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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Seed For Security: Corn and Squash Update

Indian Corn from SeedForSecurity.com
I'm happy to report that our seeds purchased from SeedForSecurity.com are growing very well. This is our second time to plant the Indian Corn and it has done superb. Last season we planted it a little late and didn't get the joy of seeing it reach full size before the winter frost set in. We also discovered little grubs had eaten into the cobs once the ears were peeled back. The grubs didn't matter much since our corn hadn't been planted early enough to mature before the frost (there just wasn't much corn ON the cob yet.)

Needless to say, Wifey and I have pulled a few ears here and there and they look terrific. The SFS website says to harvest when the ears turn brown and/or start to flip upside down. I pulled one yesterday and tasted it raw. It was sweet and yummy. I can't wait until they are fully grown. I'm guessing about one more month. We've planted several rows, around seven or so. Each row has around 10 stalks. Each stalk looks to be growing anywhere from 2-5 ears of corn. We should have a terrific feast ahead of us!


Butternut Squash from SeedForSecurity.com
Second on the list is our Butternut Squash. Not to be confused with Buttercup Squash. Very distinguishable once you see the difference. We planted one little row of squash as a test crop.  We have one seed that has gone berserk and it is growing all over the place. The rest are growing too but this one appears to be on steroids. I don't think it is coincidence that it is positioned closest to the water source. I've counted three squash coming off the monster stalk so far. I'm not sure I've ever tried squash before but if I'm going to take the time to grow it, you can be darn sure I'm going to try to eat it.

3 comments:

Anne said...

Butternuts are a winter squash.. so you do a thumbnail test to know when to pick them. When ripe, the rind should be hard so that your nail doesn't pierce the skin. Cut it off the plant and leave a couple of inches of stem on the fruit. This way they store longer as they are able to properly cure. Winter squash are one of those crops that get better with time. Freshly picked the flavor can be mild, almost watery. In a cool dry location they store for months.. and their flavor as well improves.

Corn, if it isn't well pollinated, has blank spots on the cob. Like with a lot of crops, temperatures in the mid 90's on up essentially kills pollen. Corn is wind pollinated, releasing millions of grains of pollen per plant in the morning for about 2 weeks. So if your cob has kernels developing, but you have blank spots, they won't fill in.

Interesting to go with a starch type corn! What kind of grinder do you guys use?

The Orange Jeep Dad said...

Well, I'm guessing by the fact that you find our choice in corn "interesting" that it means I may not have chosen the best type of corn for eating?

Wifey said she looked it up and found that the corn we got from SeedForSecurity.com was for grinding and using as a flour. To be honest, I planned on boiling it on the stove and eating. Would this be a bad idea?

To answer your question, I think Wifey has a WhisperMill grinder. We got it from CraigsList and I think its the older generation of the WonderMill. But it works terrifically.

Was I correct in the article about when to harvest and what would YOU do with this type of corn (eat cooked, grind)?

Thanks Anne!

Oh, and when do you think the Squash will be ready for picking? Sept?

Anne said...

You can totally boil it and eat it.. you just harvest it earlier (milk stage... explained in the link). I was kinda hoping you were going for cornmeal to be honest. I haven't tried making my own cornmeal and was looking forward to some info about how it tastes vs the store stuff.

Ok.. this is the everything about corn link..
http://urbanext.illinois.edu/veggies/corn.cfm

Seriously though.. you can never ever beat fresh picked homegrown sweet corn (SE). The open pollinated heirloom strains tend to be hit or miss with people. They often aren't the *in your face* sweet .. but are stronger in the "corn" flavor.. and tend to be more toothsome.

Squash.. before Sept. judging from the picture. You have to test with your nail, no way around that :P If you're not sure.. poke a few winter squash at the store. Your nail shouldn't be able to pierce it. Make sure the soil doesn't dry out, and should you have compost.. they like the occasional tea.

Butternut is Cucurbita moschata (this is the species of squash.. as in it won't cross with zucchini and many other popular summer squash). It is a heavy feeder with a relatively shallow root system. Watch watering at night because that sets up a more ideal situation for powdery mildew (mornings are better). Careful about moving the vines.. often squash vines will put out additional roots along the points that have leaves and are in contact with the ground.

Just.. save those squash seeds as they should be true to type.

You are right for corn to be ground up.. you pick when they are dried.

There is waxy (this is the kind they make corn starch out of), sweet, popcorn, flint, dent, and flour types. Thousands and thousands of different strains. No pressure.. lol.

What I mean is.. experiment. There is no right and no wrong. There are a ton of different kinds.. and some are multipurpose (as in immature stage for fresh eating.. and fully mature for grinding.)

Just if you have a good recipe for cornmeal.. lay it on me. I have like 30 pounds of it and cornbread has become a weapon.

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