Author Topic: Flint/Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley  (Read 4085 times)

reed

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Lots of work has and is being done in corn breeding but seems like very little of it is taking place around my area. I want a fast maturing flour corn, for cornbread, hominy and other culinary uses but also a nice ornamental so I can sell it high dollar for decorations.

I like Dave Christensen's Painted Mountain and Carol Deppe's Magic Manna even more, they both largely fit the bill on what I want. Problem is, they don't seem to like Indiana. I think the issue is likely related to heat units, they just get their required GDD too fast resulting in flowering in as little as 40 days, I'm OK with that in itself but they can also do it at only 1 1/2 to 3 feet tall. Ears are way down by the ground and generally don't form well. Worse, especially with PM is the ears can way overshoot the husks leading to all kinds of bug and molding problems.

Eastern American flour corns that I knew of till recently, primarily Cherokee White Flour are way too big and way, way too long season for my liking. Long season especially, is an issue for a number of reasons far from the least of which is fall army worms that arrive in abundance in late summer. They degrade the food quality of course and they destroy the ornamental value.

My goals
*short enough maturity I can grow two generations in one season
*strong resistance to lodging
*tolerant of drought
*widely variable  pericarp color, white endosperm, colorless aleurone  - so I have single colored
  ears like Magic Manna
*resistance to fall army worms so my late crop isn't damaged
*good tight tip cover to resist other bug and mold problems
*8 to 12 rows of large kernels on long slender cobs
*colorful stalks, silks tassels

That's not too much to ask is it? No it isn't, cause I already have some excellent building blocks.

Zapalote Chico, a Mexican Landrace variety from GRIN likes Indiana just fine. It resists lodging as well or better and recovers from it faster than most other corns I'v grown. It has gorgeous purple stalks and shucks and all white kernels on red cobs. It contains a compound in it's silks that kills army worms and I have confirmed that in my own garden. it grows  6-7 feet tall and holds its ears 3 or more feet off the ground.

What I call Oxbow White Flour is an Eastern American Grex I got from a forum member. It is slightly later flowering than Zap Chico but not so much as to seriously hinder crossing and I have already done so this past season. It has much longer thinner ears than Zap Chico but even so has great tip cover. A little less resistant to lodging probably because of greater height but nothing I can't work around.  A bonus is in my patch past season I found a nice bronze colored ear and a nice red one.  I dissected several kernels from each and found no color other than peircarp so my introduction of colored pericarp is already on it's way.

Even though  the two i mentioned above are fast maturing, fast enough for two generations per season the PM and MM I planted with intent to detassel flowered way too soon. I did get a couple small ears from them pollinated by ZC and OWF and will try to  detassel and cross them again next year, taking little but pericarp color into the next generation. And I learned I need to plant MM about two weeks after the ZC and OWF to facilitate simultaneous flowering.

So my first crop next year will be planted around first of May. I'll try to cross ZC and OWF onto MM, picking up the varied pericarp. Then in my the second crop I'll cross that back the other direction making a mix of seeds that are 3/4 ZC or OWF and 1/4 MM. In the first patch ZC and OWF will both be tasseling so there will already some more mixing there as well.

The next season, I'll get in the freezer and pull out my small reserve of pure ZC and OWF and cross all that mess back on to them. From then on it's just selecting for the things on my wish list.

O' and I might throw a little zea diploperennis in there from time to time just to keep it interesting.








« Last Edit: 2019-06-30, 03:34:02 AM by reed »

Oxbow Farm

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #1 on: 2018-10-21, 04:18:02 PM »
Reed, I've got some colored pericarp stuff that came out of my plantings that I am not going to use, since I'm always shooting for a white flour corn for ease of nixtamalization. Mostly they are pink and purple tipped ears.  You can have it if you want.

Probably the brown/tan was some latent color genetics from the Cargill North Temperate Zone Coroico that was a major part of the mixture since three or four years ago.  Much of that was colored pericarp and lots of it was brown/tan/beige. Like these ears, these are Coroico, but they were detasseled and pollinated by my flour grex.


The F1 crosses often came out looking like this ear on the right (order right to left is grex, coroico, F1 ear), with pericarp color but straight rows from the grex instead of the interlocked rows like Coroico.  I've never had any interlocked rows show up in the flour corn, but it seems like it ought to express once in a while, I think there are a lot of recessives involved in interlocked rows.


« Last Edit: 2018-10-21, 04:29:53 PM by Oxbow Farm »

reed

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #2 on: 2018-10-22, 09:08:49 AM »
Those are all beautiful ears of corn. The one on left in the bottom picture is exactly what I'm looking for as far as structure, small number of rows of big kernels, I just want it in multiple colors like Magic manna.  I have some from this year that look very much like that. There was variability in the OWF as far as flowering time and unfortunately some that flowered earlier and more in line with Zap Chico was lost to coons. However most of the OWF pollen that landed on the Zap Chico came form those plants so it worked out OK.

Your corn is already what I want in a lot of ways , I could almost use it as is except for those nasty ear worms. Because of them I'll have to keep an open mind on the ear structure cause I have to keep Zapalote Chico's resistance even if it means keeping other traits too. At the very least though I'm sure I can bring in variable pericarp and I imagine I can pull off increasing ear size as well. It should be easy to select for the worm resistance even if plants and ears start to look a lot different from ZC.  All corn on my garden that matures later in the season is attacked, except for ZC.

I figure in a good year, with two generations the early one will mix up the genes and the second one will reveal the resistance. In future if something happens and planting is delayed or if the first crop is destroyed by weather or critters the replacement planting will be fine from the worm standpoint.
« Last Edit: 2018-10-22, 09:18:14 AM by reed »

reed

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #3 on: 2018-11-20, 07:54:02 AM »
I have several preferences in my project for my new corn but one critical priority is resistance to the ear worms, fall army worms or what ever they actually are. They have gotten much worse here in recent years and I suspect they are largely responsible for the almost total absence of decorative Indian corn at the markets the last couple years. They make it impossible to harvest a decent ear of corn that matures much later than end of July.

The corn I mentioned earlier called Zapalote Chico has the wonderful property of making something called glycoside maysin in it's silks and I confirmed this past season it really really works. Not a single ear of ZC was damaged by the worms. What I don't know is how is maysin inherited? I don't know if it is recessive or dominate or if it transferred only by the mother. 

The amount of it to achieve effectiveness is reported by GRIN to be 0.20% fresh silk weight.  The CZ I started with is reported to have 0.52%, but another ascension on GRIN where CZ was used as the recurrent backcross of a resistant sweet corn is 0.97%. So, I don't know, was the CZ they started with a different strain than mine? Or is it one of those things that might be controlled by more than one gene or by quantitative genes?

This is the pedigree of that sweet example corn from GRIN (PI 612343)
Quote
Developed from simple backcross procedure for a recessive gene. Zapalote Chico 2451 was the recurrent parent for the backcross
They don't show a picture of the ears but the kernels just look like a sweet ZC, and maybe a little more yellow. Here is part of the narrative on what they did.
Quote
Sweet corn population developed to have improved resistance to the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda). The sh2 and a1 genes at positions 149.2 and 149.0 on 3L were introgressed into Zapalote Chico 2451
. So is the sh2 the recessive gene they mention and they just put it in ZC?

I want to do the opposite and put the maysin gene(s) into a new variety of flour corn with larger ears and variable for pericarp color. My plan to do that which I think will work, is to just cross the various strains I'm working with and grow the offspring purposely to time maturity with arrival of the worms and then just select from those that are resistant.

Next spring I'll be planting this years seed. Some is crossed with CZ as mother, some the opposite and some will be selfed ZC and selfed Oxbow White Flour. I don't know which is which except for the mother side. I will also be planting some new colored pericarp strains to up the variation there. And the rest of my ZC, semi isolated to increase my supply for future use.

Any advise, speculation or prediction on how this will turn out or which if any to detassel or any other comments  are welcome.

Here is what an ear of ZC looks like. They are beautiful but small, only about five inches long.
« Last Edit: 2018-11-20, 08:47:08 AM by reed »

Andrew Barney

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #4 on: 2018-11-20, 09:37:43 AM »
Reed, sounds like a really cool project. I don't know anything about that trait but i like your plan.  The only thing i would mention is that if it is recessive all your F1 ears might be eaten. In that case it might be better to grow the F1s safe and do your plan with the F2 progeny instead. But i have no idea if it is dominant or co-dominant or what. 

reed

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #5 on: 2018-11-21, 04:43:45 AM »
... The only thing i would mention is that if it is recessive all your F1 ears might be eaten. In that case it might be better to grow the F1s safe and do your plan with the F2 progeny instead. ..
Is that because if it is recessive the F1 will just have one copy and therefor not be resistant? If that is the case then I have an actual experiment I can run to maybe find out.

It is all short enough season that if things go well I can grow two generations per season so the first planting will be F1 of course but I have enough seed that I can plant some more F1 about the same time as the F2 in the second planting.

The late planting maturity will fall inline with arrival of the worms.  So if I plant say 100 seeds from CZ mothers, since they were not detassseled some of them will certainly be resistant. But others will be F1s with the OWF. So, if any plants from CZ mothers are not resistant then I will know the trait is recessive. Is that correct? And if any plant, especially if it shows a phenotype that is obviously a cross, for example long thin ears with dark purple shucks, is resistant, then I will know the trait is dominant.

Similar with the OWF seeds, those that are selfed will be eaten and if the trait is recessive the F1s also will be. The worms are numerous enough that If any of these are not eaten then the trait is dominate.

The worms destroy the ears for most purposes. They always eat the tip and then as they grow they make big ugly tunnels up and down the ear. So now I'm wondering if I can even get an idea if the trait is quantitative. If an ear is severely damaged, that is just normal. If an ear isn't touched that's normal for CZ but what if an ear is damaged on the tip but the worm croaked before it got full size? That might mean it is quantitative and that might be a good thing, I'm not sure. I think I'm working with a wide enough cross that just a few ears from this coming year, meeting some or most of the goals, will be enough to start my new kind.

I haven't looked in to inheritance of pericarp color yet but I'll worry about that later. This coming year I think I'll grow a little of my new colored kinds and detasel to pollinate with CZ.

Most of my breeding work is just by observation and selection and in the end this mostly will be too but I'm gonna try to apply a little more science to my corn, maybe even keep some written records.




« Last Edit: 2018-11-21, 05:06:16 AM by reed »

Carol Deppe

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #6 on: 2018-11-21, 04:15:46 PM »
Reed, the idea of introducing genes for ear-worm resistant silk is fascinating.

I'm curious about a couple of things. First, why a flour corn for ornanental, cornbread, etc? Instead of a flint? (If you want very fine flour for gravy or cakes, you need a flour corn. But flint corns make equally good or tastier cornbread, are just as good for nixtamalizing, and also can make good polenta. And you can create flint varieties that are variable for pericarp color but have white aleurone and endosperm to give ears that are solid colors but different colors. I ask because the flour corns are just so much more of a pain to grow than the flints. And especially in the midwest. They are more susceptible to stalk rots and insects. And have much more tendency to mold if rained upon after they start drying down. Much harder to store, too. There's a little moth that loves them that has a hard time doing much with a flint.

Other question. Why a corn that is so short season that you could grow two entire crops? As opposed to the more usual resilience-promoting strategy of growing a shorter maturity and a full season corn? Or a short season corn followed by a second crop of something else?

It's always interesting to see what motivates the plant breeding project choices of various plant breeders. Especially us unruly undomesticated freelancers.


reed

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #7 on: 2018-11-22, 04:48:45 AM »
Quote
I'm curious about a couple of things. First, why a flour corn for ornanental, cornbread, etc? Instead of a flint?

Well, I'm not really sure. I haven't done a lot of experimenting in the kitchen yet except for parching but a local style traditional corn bread is really what I'm most interested in. I was gifted some Bronze Beauty flint and I have some Cascade Cream Cap that I grew a few seasons ago that I am going to plant next year to pollinate with the ZC. I first though I would have to keep selecting out the flint but  was thinking the other day that maybe I could develop both a flint and a flour version.
 
Quote
Other question. Why a corn that is so short season that you could grow two entire crops? As opposed to the more usual resilience-promoting strategy of growing a shorter maturity and a full season corn? Or a short season corn followed by a second crop of something else?

I like short season maturity in everything cause it seems like gardening isn't as easy as it used to be. Weird weather, bugs and diseases are always lurking around waiting to ruin it all. So I figure the less time it takes to mature a crop the higher the chance of a successful harvest, even if it isn't as large as a longer season variety might have produced.

I got excited about it more specifically with corn when I discovered by accident that it was actually possible to have two generations in on season. I figured WOW, if I can grow two generations in one year, it halves the time needed to select for what I want and build up my seed stock.

Eventually though it will just be to meet that first goal and to increase options on when to plant. I can plant corn and then something else after, or like I did this past year, I can plant corn after something else like bush beans or peas. The worm resistance from ZC is critical for that though. Without it even a short season corn could not be planted after the beans and a long season one had to be planted early.

Now I'm thinking, maybe I can have a  planting window from late April to mid July, plenty of time to start over if needed, grow multiple successions, time flowering between a flour and a flint patch, just lots of options. First things first though is to get that maysin into the silks of all my corn.

I also am working on a quick season pole bean whose vines only get six or seven feet tall to plant when the corn is nearly mature. Then when I harvest the corn I can strip off the leaves and leave the stalks for bean poles. I got my beans selected and will give that a try next year.

Here is a picture of the silks on the Zapalote Chico. They look kind of funny to me, a little bit more frizzy than most corn. I'm hoping maybe that is a visual clue that the maysin is in there.
« Last Edit: 2018-11-22, 06:14:02 AM by reed »

Carol Deppe

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #8 on: 2018-11-22, 04:56:32 PM »
Well, I'm not really sure. I haven't done a lot of experimenting in the kitchen yet except for parching but a local style traditional corn bread is really what I'm most interested in. I was gifted some Bronze Beauty flint and I have some Cascade Cream Cap that I grew a few seasons ago that I am going to plant next year to pollinate with the ZC. I first though I would have to keep selecting out the flint but  was thinking the other day that maybe I could develop both a flint and a flour version.
 
I like short season maturity in everything cause it seems like gardening isn't as easy as it used to be. Weird weather, bugs and diseases are always lurking around waiting to ruin it all. So I figure the less time it takes to mature a crop the higher the chance of a successful harvest, even if it isn't as large as a longer season variety might have produced.

I got excited about it more specifically with corn when I discovered by accident that it was actually possible to have two generations in on season. I figured WOW, if I can grow two generations in one year, it halves the time needed to select for what I want and build up my seed stock.

Eventually though it will just be to meet that first goal and to increase options on when to plant. I can plant corn and then something else after, or like I did this past year, I can plant corn after something else like bush beans or peas. The worm resistance from ZC is critical for that though. Without it even a short season corn could not be planted after the beans and a long season one had to be planted early.

Now I'm thinking, maybe I can have a  planting window from late April to mid July, plenty of time to start over if needed, grow multiple successions, time flowering between a flour and a flint patch, just lots of options. First things first though is to get that maysin into the silks of all my corn.

I also am working on a quick season pole bean whose vines only get six or seven feet tall to plant when the corn is nearly mature. Then when I harvest the corn I can strip off the leaves and leave the stalks for bean poles. I got my beans selected and will give that a try next year.

Here is a picture of the silks on the Zapalote Chico. They look kind of funny to me, a little bit more frizzy than most corn. I'm hoping maybe that is a visual clue that the maysin is in there.

For parching you definitely want a flour corn all right, and furthermore, only certain colors give good flavors and are resistant to burning. In the background of clear aleurone and white endosperm, the percarp colors that make good parching corn are red, pink, or red-striped. (Clear or white pericarp flour corn, when parched, tastes awful plus burns. Brown pericarp likewise. And anything with a yellow endosperm tastes horrid parched. And black aleurone also tastes bad parched. I figured this stuff out by developing pure color lines from Painted Mountain, tasting them, then using that info to design Magic Manna.)(Variety descriptions sometimes claim Painted Mountain or other multicolored flour corns are good for parching. And yes, they will parch. It's just that they taste horrible when parched, being mostly kernels that taste bad parched or are burned.)

I dig your thinking about two crops per season. Exactly how do you manage to do that?
« Last Edit: 2018-11-22, 05:09:20 PM by Carol Deppe »

reed

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #9 on: 2018-11-23, 04:55:53 AM »
I dig your thinking about two crops per season. Exactly how do you manage to do that?

Well, in the case of the second being grown from seed of the first I wouldn't exactly call it a crop, but just a few plants to see it if would work. And my technique needs some refining.

It's also a case of where not keeping good records is biting me in the rear cause I don't know the exact planting times I'v done and some corns work better than others. PM and MM for example are easy, I can have actual dry seed, or at lest dry enough to easily remove them from the cob to plant in mid July or so. There is something going on there though that I don't understand. Those varieties either from the first crop seed or seed from prior year tassel while very short and ears tend to overshoot the husks when planted in July, where they don't do that so near as bad when planted in April. Others like Oaxacan Green dent and  Aunt Mary's sweet (from same season or other seed) grow the same size as the early planted crop and produce just as well, only faster. I suppose maybe that all has to do with heat units but figuring that out is getting a little more sciencey, than I like.

Zapalote Chico fell in the best of both, seeds dry enough to extract from the cob and second growth as good or better than first although I only did it with a half dozen plants. Unfortunately none of them showed any sign of having been a cross.

The other corn I used last year, that I call Oxbow White Flour, after the forum member that gave it too me was less cooperative. It was a little behind the ZC and kernels were not dry enough to get them off the cob in tact. I think it was Joseph who suggested planting a section of cob and that worked but not well. I only got two plants, they weren't pollinated good enough to make very many seeds and the worms and mold got them.

I don't know that growing an actual second crop from the same years seed is viable, not sure there is really even a reason too but to speed up breeding I think it is doable. Of course depends on the weather, especially in spring. The first crop has to be in the ground by late April and produce viable seeds by early July. In the case of viable but still wet seed I have to figure out how to get it separated from the cob without destroying it. The second crop needs frost to hold off till mid to late October which is usually does anymore and has to be resistant to the worms. 

I'v made and broken this pledge before but next year at least for corn, I am going to write down the exact date I plant the first seed, the date of flowering, harvest and all that stuff and keep a good ongoing record. Heck I might do it with sweet potatoes too.


 

« Last Edit: 2018-11-23, 05:57:24 AM by reed »

Oxbow Farm

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #10 on: 2018-11-23, 06:11:07 AM »
I ask because the flour corns are just so much more of a pain to grow than the flints. And especially in the midwest. They are more susceptible to stalk rots and insects. And have much more tendency to mold if rained upon after they start drying down. Much harder to store, too. There's a little moth that loves them that has a hard time doing much with a flint.



Carol,  in general this is true, but most of the serious issues with growing and drying down flour corn east of the Mississippi are eliminated if you start with the right material.  In my experience, flour corns derived from the Southwestern/Great Plains flour corns are really hard to grow well out East.  They have essentially zero tolerance for fungal pathogens at all.  Especially ear and stalk rot, and Northern Leaf Blight.  Lack of NLB tolerance is pretty characteristic of all Native American heirlooms from N. America in my experience, but corns like Painted Mtn, Hopi Pink, Parching Red Supai, etc are essentially 100% susceptible.

If you use corns from the Eastern White Flour complex like Cherokee White, Miami White, or one of the many strains of Iroquois/6 Nations White, the results are very different.  They are highly resistant to stalk rot and ear rot and usually have no trouble maturing dry grain in my fall weather conditions without significant mold. 

I've also found it really useful to include genetics from S. America and Central American corn, Coroico/Pirincinco is a flour corn from the Amazon, and has great mold resistant genetics to contribute, as well as near perfect field immunity to Northern Leaf Blight. 

Grain moth damage in storage is definitely a problem though, that much is true. We get cold enough in winter that I often put my buckets of shelled corn out on the porch for a few weeks to freeze.  But they get recolonized since we have a resident house population of the moths.

I find it worth it to grow flour corn because you get much different textures and can make different dishes with flour corn.  I prefer flour corn for posole, and for things like arepas and flautas.  It is easier to grind flour corn into a very fine grained masa than it is for flint, so the texture of the resulting tortilla or flauta is more delicate.  You also cannot make atole with flint corn very well, at least I haven't been able to.


reed

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #11 on: 2018-11-23, 08:53:51 AM »
Mold is certainly an issue here and the western corns definitely are more hard hit by it. For a crop maturing in the fall the worms I think also play a part, the rows of half eaten kernels they leave in their path are incubators for all kinds of fuzzy rot that spreads to otherwise non damaged kernels. I also think poor tip cover like with Painted Mountain also is very inviting to mold.

The ZC has extreme tight shucks and tip cover and it had zero mold last year.  The first planting of OWF also had zero The second planting had some, partly I think because it first had damage by the worms. Even at that it didn't spread and ruin all the kernels, I got plenty of good seed. Only those poorly pollinated, severely worm attacked ears were a total loss.

When it comes to using my corn in the kitchen I have a lot to learn and when I say a lot I mean everything. In my imagination there is corn that can be ground and stirred up with a little milk and eggs and baked in an iron skillet and come out as a yummy, somewhat gritty cornbread that can be smeared with butter or honey without falling apart. I'm fine if it turns out to be flint or leaning toward flint but again in my imagination it is kind of both but it isn't dent cause I think dent corn is ugly.

Carol Deppe

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #12 on: 2018-11-23, 12:00:16 PM »
Oxbow, thanks for your observations on flour corn germplasm for the east and Midwest. That should be a big help for those breeding flour corns for those regions.

The way I deal with those LGMs (little grey storage moths) is to run the shelled corn through a dehydrator, then put it in huge 4 mil plastic resealable bags from ULINE. These are usually  thick enough to stop insects. (The more commonly used bags by seed companies, the 2 mils, don't stop those moths.) Then I put the bags in a freezer for a few weeks, then take them out and seal them in plastic pails. Also from ULINE. The pails are to protect against rodents. Alternately, in freezing weather I sometimes just put the pails outside, especially for food grade seed.  ULINE number is 1 800 295 5510. They deliver in 2 business days. And will happily send you a free catalog. There are a million types of bags, so I'll give you the numbers. S-1304 is 9 x 12 and cost about $100 for a carton of 1000. I also use the S-1306, which is 12 x 15. For smaller amounts S-1707, S-1302, and S-1712. All the commercial Ziploc bags you buy in the grocery are easily penetrated by the insects. Even the 4 mil bags get penetrated if there are eggs on the corn that hatch inside the bag. That is, the insects will burrow out if worns develop inside. But the moths don't burrow in. That's why you need to freeze cycle to kill eggs. The bags inside the pail allow you to remove the corn you want without a moth diving in and reinfesting things.

Also, I encourage spiders in most of the house. They really help with the moths.

Reed, a couple of tricks that might help you get two generations per season for breeding. First, you can plant much earlier if you presoak seed indoors. This breaks seed dormancy. Corn needs much more warmth to break dormancy than to grow. Second, you don't have to stand there pretending to be a patient person and politely wait for the ear to dry enough to shell. You can instead put the whole ears in a dehydrator and dry them whether they feel like it or not. Not practical for a whole crop, but fine for a few precious ears for breeding.

Yes, your vision of how you imagine eating your flour corn--just mixing together some eggs, milk, and flour and cook it in a frying pan on the stove top in a few minutes--yep. That works fine. You also need baking powder and some oil, butter, or fat. You end up with something with a pancake texture but a little stiffer. For more flexible pancake you have  to use oil rather than  butter. I like butter, especially kerrygold. If you also include sugar you get a pancake. With sugar and a white corn flour it even tastes like a pancake. Without sugar you get a nice flatbread. You don't need a cast iron skillet. Any heavy skillet will do.

My basic recipe is 2 cups of flour corn flour, 2 large eggs, 2 tbs melted butter, 2 tsp Rumford baking powder, and the right amount of water or milk. The right amount depends on the moisture content of  the flour and size of eggs. I scramble eggs and add eggs and melted butter to the flour. The skillet is heating up on medium. The baking powder is measured and sitting on a folded in half paper plate. It will be added last. I was not able to make these cakes reliably until I figured out that I had to add the fluid to get the right consistency, not some set amount of fluid. And I had to add baking powder last.

Add enough water or milk to the flour-egg-fat mix to make a thick batter, a batter with the same consistency as thick pancake batter. Batter that is going to make cakes about half an inch thick in the pan. You can mess with the mix and add a little more flour if you added too much fluid. No hurry as long as you haven't added baking powder yet. Use a spatula to stir. Batter is too thick for a whisk.

After batter is the right consistency, add the baking powder by sprinkling it from the paper plate across surface of batter, quickly stir baking powder in, and use spatula to scrape batter out into frying pan in approximate pancake shapes.

Now let cakes cook a few minutes until bottoms are brown. You have to peek to watch for browning. If you wait for bubbles on upper surface to break, as you do with wheat pancakes, you'll burn cakes. Once cakes are brown turn them and let other side get brown. Then take skillet off the heat and let cakes finish cooking a few minutes more with heat in skillet. If you try to finish cooking on the heat the cakes tend to burn before the inside is dried out and done.

It sounds complicated, but it is just as fast and easy as making wheat pancakes. The extra verbiage is because the corn flour behaves differently, so takes different handling.

You can also make real cakes with flour corn flour. (Recipe in The Resilient Gardener.)

Flour corn makes great gravy. Make just as you would with cornstarch, but use a bit more flour than you would cornstarch and cook a little longer.  The different colors all give different flavors of gravy (or skillet cakes).
« Last Edit: 2018-11-23, 12:31:44 PM by Carol Deppe »

reed

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Re: Flour/Flint/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #13 on: 2018-11-24, 12:41:15 AM »
Reed, a couple of tricks that might help you get two generations per season for breeding. First, you can plant much earlier if you presoak seed indoors. This breaks seed dormancy. Corn needs much more warmth to break dormancy than to grow. Second, you don't have to stand there pretending to be a patient person and politely wait for the ear to dry enough to shell. You can instead put the whole ears in a dehydrator and dry them whether they feel like it or not. Not practical for a whole crop, but fine for a few precious ears for breeding.
I was thinking about starting some for the spring plating inside or in a cold frame but never occurred to me to use the dehydrator to speed things up on the second. Between the two it should be pretty easy to squeeze out a few more days and it is so close already that is all I need. If it works I'll have F2 and a couple different sets of F1 seeds to compare for resistance to the worms in the second planting. 
« Last Edit: 2018-11-24, 09:20:53 AM by reed »

Carol Deppe

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #14 on: 2018-11-25, 06:58:07 AM »
I have several preferences in my project for my new corn but one critical priority is resistance to the ear worms, fall army worms or what ever they actually are. They have gotten much worse here in recent years and I suspect they are largely responsible for the almost total absence of decorative Indian corn at the markets the last couple years. They make it impossible to harvest a decent ear of corn that matures much later than end of July.

The corn I mentioned earlier called Zapalote Chico has the wonderful property of making something called glycoside maysin in it's silks and I confirmed this past season it really really works. Not a single ear of ZC was damaged by the worms. What I don't know is how is maysin inherited? I don't know if it is recessive or dominate or if it transferred only by the mother. 

The amount of it to achieve effectiveness is reported by GRIN to be 0.20% fresh silk weight.  The CZ I started with is reported to have 0.52%, but another ascension on GRIN where CZ was used as the recurrent backcross of a resistant sweet corn is 0.97%. So, I don't know, was the CZ they started with a different strain than mine? Or is it one of those things that might be controlled by more than one gene or by quantitative genes?

This is the pedigree of that sweet example corn from GRIN (PI 612343) They don't show a picture of the ears but the kernels just look like a sweet ZC, and maybe a little more yellow. Here is part of the narrative on what they did. . So is the sh2 the recessive gene they mention and they just put it in ZC?

I want to do the opposite and put the maysin gene(s) into a new variety of flour corn with larger ears and variable for pericarp color. My plan to do that which I think will work, is to just cross the various strains I'm working with and grow the offspring purposely to time maturity with arrival of the worms and then just select from those that are resistant.

Next spring I'll be planting this years seed. Some is crossed with CZ as mother, some the opposite and some will be selfed ZC and selfed Oxbow White Flour. I don't know which is which except for the mother side. I will also be planting some new colored pericarp strains to up the variation there. And the rest of my ZC, semi isolated to increase my supply for future use.

Any advise, speculation or prediction on how this will turn out or which if any to detassel or any other comments  are welcome.

Here is what an ear of ZC looks like. They are beautiful but small, only about five inches long.

In the quotes you gave, it was bt and another very closely linked gene that were introgressed into the Zap.

I looked around on the internet to see what I could find on genetics of maysin. A big mess. From a QTL (quantitative trait locus) study it looks like at least six genes on three different chromosomes were involved. Another QTL study seemed to be talking about two genes linked to pericarp color genes. Another study proposed the low maysin phenotype was associated with two dominant genes. My access was limited to abstracts. All papers were confidently predicting that because of their work, it should be easy and fast to develop worm resistant sweet corns. But that was ten or more years ago. And so where are the sweet corns if they in fact had deciphered the genetics correctly and the genes had big enough effects to be useful?

I would assume multiple genes are likely to differ between the Zap and any worm sensitive variety you might cross it to. By the time you are up to even about four or so genes, it basically looks like a quantitatively inherited trait in the field. I would take seriously that some of the genes associated with low maysin, and possibly all of them might be dominant. If all high maysin genes are fully recessive, this would mean that the F1 would be sensitive. And so backcrossing to anything sensitive would not allow the resistant trait to appear. You would be able to see resistance appearing only in F2s or backcrosses to Zap, so would need to proceed accordingly.

However, you might have a more sensitive bioassay for the resistance trait than other breeders since every sensitive ear gets wormed under your conditions. And somebody else's dominant genes for sensitive may appear as codominants under your conditions. In which case you could regress the codominant resistance genes into anything you wanted. So I would suggest taking a look at the Zap F1, and figure out how to proceed from there based upon whether or not it is resistant.

There may be linkage between some resistant genes and some percarp color genes. But even if so, there may be enough genes for resistance that aren't linked that you'll be able to introduce variability for pericarp color. And the linkage may not be close enough to matter.

The fact that every sensitive ear gets wormed under your conditions puts you in a great position to breed for ear worm resistance. And the complex genetics involved may well lend itself better to the traditional low tech breeding approaches than to anything higher tech that involves identifying all the genes involved. Have at it!