Author Topic: My Two Corn Paths  (Read 77 times)

Jeremy Weiss

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My Two Corn Paths
« on: 2022-06-15, 04:40:38 PM »
It's getting to the time when I NEED to plant my corn, and I have realized I have two possible paths available to me

The first option would be to continue trying with my miniature non-popcorn experiments, which, this year, would mean doing the red dent one (the one I think is the result of a cross between Strawberry Popcorn and some sort of field corn). Those seed samples aren't getting any younger. Of course, every year I DO try, the animals end up eating every single seed or seedling long before they can produce anything.

The second option is to try the miniature Glass Gem I have saved up. This has a few disadvantages, the main one being that doing so wouldn't advance the above corn project any. On the other hand, there is the advantage that I have SO MUCH seed of that one stored up that, if I use it all and overplant like crazy, there may actually be so much seed the animals CAN'T eat it all before some of it makes it to a stage where they stop being interested in it.

So, in my position which path would you choose? Bear in mind that

1. My land is VERY limited (we're talking about a 12ftx12ft patch, tops) so "both" nor is two patches (since I only have about a half acre of property total, I can't do isolation distance, and generally, that 12x12 area is the only one that gets enough SUN for corn, everything else is in more or less permanent shade due to the trees.

2. Being suburban my options on things I can to to correct the pest and sun problems are very limited. I'm not allowed to do anything that might harm the squirrels or chipmunks (no traps, no poison, no predatory dogs or cats), nor am I allowed to cut down trees to make more sun (under tree commission rules, I can't even take down a DEAD tree without the commission coming and confirming it's dead, even if it represents a threat to life or property.)

Andrew Barney

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Re: My Two Corn Paths
« Reply #1 on: 2022-06-17, 07:15:23 PM »
Hmm. Tough call. Old seed germinates worse and worse the longer you keep it. If you don't plant it I say stick it in the freezer to help extend it's life.

Pest problems can be a major problem with corn. If you think it will be a bad pest year go for the one with the more seed. I like Jospeh's method of selecting for "skunk proof" corn.

I've been toying with the idea of designing a motion activated strobe light corn pest tool. I think it would work quite well. I think there may now be commercial units of this idea that you can now buy. Might be a good way to deter pests that might actually work well without traps or poison. The chili powder method does not work well here, especially after it rains. I think someone mentioned they have a motion activated garden hose sprayer device.

Jeremy Weiss

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Re: My Two Corn Paths
« Reply #2 on: 2022-06-17, 07:42:59 PM »
That's actually the odd thing. I've now had the mini corn samples for at least fifteen to twenty years (without refrigeration). and they STILL give me near 100% germination if I plant them indoors (I just can't transplant them out then if I do that, since by the time the corn has used up it's whole endosperm as no longer interests the chipmunks and squirrels, the roots have gotten too big, to entangled and too delicate for effective transplanting. And I don't have the SPACE to plant each plant (or even each hill) in a separate large pot that would give the roots the necessary room; I'd need 100 pots! [I said my corn patch was 12x12 before, but I usually plant it 10x10, to leave me a border to walk on and keep the gardeners from hitting the edges when they mow the lawn]).

At one point, I thought of trying cloches, but there'd be the same size scale (cloches are expensive, and 100 of them is probably WAY beyond my budget.) Plus, I know from my attempt last year in the back that chipmunks have NO PROBLEM digging under a cloche (why it kinda works on the beans and cowpeas I don't know, maybe the chipmunks just don't like them as much).   

I've tried Chili Oil, they seem to ignore it (plus, I can't soak the soil in chili oil, it would clog up the seeds pores and they'd never imbibe). Maybe a coating of Diatomaceous Earth on top when I'm done sowing; make it too painful for them to dig, and, perhaps come (is diatomaceous earth painful for critters to even WALK on?).

At least, when the WHOLE experiment is done I'll have an easier time with the very last samples, the miniature colored sweet corn kernels. Since I only have about eight of EITHER of the samples, I CAN just put them into two big pots and put them on the patio, on pedestals where the squirrels can't GET to them (they, CAN get to the top of the pedestals, but the plastic is too slick for them to get a claw into the pots, so, so long as the pots are tall enough they can't reach them by stretching, they can't get to the top.)

And I'll be glad to put them in the freezer, if my parents will ever let me have any ROOM for them. Both our freezers are perpetually packed to over capacity with leftovers they MIGHT want later. Not that I am any less guilty, somewhere in there, there is a frozen pint of sauce from an Italian restaurant that closed well over a decade ago, that I am saving for analysis (It's their incredible Mozzarella en Carroza sauce, and I am determined to learn the right ratio of tomato sauce, capers and anchovies.) Oh and an alligator roast (have to cook that if it isn't freezer burnt).