Mathew Trotter wrote:Man, I didn't realize just how much you put into this. Seeing them on the cobs just doesn't do it justice like the loose kernels do.
Mark Reed wrote:I'm going to plant two separate patches this year. One will be the same as those I sent you, along with seed from that fast ear. The other will be a random mix of all ears.
Plants are associated with a complex microbiota that contributes to nutrient acquisition, plant growth, and plant defense. Nitrogen-fixing microbial associations are efficient and well characterized in legumes but are limited in cereals, including maize. We studied an indigenous landrace of maize grown in nitrogen-depleted soils in the Sierra Mixe region of Oaxaca, Mexico. This landrace is characterized by the extensive development of aerial roots that secrete a carbohydrate-rich mucilage. Analysis of the mucilage microbiota indicated that it was enriched in taxa for which many known species are diazotrophic, was enriched for homologs of genes encoding nitrogenase subunits, and harbored active nitrogenase activity as assessed by acetylene reduction and 15N2 incorporation assays. Field experiments in Sierra Mixe using 15N natural abundance or 15N-enrichment assessments over 5 years indicated that atmospheric nitrogen fixation contributed 29%–82% of the nitrogen nutrition of Sierra Mixe maize.
Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plants, and for many nonlegume crops, the requirement for nitrogen is primarily met by the use of inorganic fertilizers. These fertilizers are produced from fossil fuel by energy-intensive processes that are estimated to use 1% to 2% of the total global energy supply and produce an equivalent share of greenhouse gases. Because maize (Zea mays L.) is a significant recipient of nitrogen fertilization, a research goal for decades has been to identify or engineer mechanisms for biological fixation of atmospheric nitrogen in association with this crop. We hypothesized that isolated indigenous landraces of maize grown using traditional practices with little or no fertilizer might have evolved strategies to improve plant performance under low-nitrogen nutrient conditions. Here, we show that for one such maize landrace grown in nitrogen-depleted fields near Oaxaca, Mexico, 29%–82% of the plant nitrogen is derived from atmospheric nitrogen. High levels of nitrogen fixation are supported, at least in part, by the abundant production of a sugar-rich mucilage associated with aerial roots that provides a home to a complex nitrogen-fixing microbiome.
I've discovered that I can just pull or hoe the weeds out of rows only and plant my corn, allowing the weeds between to keep growing. Later when the corn is six to eight inches tall but hard to even see because of the weeds I then pull or hoe the weeds down and use them for mulch.
Mark Reed wrote: I have two corn plants form those 90 seeds I planted back in the 85 degree summer of mid March. They are currently sticking up in the two inches of wet snow of late April.
Mark Reed wrote:I've selected the ears from 2021 to continue on with. None of them were bothered by the worms and most have the reduced number of kernel rows I'm looking for. They are not as "flinty" as I want but I didn't expect they would be this early in the project especially considering they are all 1/2 the Zapalote Chico, in one direction or another. These ears are the G3 generation. Grown from the original crosses between the ZC and the eastern flint corns, Carol Deppe's Cascade flints and selections from my earlier sweet and flour projects. They all have the uniform individual color I'm looking.
The first picture is the selected ears from this year and the second is the pure form of the Zapalote Chico. You can see it is far from a long slender ear I want and far from flint, but it has the worm resistance that I think is critical to my project.