Thursday, May 14, 2009

Painted Mountain Corn

Last year I grew this field corn called Painted Mountain. I love multicolored corns, and this one seemed as if it would be good because it is short--only about four feet tall--and it doesn't shade other plants in the garden, and it yields dry ears in 85 days, whereas most field corn requires 100 or more days. I could harvest it in August before I went back to Houston.

But it didn't do very well. The stalks were unhealthy looking, and they yielded few ears. I didn't expect the ears to be big: you can see in the picture that they are small. But some stalks didn't have any ears on them at all.

I think the reason this didn't work well was because in the South, flint corns like Painted Mountain don't thrive as well as dent corns. Dent corns literally have a little dent in each kernel, whereas flint corns don't. So this year I am going back to dent corns.

Painted Mountain was developed in the mountains of Montana, where summers are no doubt cooler and drier than they are in Tennessee.

I did shell out the kernels for cornmeal. I dried them in the oven for a few hours and then ground them. They made a delicious cornmeal. Too bad Painted Mountain is not more productive.

1 comment:

  1. I've been thinking about growing some Painted Mountain corn next year. Too bad the harvest was so little, but pretty colors on the little corn-cobs.

    A supposed trait of this corn is that because of it's large genetic diversity, if you save seed from plants that did best, it can adapt quickly to the native environment and increase yield in succesive years.

    In field tests the corn did much poorer than native corns the first year, but when best seeds were saved for next year the yield went up by 58% surpassing the native corn.

    Many people wouldn't want to fiddle with this (saving best seeds for local adaptation) for a garden not knowing if it'll actually work, but some food for thought in case you saved any good seeds from your last crop.