This year for the first time since I was a child, I grew corn. I had never tried to grow corn in Seattle. Being a long season crop that appreciates consistent warm weather, corn is not well adapted to the Pacific Northwest. And yet, who can call herself a farmer if she doesn’t at least try to grow corn?
Because I did not expect a definite success, I opted for two unusual varieties – ‘Indian’ corn and popcorn. ‘Indian’ or ‘ornamental’ corn are two of the many names for the beautiful, multi-coloured corns you usually see hung up as decoration. This corn dries on the cob and, in fact, may be ground into flour. I’ve always wanted to try this. Popcorn is a corn variety with an especially tough outer shell that does not allow the moisture to escape from the hull until it actually rupture and everts the shell. Cool.
Despite the cruddy year we had, the corn germinated, grew ‘knee-high by 4th of July’ (a good measure of whether it will mature before season’s end), and produced beautiful cobs. Cliche though it is, the critters noticed they were ripe before I did. I lost the best to nighttime visitors, but protected the remainder with homemade cages from leftover hardware cloth and metal twine.
I will continue to let the corns dry and report back when I’ve used them for food!