We often think about getting back to the earth, and there’s nothing like growing your own corn. You can get a pretty good crop going in any urban environment, too. And everyone knows how corn is an amazingly versatile food. Personally, we have our eye on making homemade grits–but first, let’s get started with the growing… [photo via flickr]
The Basics For Growing Indian Corn At Home
Most of us buy yellow corn at the grocery store, but there is something that’s more rewarding about growing it right in your own backyard. If you want to make homemade grits or homemade flour, it’s always best to start out with homemade corn (or flint, as it’s sometimes referred to). Although you can also use field corn to make meal and grits, Indian corn usually has a better texture and taste. Find a type of Indian corn you think would be suitable and buy these seeds. Be sure to start planting early because growing season usually takes quite a while. Plant the corn about three months before the frost season begins. If you already have other corn crops in your garden or yard, be sure to plant your Indian corn at least 100 feet or more away to prevent cross-pollination with other varieties, which could affect the growth of your plant.
How To Plant Indian Corn Crops
Indian corn needs to be well watered throughout the summer, so be sure to water your plants frequently during this season. Make sure your corn is also getting full sun. This will help germinate the plant as the temperatures warm up. Remember that pollination is still important, so be sure to plant at least five rows. Anything less, and your corn plants may not pollinate properly. Start the planting process by carefully placing each seed in the soil. Make sure that each seed is at least two inches apart. Cover the seeds with an inch of soil to keep the seeds moist.
How To Care For Your Indian Corn Crops
It takes roughly three full months for the corn to fully grow. In the meantime, you need to take proper care of your crops to ensure a healthy crop. You’ll need to maintain the soil by applying mulch around the plant to retain natural moisture. As mentioned above, you will need to continue watering the plants, especially if the soil feels dry. Be careful not to get water on the stalk leaves as that might cause plant disease.
When the corn is ready to be harvested, wait until the husks are completely green and check to make sure the kernels are firm and dry. Carefully pull down on the ripest ear and pull it off the stalk. Place the corns in a large basket or bucket and then hang them up to dry. Be sure to give the corn at least a few full days to dry before you use it.
There are so many great reasons to grow Indian corn in your own backyard. Not only is it a fantastic ingredient for foods like grits and flour, but it’s also a fantastic ingredient for many other dishes including salads, soups, and casseroles.