Last year I bought a bunch of corn seed I never got to plant. (Just as well since the ducks ate all the corn I did plant.) Now I have so many varieties to choose from, and so few places to plant it without cross-pollinating unless I want to fight with tassle bags again this year.
Try to pick just three of the following:
1. Country Gentleman (Shoepeg) – a white sweet corn from Connecticut, introduced around 1890.
2. Aunt Mary’s – a white sweet corn originating from Prairie Township, probably around the 1830s. Pest & disease resistant.
3. Ohio Blue Clarage – a dent corn dating to about 1920, grown extensively in central Ohio from the 1930s through the 1950s and favored by cattle and poultry farmers. It is descended from Rotten Clarage, which was a mainstay on cattle farms of Southern Ohio in the 2oth century. Folk wisdom says that chickens fed Ohio Blue will eat more, gain more weight, and lay more eggs. It’s a solid, dark blue corn. When ground for cornmeal, it is sweet and white speckled with blue, though the blue bran can be sifted out if a white flour is desired.
4. McCormack’s Blue Giant – a blue dent corn used to make blue corn meal.
5. Neal’s Paymaster – a red-cobbed, white dent corn from Tennessee said to be favored among moonshiners.
6. Leaming’s Yellow Dent- the oldest known variety of corn, this red-cobbed, yellow dent corn was introduced by J.S. Leaming of Clinton County, Ohio, in 1826. Mr. Leaming was getting yields of 100 bushels an acre from hand cultivation. He continued to improve the variety over 56 years.
7. Reid’s Yellow Dent – the grandfather of many modern varieties, this cultivar was developed by Robert Reid in the 1840s in Tazwell County, Illinois, and was a prize winner at the 1893 World’s Fair. This was a favorite of Ohio’s “Contrary Farmer,” Gene Logsdon. “
8. Daymon Morgan’s Kentucky Butcher – a huge, multi-colored dent corn that Daymon Morgan, of Leslie County, Kentucky, bred from Bloody Butcher. It’s said that this variety can reach 18′ tall! You can read more about Mr. Morgan’s struggle against the coal companies of Eastern Kentucky here: From Huckleberry Ridge to Thunder Ridge
9. At least nine different kinds of popcorn, including Dynamie (South American Yellow), Pennsylvania Butter-Flavored, Dakota Black, some presently being grown by other Ohio farms, several different colors, and one that puffs up especially large that is favored for making caramel corn.
10. And of course, Glass Gem flint. I feel almost like I have to grow this one. It is the queen of ornamental corns, stunning all who lay eyes on it for the first time. A friend sent me 99 seeds of this in late 2013 or early 2014, and I planted just three rows of it. People are still buying the seeds, but I think this is the last year I should sell them. Any remaining ones from that batch should get planted or eaten this year. I want fresh seed to continue sales.
11. Oh, and then I also have a grab bag of other sweet corn, some heritage and some hybrid. Some are yellow, some are mixed yellow and white. Golden Bantam, improved varieties of the same, Peaches ‘n’ Cream…I’m not sure what all else.
What do you think? If you could grow only three of these, which would you grow? Is there a kind you’d be particularly interested in buying? Let me know in the comments.