It’s a good time for us to give you an update on our corn! Our plants are progressing quite nicely, we’ll be into the silk and tassel process before we know it!
Corn has been an elusive subarctic crop with many saying it was impossible. Even our state University’s extension service had written corn off as “marginal,” or science speak for not worth growing. That was until they trialed several modern varieties back in 2019 and finally found some types that could produce at subarctic latitudes!
From that trial, we selected the Cafe variety as our starting point. We trialed it last year and found amazing success, despite being rather ignorant northern corn growers. The Cafe variety produces a single ear per stalk, typically about half the size of a “normal” ear of corn. We’re not gonna lie, it’s thrilling to produce our own corn in a place where it was once deemed infeasible.
Practically every conventional gardening knowledge source says you can’t grow corn indoors and transplant it outdoors. That’s a myth! We start ours 4-5 weeks to last frost and transplant just fine. The key is to sow into fairly large containers to allow the massive roots sufficient soil to grow into. Our preferred vessel is a 606 jumbo insert. That, and to disturb the plant’s roots as little as possible when transplanting into their final home.
We’re growing our corn in our sub irrigated containers, fed with constant access to water soluble fertilizer. This is really the only way you’d be able to grow corn this intensively, a conventional container would likely be challenged to support that many plants per container.
One of the main differences we’ll be practicing this year will be to pollinate our corn plants by hand. We relied on the wind last year and while we did well, we can do even better by handling the pollination process. We’ll show you this process and discuss the details when we get to that point!
We’re at 36 corn plants this year, a massive quantity upgrade from our previous year’s harvest. We are excited for the ways we’ll get to use our corn in our preservations this year, it’s likely we’ll have enough to do a few different preparations!