Planting & Growing Field Corn
The best time to plant field corn is during the spring and can be grown throughout the warmer months up until fall. We recommend planting field corn using our Hoss Garden Seeder to provide accurate spacing in the vegetable garden. We also suggest using drip tape irrigation because corn is a heavy feeder and requires plenty of water and fertilizer for growth. When growing corn it is best to avoid overhead watering because the plants grow so tall that the irrigation will not reach the roots effectively in the garden. In order to lay drip tape quick and easy, we prefer to use the Double Wheel Hoe with the Drip Tape Layer attachment. In the garden, we can succession plant field corn to get maximum productivity and save space. We can get two succession plantings of field corn when planting in early spring and late summer. The benefit of succession planting is we are able to extend harvest supplies throughout the growing seasons. Another key aspect of planting corn is instead of long rows, it should be planted in square plots or blocks. This ensures that corn gets the needed pollination it requires to develop quality ears of corn. Without pollination, the tassels and silks will have poor germination and have trouble producing kernels on the ears. Planting in square plots also allows for better crop rotation of plants in the vegetable garden. Crop rotation is important because not only are you avoiding planting the same crop year after year but you are able to replenish the soil with the nutrients that different vegetables need in order to grow in the garden.
Own Corn Meal and Grits
On this week’s episode, Greg and Travis are showing how to make your own corn meal and grits from corn grown in the vegetable garden. This year, Greg grew the Bloody Butcher variety of field corn which is similar to the Jimmy Red variety. In order to shell the corn, Greg is using a sheller that he found at a flea market several years ago. Before making our own corn meal and grits, we place the corn in the freezer in order to kill off any weevil eggs. Then, we take the corn out of the freezer to grind it and then make corn meal and grits. When you grind it the meal will turn out a white type of meal but with red specks in it. Travis grew the Truckers Favorite Yellow Corn variety in the vegetable garden. He also plans to make corn meal and grits out of his variety he planted in the garden as well.
Field Corn Varieties
Along with the Bloody Butcher and Truckers Favorite, there are a couple of different field corn varieties that also work great for making your own corn meal and grits. The most popular variety of field corn is the Hickory King White Corn. This variety has been around for several years, producing 12 to 13-inch tall plants and two larger ears per plant reaching around 9 to 10 inches in length. The Blue Hopi Corn is a variety that produces unique deep royal blue ears in the vegetable garden. This heirloom variety has an excellent flavor and texture profile making it great for homemade corn chips, cornbread, and tortillas. The Wapsie Valley is an heirloom variety that contains bicolor ears such as copper red and yellow kernels. When ground the corn meal has a yellow tent with red flakes. It is a variety that is highly adaptable to several weather conditions and produces well-formed ears of corn in the vegetable garden.