Corn becoming too big?

We are said to be obsessed with corn. If this sounds reminiscent of the great Irish potato famine your not wrong. The USA and the world are very dependent on corn. Corn in the way we normally eat it is not particularly healthy but that was not always the case. Corn is grown for food, for fuel, and animal feed but it is so much more. Many people say they dont eat corn but they do in the form of many other products. We use corn meals for tortillas or breads and cereals, oil, meat, milk, eggs, liquor, sweetner, and many other things. We rely so heavily on corn it makes us somewhat vulnerable. What corns do you grow? Almost everyone in this country uses corn everyday. You might not be convinced but consider at least 10% of fuel is made from ethenol.


It’s almost impossible to find corn that is not regular U.S. field corn. I’d love to buy 10 or 20 pounds of heirloom corn.


What corn are you referring to?



Here are 50 pound bags if you need them Heirloom Corn or you can order smaller quantity Heirloom Corn – Mary's Heirloom Seeds or Truckers Favorite White Corn | Premium Garden Seeds | Hoss Tools and old favorite is reids Reids Yellow Dent Corn | Premium Garden Seeds | Hoss Tools
Green Ornamental Corn Oxacana Green Dent Seed – Harris Seeds


I got sweet corn and tried to grow it last season. It was a bust for me for whatever reason. It is worth noting that not all corn is considered equal. Glass corn is very pretty but you would not eat it. The corn used for livestock and other uses than eating very few would want to eat. Corn is certainly a staple in our culture though. It is in products we use and is heavily centered in both Halloween and Thanksgiving here in America ranging from cornfield mazes to decorations. I think there is such variety of corn I would not be concerned with something like the potato famine though. As time is going on we are becoming less reliant on it too. With CA passing the law forcing electric vehicles the electric vehicles are more likely to become to norm. Maybe not as first but overtime with will see the overall shift.


I’ve grown about 300 or more varieties of corn. Most are not worth a second growout. A few deserve some extra attention.

Some corn is specifically grown to make polenta. Floriani Red Flint from Southern Exposure is an example. Some is grown for animal feed. Most commercial corn fits this category. There are some specialty corns that are worth growing for animal feed. I developed Chicken Feed which Sandhill Preservation sells. It is specifically bred to have higher methionine which chickens need in their diet. If you want to try some other corns in the dent group, Nothstine Dent is a good variety for cornbread and Cherokee Squaw is one that produces a decent crop for animal feed.

Sweet corn is another kettle of worms with most varieties on the market today derived from 3 key genes (Su, Se, and SH2). I refuse to eat SH2 corn as it is too watery and lacks flavor. For a good SE corn, I grow Silver King. Merit is an SU that is worth growing.

What other kinds of corn are worth homeowner growing? Popcorn is pretty good in winter. Pennsylvania Butter Flavored is one worth a trial. If you want a multicolored popcorn, try Jones Multicolor. Yes, this is another one I made by crossing several different colored varieties. Both are available from Sandhill.

I can’t really recommend any flint varieties as most are unadapted to my growing conditions. I can grow several, but none really stand out.

Here are a few others with traits that make them unusual:

Nalo Orange - very high beta carotene, useful for animal feed and corn meal
Silver Queen - old standard SU hybrid still worth growing
Warners - very large ears of yellow dent field corn
Jalo - the tallest maize I've ever grown, normally 20 feet tall or more
Inca Giant - largest kernels out there, but not very well adapted to non-tropical growing areas

i grew out painted mountain and atomic orange corn from Baker seed. grew them in long strips right on my lawn by putting down 12in strips of cardboard then a 6in. mound of promix on that . once they were planted and soil tamped down, i side dressed both sides of the strip with 12in of chic bedding and tamped that down leaving only a 1in. strip in the middle open where the seeds were planted. they grew very well with no other fertilizer. when they got about 4ft. i side dressed again with chic bedding and this time i pressed it with the rake against the stalks to shore them up. they grew to 8ft. and had nice sized cobs. narrower than hybrid corn but was a decent fresh eating corn in milk stage and very good dried and in cornbread. according to Bakers, both of them are higher in protein and antioxidants than regular sweet or dent type corns. mine got hit by a late season frost that got down to 21f. when they were only a inch tall and all of them survived with no damage! they were developed by a guy in northwestern Montana for hardiness and drought tolerance, crossing indian corns with hardy heirlooms. i didnt give these corns any supplemental water and they grew 3ft taller than what the breeder said they would grow. i was so impressed bought 3lbs more of the painted mountain seed as well as trialing a few more hardy corns and plan to grow alot of it next summer for us and the animals. if you have the means i suggest you give it a try. i think if something came along and infected the hybrid corns in these huge monocultured fields these hardy heirlooms could be a viable replacement we could grow as homeowners on a smaller scale to sustain ourselves.

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Steve, suggest you get Roy’s Abenaki Calais flint and add it to your mix. It will perform very well in your climate.

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any idea who sells it?

I used to grow Ambrosia sweet corn… very good bicolor sweetcorn… right mix of sweetness and good corn flavor.

Tried several others over the years but never found one we liked better. I dont grow corn anymore… but if I did it would be Ambrosia.



Peaches and cream is pretty good as well. Ambrosia is very sweet.


Fedcoseeds normally carries Abenaki Calais flint corn. They currently show it out of stock but likely will re-list it next month. If not, half a dozen sellers list it online which can be found with a web search.


i looked it up and it looks identical to painted mountain except painted mountain ripens earlier. 95 days here really is pushing it. i wouldnt be surprised they come from the same lineage as the breeder used indian corn from all over the northern tier to developed painted mountain.

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What are your guys opinions on quad sweets like Temptress?

Yes, I eat cereals with corn in them, I try and stay away from corn syrup, although so many manufactured things have it in them, and so I occasionally consume something with it in it. I occasionally have some some of bagged snacks made of corn. Some of the sweets that I eat that are imported from south or central America has corn in it. A lot of Mexican/American foods have corn in them. Whenever I buy any manufactured foods I look at the ingredient labels. A lot of people don’t pay enough attention to the ingredient labels.


In the 80s I was eating corn as sweet as the modern corn, and it had the ‘heirloom taste’ to it, it’s nothing new to me, the once common corn of Vermont, not sure if they grow the same corn there anymore. I am not sure if it was 100% as sweet as modern corn yet it was very sweet, at least 90 something percent as sweet. If you have it rarely, not all the time I see no problem with it.

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Quadsweet corn is just a play on the genetic makeup. When su, se, and sh2 are all bred into a single variety - along with 1 other gene to enhance sweetness, the result is a quadsweet. The advantage of a quadsweet is that it can be pollinated by any other sweet corn and will still retain the sweetness level of the pollinator. This is a big advantage in areas where many varieties of corn are grown close together.


Havent seen anyone post about their corn they planted yet… i planted mine last week but it hasnt rained here until this weekend…so technically i guess they will start germinating now.

I planted Honey Select last year… it was ok nothing special.

This year i added another few small patches and am trying new ones to me.

Sugar Baby
Butter Gold
Honey & Cream
True Gold
Golden Bantam

Hoping to narrow it down next year and stick with 2 varieties and leave it be. Thats tough to do with so many choices.

I ran out of room and had some Golden Queen that didnt get planted… hoping it wasnt the best of all… but likely the case.


I posted in the seed starting thread. My Buhl sweet corn is 2 feet tall and growing rapidly. I’m going to put nitrogen on it in a few minutes and then leave it alone to mature.


When I was 16 many many years ago, I started sweetcorn under clear poly in northern Illinois in early April. It was ripe by my goal, the 4th of July. When I had the first ripe batch I went into the local bank to get change to sell it. It was all sold before I got out of the bank.

Here in Alpine I’ve had ripe sweetcorn by mid June. Several yrs I had 7 plantings and ripe corn from July into October.