I was sent a handful of seed for the heirloom corn Navajo Robin's Egg. Six germinated and four of the plants survived to give me these rather attractive cobs, which I'm saving to become the seed for next year.
I was pleasantly surprised by the pollination rate considering I had so few plants, and am very pleased with how ornamental they are. According to this link, Robin’s Egg corn is planted as a prayer to bring rainfall to the fields due to the physical resemblance to rain splatter, which I find a rather beautiful concept.
I tried to grow some Mandan Bride corn, too, but I had no luck with that. And I have some Smoke Signal popcorn seed to try next year.
So who else is growing heirloom corn? What do you love about it? And can we see some photos?
Nice looking corn Burra.
This is one of the corns that are used in the Green Corn Dance ceremonies.
Prayers are sent up before the planting of the seed and then there are offerings of corn and tobacco given to the field after all the seed is in.
Just before harvest time the Green Corn Dance happens.
Just so you know, this variety is one of the heaviest feeders I've ever tried to grow myself.
I found that if I used the ancient method of digging a hole, placing a fish in the hole, covering it with dirt then planting the corn seeds, I got the best results.
My test field was half planted according to the ancient method and the other half was amended with fish meal, bone meal and green sand.
While the amended plants did ok, the ears were fuller on the plants with the fish beneath the seeds.
I am hoping to have the ability to post pictures next year, we should have internet by then, at least that is our hope.
The corns that I grow are not heirlooms, but they are grown in traditional ways...
My sweet corn is called Astronomy Domine. We took several hundred varieties of heirloom sweet corn, and modern hybrids, and planted them into the same field and allowed their genetics to mix things up. Then I selected for shorter season, and for great growth in my garden, for resistance to bugs, blights, fungi, skunks, racoons, pheasants, and turkeys. I selected for great taste, and for early colors.
Here's what I ended up with...
Partial harvest of Astronomy Domine Sweet Corn for 2015.
Fresh eating stage:
This basket of sweet corn is what converted me to landracegardening. It is one of my all-time favorite garden photos.
I also grow flour corn in a similar manner. Thirty years ago some plant breeders (Cargill) gathered together corns from across South America, and adapted them to be able to grow in temperate climates. I crossed 4 populations of those corns and hybridized them with a similar collection of corns from North America. So while again it is not an heirloom, it is full of heirloom genes, and I am allowing it to adapt to modern growing conditions on my farm rather than expecting that a highly inbred corn that was developed for XYZ region before I was born will do well in my garden with modern growing conditions and pests.