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help me think out where to go with my corn

 
pollinator
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After 4 years of desperately keeping any kernel that would finish in my cool damp coastal climate I finally am going to have enough of a harvest this year to eat some and to start thinking about splitting off varieties.

My goals are;

1. A good variety for making tortillas, I eat a lot of tacos
2. A good variety for making polenta, my wife and son love polenta and we eat it at least once a week
3. A mix of colors, cause they're pretty and almost certainly each color offers different energies and nutrients to us

So, my current plan is to separate the corn into early and late harvest cobs. Then separate those two categories into different color groups.



This is the early harvest and I am thinking it will be 4 different colors;

1.white
2.yellow/orange
3.red
4.dark red/purple

I'm hoping I'll have a similar spread of colors from the late harvest, and maybe even some blue in there. So that will give me my 8 "types". Now the question is how to plant them next year? My first thought was in rows by colors (I like to plant double rows with a bean in between) with the later stuff on the north side of the garden. But then I thought that maybe I should make blocks of colors with rows of late and early within each color block?



There's also the question of identifying other physiological traits I might want, you can see the broad variety in foliage color in the above picture and there are height and cob size variations that are just as wide.

How worth it is trying to identify specific plants I really like or rogue real duds from the seed supply going forward?

Appreciate any thoughts, experiences, advice, wild ass guesses, or unrelated stories. Happy autumn
 
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All that corn really makes pretty pictures!
 
pollinator
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Location: South-central Wisconsin
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You may find that the corn that works best for tortillas isn't as good for polenta, and vice-versa. You don't say where you're located, but Carol Deppe has some corn varieties that are adapted to short seasons and cool climates, and have a good range of colors as well. "Magic Manna" is a flour corn that would work well for tortillas, and "Ruby-Gold Cascade" is a flint corn that makes an awesome polenta.

Not sure that helps, but throwing it out there. She also has a book on plant breeding that has better advice than I could give.
 
s. lowe
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Ellendra Nauriel wrote:You may find that the corn that works best for tortillas isn't as good for polenta, and vice-versa. You don't say where you're located, but Carol Deppe has some corn varieties that are adapted to short seasons and cool climates, and have a good range of colors as well. "Magic Manna" is a flour corn that would work well for tortillas, and "Ruby-Gold Cascade" is a flint corn that makes an awesome polenta.

Not sure that helps, but throwing it out there. She also has a book on plant breeding that has better advice than I could give.



Thanks for the tip, I will check out Carol Deppes selection to keep my diversity up.

I am imagining I will develop to separate corn lines, one for polenta and one for tortillas. My current plan is to separate my seed by cob phenotype (early/late and kernel/cob colors) and then make a batch of nixtimal and tortillas and a batch of polenta with each and assign them to the category they are best in.

Then next year I will plant all the "polenta" types in one block and all the "tortilla" types in another. And start trying to refine each type from there. Probably adding in an outside variety in each block each year
 
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Here is the variety i grew this year Open oak party mix from adaptive seeds

It grew really well and reached about 12 feet tall. It was tasty enough, i had rats eating the ears. I managed to harvest it before it was a complete wash, however i would have liked to let it dry more.
This growing season was much wetter than the previous year was. So i am curious how this will grow with a dry growing season.

It is really open and contains many different colours. It grew with little inputs other than our own human P or what some call "vitamin P"



IMG_0469.JPG
Here the corn is may 26th, I direct seeded them. All but 1 or 2 didn't come up.
Here the corn is may 26th, I direct seeded them. All but 1 or 2 didn't come up.
IMG_0070.JPG
here they are sept 19th.
here they are sept 19th.
 
s. lowe
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I harvested another 1/3rd of the corn today ahead of our first fall rain



I now suspect a few things, but also have some serious questions. I suspect that in the photo above the multicolored corn to the left of the can is predominantly the stuff from my seed stock and the stuff to the right of the can is predominantly Joseph Lofthouse Unity corn.  I suspect that the stuff from the original harvest that is a nice deep red (one ear on the far right of the above photo seems the same) is bloody butcher because I know I threw some new seed of that in the mix this year.

I suspect that the super white corn from the original harvest and lightly represented on the far left of the above picture is some other seed that I have forgotten that I added in? Its just so consistent and definitely not sweet corn, which is the source of the white/yellow kernel in my own seed bank.

Anyway, wild how different this harvest was
 
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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My suggestion would be to sort primarily by culinary use: Grow a soft "flour" corn for tortillas, hominy, and posole. Grow a hard "flint" corn for polenta.

When I plant, I often plant on the same day, but plant a section of the patch all reds, and a section all yellows, a section all whites, etc. Then the reds tend to pollinate the reds, the yellows tend to pollinate the yellows, etc...

If late and early cross pollinate, they tend towards mid-season.

I had intended for Unity to be a white flour corn. It wouldn't have anything to do with that idea, so it ended up with some color.

flint-vs-flour.jpg
Comparing soft flour corn and hard flint corn
Comparing soft flour corn and hard flint corn
lofthouse-unity-flour.jpg
Lofthouse Landrace Flour Corn (Unity)
Lofthouse Landrace Flour Corn (Unity)
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