Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Corn is Growing


Things appear to be going well with my corn. As I have mentioned earlier, it is a heritage breed of corn from the eastern portion of our Continent. I bought the seed from Agestral Heritage Seeds out of Ontario. It is called Bloody Butcher and grows to a height of 12 feet. The kernals are, obviously, a blood red colour and the plants should have a high yield of large cobs. The corn can be eaten as a sweet corn when it is young, but is mainly used as a feed corn or 'Dent Corn'. This variety of corn is a late maturing variety requiring at least 100 days in the growing season. Here in central Alberta, this is pushing it a bit. We have had a good growing season so far with lots of rain in May and a very dry and hot summer since then. As long as we continue with some good, hot weather and just enough rain to keep the plants happy, I may get some mature cobs. I am hoping to collect enough cobs to keep as seed corn. This variety is an open pollinated variety of corn and there isn't any other type of corn anywhere near our farm that would pollute the pollination. With time and selective breeding, in a few short years I should have a good 'new' type of Bloody Butcher that is suited to our shorter growing season....at least that is the plan.
Right now, the tallest stalks are about 6 feet tall and they all look very healthy. As you can see in the photo, I have had to irrigate a little. When the corn is finally ready to harvest, I will take my choice cobs and put them in the cold room for the winter for seeding next spring and then remove the electric fencing to allow the pigs to go through the corn patch and harvest the rest. Eventually, it is my hope to have large fields of corn growing on our farm. This will be a good source of feed for the animals that will require no gas or machinery to harvest! If all I have to do is move an electric fence every few days to allow for further harvesting...no problem.

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