Thursday, June 30, 2011

SeedForSecurity Indian Corn: Quick Update

Saving kernels from Indian Corn
Part of growing your own food in your garden includes harvesting seeds for the next season. It is perpetual self sufficiency. Grow it, harvest some for food and some for seed, start over next season. I sat down this weekend and picked ONE corn cob apart.

I wondered how many kernels I would yield from one cob (or ear, which is it?) So, I counted the kernels. From one cob I harvested 243 kernels. Keep in mind that EACH corn stalk provides anywhere from 2-6 ears (in my short-lived experience.)

In my late night estimation, I bet I used around 50 kernels for my garden this season. I planted around five rows with ten seeds per row.  So with one ear of corn, I am able to quintuple the stock of corn seed from which I started my season. We've already eaten 16 ears with dinner. Another four or five were lost from drying experimentation.  There's still several out in the garden.  Not bad for 50 seeds.

Piles of 10, one ear of corn netted 243 kernels for next season.
How's THAT for an ROI (return on investment)!
Speaking of which, you must wait until the corn is matured before you should harvest for seed. . After you pick the corn from the stalk and shuck it, you have to let it sit out and dry (if you are saving the kernels for seed.) Beware not to dry it in temperatures over 100 degrees or you will damage the seeds (read Anne's comment below this post).   The stalks should be brown. Any trace of green and you need to leave it a bit longer. Often, ears that are ready to be picked will turn upside down.

 I can tell when it is done drying by how easily (or not) it is to pick one kernel from the cob. If it sort of tears where the kernel meets the cob, leaving a small portion on the cob, then it is not quite dry enough. When it is properly dried, I can pry a kernel away from the cob and the whole kernel will "pop" off the cob leaving no parts behind.

It is exciting to think we can grow our OWN food and collect MORE seed than we had to start.  This gardening thing has turned out to be a great experiment! You should try it. I recommend starting your seed collection from Seed For Security, like I did.  OBTW, here is how Seed For Security harvests this same corn.

Don't forget to check out our contest starting July 1st. One of the prizes is a complete seed kit from Seed For Security! A $75 value. It is the one we bought last year to start our garden.

Share YOUR knowledge of corn in the comment section below.


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