build something and then figure out how to use it.  

What I really want with corn is a nice dry gritty corn bread to eat with my beans and ham and left over in the morning with butter and honey. However, I've found that I can select, push, cull, coddle and suggest all I want but the CORN, the weather, the soil, the critters, will decide the form whether I like it or not. When that's all done, I'll decide on the function.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
steward
Posts: 5563
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
2186
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mark Reed wrote:I've found that I can select, push, cull, coddle and suggest all I want but the CORN, the weather, the soil, the critters, will decide the form whether I like it or not.  



Ha! I thought some years ago that I would breed a white flour corn. The corn was not at all happy about that. Therefore I have finally abandoned that idea. It can be any color that it likes. I'm still strongly suggesting that i'd like it to be a flour corn! LOL!


 
gardener
Posts: 330
Location: Pacific North West
219
cattle foraging books chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts writing homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You guys, what an interesting discussion.

In the same boat here. I wanted my corn that I grow from seeds from my grandma in Eastern Europe to be good for both polenta, which I grew up eating, and tortillas, which I learned to love since living in North America.

The corn, most likely a variety of flint, is fine for polenta, but not so good for tortillas.

I am stubbornly trying to cross it now with seeds from Mexico, fat, soft kernels, I can totally see how they are making such good tortillas.

It will be years before I can see any results, and it will be so lovely to have made my own corn for ny own liking😁.
 
s. lowe
pollinator
Posts: 861
187
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's an update of my project. You can see that I failed at my commitment to give the corn enough space. But one thing I find interesting is how strongly the high anthocyanin foliage trait is correlated with short growth and early fruiting. You can see in the picture that there are some stalks that are small and flowering and have all green foliage, and there are some stalks with red/purple blush that are not flowering, but all of the really dark stalks, with dark tassles and silks too, are among the shortest and earliest to start setting seed.
IMG_20200802_152404_5.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20200802_152404_5.jpg]
IMG_20200802_152335_0.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20200802_152335_0.jpg]
 
Joseph Lofthouse
steward
Posts: 5563
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
2186
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

s. lowe wrote:one thing I find interesting is how strongly the high anthocyanin foliage trait is correlated with short growth and early fruiting.



Typical of what I think of as the "anthocyanin sap" trait. I don't grow them because they tend to lack vigor and productivity. Even if I weren't actively selecting against them, they tend to self-eliminate from the gene-pool.
 
s. lowe
pollinator
Posts: 861
187
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:

s. lowe wrote:one thing I find interesting is how strongly the high anthocyanin foliage trait is correlated with short growth and early fruiting.



Typical of what I think of as the "anthocyanin sap" trait. I don't grow them because they tend to lack vigor and productivity. Even if I weren't actively selecting against them, they tend to self-eliminate from the gene-pool.



Haha I tend to select for them and I think they survive here because we have a very short season, it takes until at least mid may for the soil to get warm enough for germination and then mold pressure starts to pick up in mid September

Edit to add: saying I select for anything other than whag manages to survive is a bit of self aggrandizement. It looks like this year I should be crossing over the hump in production where I will have a locally adapted enough grex to actually start selecting down as opposed to just clinging to every kernel for next season, so it's more accurate to say that for me, the high anthocyanin foliage trait is selecting me and my garden. Not the other way around.

Another cool note is that the source of the trait is some seed that a buddy smuggled back from southern mexico. It's pretty incredible that those genes can thrive in sub tropical mexico and also in cool moist coastal pnw. I think the mold resistance is crucial
 
Ryan Huish
Posts: 7
Location: Virginia, Scott County
1
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I thought I'd update you all on my little maize project. I went ahead and planted all the cultivars I mentioned originally (with the addition of Calhoun Creek and Apache Red) (about 250 plants total), but planted a second isolated crop with only the sure dent cultivars (Bloody Butcher, Jimmy Red, and Blue Clarage) to keep out the flour genes in that line. They're all doing well. We did a no-till method in the corn field where we overwintered the steers (plenty of manure). We planted far enough apart so that we could mow between the mounds (with grass mulch on the mounds) to keep the grass/weeds down and it's working well. Regarding the anthocyanins, I think it is important to differentiate between plants with high anthocyanin stalks/foliage and plants with high anthocyanin seeds. There are some of the latter that don't have dark stalks/foliage that seem to do better (are more vigorous and don't necessarily bloom early). For example, my green-leaved, black-kerneled Kulli corn (Maiz Morado) is just as vigorous as the others and blooms around the same time. (In case there was any confusion about the original topic of this forum thread, the "anthocyanin content" was referring to the seeds, not the foliage. (I'm selecting for dark kernels, not dark leaves.) It is fine and interesting to learn about others' observations with the darker foliage though.)

I hope to send another update with the results in the fall!
 
s. lowe
pollinator
Posts: 861
187
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Ryan Huish wrote:I thought I'd update you all on my little maize project. I went ahead and planted all the cultivars I mentioned originally (with the addition of Calhoun Creek and Apache Red) (about 250 plants total), but planted a second isolated crop with only the sure dent cultivars (Bloody Butcher, Jimmy Red, and Blue Clarage) to keep out the flour genes in that line. They're all doing well. We did a no-till method in the corn field where we overwintered the steers (plenty of manure). We planted far enough apart so that we could mow between the mounds (with grass mulch on the mounds) to keep the grass/weeds down and it's working well. Regarding the anthocyanins, I think it is important to differentiate between plants with high anthocyanin stalks/foliage and plants with high anthocyanin seeds. There are some of the latter that don't have dark stalks/foliage that seem to do better (are more vigorous and don't necessarily bloom early). For example, my green-leaved, black-kerneled Kulli corn (Maiz Morado) is just as vigorous as the others and blooms around the same time. (In case there was any confusion about the original topic of this forum thread, the "anthocyanin content" was referring to the seeds, not the foliage. (I'm selecting for dark kernels, not dark leaves.) It is fine and interesting to learn about others' observations with the darker foliage though.)

I hope to send another update with the results in the fall!



Would love to see your results Ryan.

I suspect that I will also eventually select for anthocyanin heavy seeds primarily and perhaps away from high anthocyanin foliage if it really appears to inhibit production.
 
s. lowe
pollinator
Posts: 861
187
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thought I'd post something that I found interesting from my first corn harvest. As you can see, the highest anthocyanin foliage (as evidenced by the husk) is correlated with a blushed kernel indicating that its probably a recent hybrid of a white and a blur/red corn. The highest anthocyanin kernels are correlated with green foliage.

 
pollinator
Posts: 350
Location: Poland
123
forest garden tiny house books cooking fiber arts ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Pretty! I have a corn field next to my garden, so my corns probably crossed with those. I don't know why but looks like the majority of large conventional fields are growing corn now.
 
s. lowe
pollinator
Posts: 861
187
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Flora Eerschay wrote:Pretty! I have a corn field next to my garden, so my corns probably crossed with those. I don't know why but looks like the majority of large conventional fields are growing corn now.



As Joseph has pointed out before, pollination is a highly localised event. Even with field corn all around you can probably maintain your own variety with some careful selection
 
gardener
Posts: 2443
Location: Maine, zone 5
1125
2
forest garden trees food preservation solar wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

William Schlegel wrote:
The guy who bred painted mountain corn here in Montana has already bred a high anthocyanin Maiz Morado x painted mountain derived Montana adapted flour corn. He has not yet released it and is hoping to make money from it. Which is cool but I really want a packet. I've thought about trying to replicate the work, but haven't ordered a packet of Maiz Morado yet and who knows when I would get to it. Though that's what I would do if I wanted a higher anthocyanin corn for here. Painted Mountain is a fine flour corn for Montana and people have selected and crossed to get lots of other varieties from it.


Looks like you can get a packet now William!  Baker Creek has 'Montana Morado' this year.
I just ordered some :)
 
Ryan Huish
Posts: 7
Location: Virginia, Scott County
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow, yeah, sure enough Baker Creek is selling it! That's cool. So from the description there, it seems like there are no actual Maize Morado genes in there, but only selected from Painted Mountain corn? Or was Maize Morado originally thrown in the field at some point?
 
Greg Martin
gardener
Posts: 2443
Location: Maine, zone 5
1125
2
forest garden trees food preservation solar wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I had the same impression Ryan.  According to this article it seems that the near black genetics came from seeds from Arizona.  It would be very interesting to know the path that the genetics took to get to there.
I'm going to grow it out and see how I like it.  I may end up playing with it by letting it cross with Maize Morado in the future, but for now I'm just excited to check it out.
 
s. lowe
pollinator
Posts: 861
187
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
One thing that I've been noticing as I cook the crop this year, and will try to get a picture of here soon, is that there are many kernels that I expect to be fairly dark actually have very white kernels beneath the skin. The most vibrantly colored flesh has been in the yellow spectrum and the best blue flesh I've found seems to come.from more pastel blue raw kernels. I'm going to try to be more diligent about separating seeds from different individual plants next year.

As I'm tracking down these richer colored kernels iso there a good way to see beneath the seeds skin without rendering it not viable?
 
They worship nothing. They say it's because nothing is worth fighting for. Like this tiny ad:
Rocket Mass Heater Plans - now free for a while
https://permies.com/goodies/7/rmhplans
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic