Glass Gem corn experiment

Glass Gem corn 1

I like to do experiments in the garden and try different things. Last year I grew for the first time Glass Gem corn which you can read about in my post Glass Gem corn. When I harvested it at the end of the 2014 season, I got fantastic colors when I picked it. It truly is a special corn. But of all the many ears of corn with different colors, I got only little 2 ears of a gorgeous pink color which was like no other. I saved the pink kernels and cataloged all the colors i harvested which you can see in my post, Glass Gem corn colors. It was the only corn I grew and no neighbors grew corn so I feel reasonably certain that it is pure. This year in 2015, I decided to grow out those pink kernels and only them. I wanted to see if I would get more pink ones. Now since all the glass gem corn cross-pollinated with themselves, one would think I might get a great mix of colors this year again with such a big genetic pool, but not so.

glass gem corn ears pink

The majority of the corn was pink! Out of those 2 ears of pink corn (didn’t plant all the kernels), I got 27 ears of corn this year. I got 18 pink (3 not shown). That’s 66%. The pinks were in many different shades of pink as well.

glass gem corn ears mixed

I also got 6 mixed colors with very little pink if any and 3 more that were predominantly pink but had some purple in them too. If you include the other predominately pink ones as well, then that would be 77% of the corn I planted was in the pink family. That astonished me.

So what would happen if I planted the pink that I got this year for next year? Would I then gt 100% pink? Probably not. I think I would have to keep growing it out for about 5 years to keep eliminating any other color genes but it was a great experiment. Now there is something to be said about maintaining diversity. It tends to make stronger strains but I just might try it again next year in 2016 from this year’s corn and see what happens!

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Garden Harvest Early October

oct 8 harvest

I love this time of year. It’s like the garden’s gone wild, everything ready for harvest all at once and a sense of urgency is felt by me and the vegetables to get it done. Get it picked, get it harvested and get it preserved. It is a crazy intense time as fall is here for real and soon we will have the first 32°F night (historically the middle of October). Right now nights are in the mid 40’s but that will change soon. The mornings require a sweatshirt in the garden now.

The sunflowers have come and gone, my cucumbers are done. I spent hours picking and pickling them as I love pickles. The zucchini are gone too. The green and purple beans are mostly finished. The shishitos and poblano peppers and eggplants are done as of this week. The 25 lbs of pears and 30 lbs of apples Michelle gave me are already dried into chips. The corn tassels are drying and soon I will see if my experiment of planting all pink kernels of Glass Gem corn will turn out pink ears or still be multi-colored. Either way is fine. The tomatoes are definitely fading, preferring much warmer nights and their size and harvest is getting smaller. I’m making tomato soup, tomato tapenade and tomato sauce like crazy-so far 18 gallon freezer bags of raw sauce in each that I will later make pasta sauces with (once the garden is done). Today was my last day at the Farmer’s Market as the Tomato Lady for this year as I will not get enough tomatoes again.

But the potatoes still need digging, the herbs need trimming and drying, Jimmy Nardello peppers are still kicking and need picking, the beets and carrots I planted in early spring are ready for harvest and the chard and different kales I planted in late July are loving the cooler weather now and will endure until we have really cold weather. Crazy busy around here.

Glass Gem corn colors

Glass Gem corn 6

Glass Gem corn 6

I planted some Glass Gem corn seeds this year from Native Seed Search in AZ and grew them out. For the last 3 years I’ve tried to buy this seed but it was always sold out so I was excited to try them this year. The range of colors is incredible. Opening each ear of corn was like Christmas because you wouldn’t know what colors would be inside.  Many of the colors look like little glass pearls hence the name and some look less pearlized but all are stunningly beautiful. An interesting note is I noticed in the packet that some seeds had color and other seeds less color and it didn’t seem to matter when they grew out but maybe that’s because no one has tried to isolate particular colors yet.

I know the seeds are pure because I didn’t grow any other corn this year and all my neighbors don’t have any veggie gardens for wind cross-pollination. I am saving the seeds and will sell them by the color next spring. Of course there is no guarantee that each kernel of corn will even produce its particular color because of its unique genetics (just because you have blue eyes doesn’t mean you will produce a child with blue eyes-it depends on your genetics and the one you mated with). I’ll let you know next spring how you can buy some of them.

I’m going to take my favorite colors next year and replant the seeds and label them to see if they grow back out to that color. Great project for a Master Gardener, don’t you think? Of course I’ll have to isolate them or cross-pollination will happen for sure. I might call upon a few of my gardener friends to grow one particular color in their garden with no other corn-growing there to see what happens. This will be an interesting endeavor.

There were 15 different color combinations with some producing very limited colors due to just a few ears having those colors and some have a lot of ears with a particular color combo. Some I won’t even sell because there aren’t a lot of seeds with a particular color.  So here are the colors. Check out these beauties!

Different Types of Corn

 

Glass Gem corn

Pictured above is the Glass Gem corn I grew this year-it came out in many different colors not just these. I’ll write more on the different colors in another post.

 

Hopi Blue corn

Here is the Hopi Blue corn that my friend Jody grew. Notice the kernals shrunk.

When they dried they looked very different from each other as shown above. I thought maybe it was the way we dried them. Perhaps we dried them differently. The individual Hopi Blue kernals shrunk while the Glass Gem kernals retained their original shape. All this led me to wonder about the different types of corn I’ve hear about – dent, flint, sweet, flour and popcorn and what makes them different. So here’s what I found out.

Dent (Zea mays indent) – Dent corn is called ‘field’ corn and is used for livestock feed or in processed foods. It is usually white or yellow and contains both hard and soft starch. It becomes indented when mature. Field corn contains 4% sugar.

Flint (Zea mays indurata) – Flint corn is called ‘Indian’ corn and has a hard outer shell and is hard inside as well. The kernals are very hard, sort of like flint stone, hence the name flint. It comes in a wide range of colors. Flint corn is commonly used for decorations.

Popcorn (Zea mays everts) – Popcorn is a type of flint corn. It has a soft starchy center and a very hard exterior shell. When we heat it, the moisture inside the kernal blows up to become popcorn.

Sweet (Zea saccharata or Zea rugosa) – Sweet corn is the fresh ‘corn-the-cob’ type of corn we eat. It is also canned and frozen and contains more sugars than other types of corn. Field corn has 10% sugars in it but will convert to starch quickly if not eaten soon after picking. That’s why my grandmother use to send us kids to pick the corn right before we put it in boiling water before dinner!

Flour (Zea mays amylase) – Flour corn is used for baking. It is easy to grind because of its soft center. It is mostly white, but can come in other colors like blue corn. It is one of the oldest types of corn grown by Native Americans.

So when I looked them up, I discovered the Hopi Blue corn is a flour corn and the Glass Gem corn is a popcorn which is type of Flint corn. That explains why they look so different.  The flour corn kernals are softer so they shrunk more while the flint corn kernals are hard and retained their shapes. Another ‘ah ha’ moment for me!

Cucumbers, corn and potatoes are in!

peppers and eggplants in

Why do I feel so far behind?!

Yesterday I finished putting in my seeds for cucumbers, potatoes (really late there)  and a new corn called ‘glass gem’ yesterday. Then I remind myself it just hailed last week and snowed the week before so perhaps I’m more on schedule than I think this year. All the crops will get row cover over them to protect them from birds eating the seedlings. Out of sight, out of mind.

Today I put in 8 pepper and 8 eggplant transplants and have 8 more of each to plant tomorrow plus squash seeds and Tarabais bean seeds to plant by the weekend.

Sounds easy but after I lightly turn the soil in the bed, add amendments in each hole, put the plant in, make a well around each plant to hold the water around the plant, connect a drip line and wrap it around each plant, put straw around each well and make cages to protect them and lastly put row cover over the cages which I secured using rocks so they won’t blow off. Phew—it all takes time. I get tired just thinking about it!

I am still germinating the gourds under the lights in the house which as soon as they come up and grow their first true leaves I will put out. Oh yea and the beets and carrots have to still go in. Sigh—so much to do! And did I mention I put in my one purple tomatillo plant? Blah. Blah. Blah.

‘Glass Gem’ corn

glass gem_corn

Glass Gem corn seed courtesy of Nativeseeds.org

Wow I’ve scored big time in my mind. I just received some ‘Glass Gem’ corn seeds from Native Seeds in Arizona. They are not cheap but usually rare seeds aren’t cheap. This corn is so beautiful with it’s stunning translucent colors. Looks like glass to me. How fitting for a glass blower to grow this corn!

It is actually a popcorn but too beautiful to use it that way so I’m growing it as an ornamental this year so I can save the seeds-and I’m only growing this one corn so I know it won’t cross-pollinate with other corn so I’ll know the seeds will be pure next year. Two years ago I tried to find some of this corn but it was sold out everywhere. One year ago I tried again and still sold out. Marcy mentioned it to me on Facebook this year and I got some-thanks for the reminder Marcy!  To read the story of it go to: Nativeseeds.org

Can’t wait to get it in the ground (but I will) as it is still too soon to start growing here in Santa Fe.

Veggies I will and won’t grow this year and why in 2011

Here is my veggie list from last year. I thought it important to go through it and tell you what I will and won’t grow again and why before I forget. Look at my SEED LIST PAGE next week (as it could always change) to see exactly what I am growing in 2011

TOMATO-HEIRLOOMS
San Marzano-red plum tomato-YES-I will try again even though ALL 4 died. I hear too many good things about this tomato

Striped German-bicolor tomato-YES-I WILL grow it again for my third straight year-One of my favorites even though it takes a little longer to develop

Black CherryYES– I will grow this for my third straight year-another favorite

Paul Robeson-black tomato-YES-A Farmers Market favorite although I prefer others.

Cherokee Purple-purple tomato-NO-I missed this one last year but it is wonderful. As good as Brandywine.

Cherokee ChocolateYES-Just as good as Cherokee purple but a little brownish color. I will choose between one of the Cherokees due to space.

Prudens Purple-purple tomato-NO-not as good as the Cherokees nor as prolific but planted it because it was suppose to ripen sooner-not true for me last year.

Black Krim-black tomato-NO I didn’t do this one last year but had it in the lineup because it is only 69 days to ripen. Never had good luck in previous years.

Pantano Romanesco-red classic tomato-YES-wonderful tomato from Italy

Great WhiteNO– novelty-lost both plants

Costoluto Genovese-red tomato-YES fantastic looking-fluted and great taste

Goldsman Italian American-large red plum-YES even though I lost 3 out of 4, and it took forever to ripen, it makes the BEST tasting tomato sauce I’ve ever made

Aunt Ruby’s German GreenNO-Novelty-lost 2 plants

Gold Medal-bicolor tomato-MAYBE-took longer to ripen than Striped German but great taste

TOMATOES-HYBRID-I grow a few hybrids
Lemon BoyMAYBE-didn’t get any in last year but it is a sweet terrific tomato

Park’s Beefy Boy-red tomato-70 days-YES-only 70 days and great taste

Sun Sugar-yellow cherry-NO-kinda like a lot of yellow cherry tomatoes but super sweet.Want to try something different.

Original Goliath-red tomato-NO– nice size, early ripener but can’t remember the flavor

TOMATO-COMPETITION (biggest)
Big Zac-red/80 days-YES-takes the longest to ripen but taste is great and chance to grow a huge one.

2010 VEGGIE LIST
BEANS-Rattlesnake-YES-great tasting pole bean over my arbor and Tavera-NO average tasting bush bean

PEPPER-Shishito-YES-I love these-not hot but full of flavor

SUMMER SQUASH-ZUCCHINI-Costata Romanesco –YES wonderful taste and Lungo Bianco-NO-it was good and more prolific than Romanesco but not as flavorful. Sticking to one kind this year.

SUMMER SQUASH-SCALLOPED-Yellow Custard and Bennings Green Tint-NO on both. I’m only growing Costata Romanesco

WINTER SQUASH-Marina di ChioggiaNO-powdery mildew problem and not many squashes and Galeux d’EyesinesYES-prolific-great taste-3rd yr.

EGGPLANT-Little Fairy-YES-prolific tender skin and great taste, third year in a row. Thai Yellow EggNO-took all season to develop and then froze at first frost. What a disappointment.

CUCUMBERS-Parisian, Boothsby Blonde, Poona Kera, and ParadeYES TO ALL-Third straight season

CORN-not sure if I’m growing. Might just pick it up at Farmers Market

LETTUCES-from COOK’S GARDEN-Provencal Mix, Mesclun Mix, Buttercrunch, Yugoslavian Red, Santoro Lettuce, and Little Gem-YES

SPINACH-from COOK’S GARDEN-Indian Summer and Double Choice-NO-will look for bigger leaf variety.Too puny.

CARROTS-from COOK’S GARDEN-Kaleidoscope (mix of red, purple, orange and yellow)-NO want only orange and purple ones this year.

BROCCOLI-Brocolli Romanesco-NOtakes too long to develop.

ARUGULA-ApolloYES

BOK CHOY-Extra Dwarf Pak Choy-YES

CHARD-5 Color SilverbeetYES TO ANY CHARD

PEAS-DWARF SUGAR, OREGON SPRING IIYES

2010 GIANT PUMPKINS
895 Grande (1016 Daletas x 1385 Jutras)-YES-grew the 2010 NM State Record Pumpkin-421 lbs + 3 other new ones

GIANT MARROW (like a giant Zucchini)
206.5 Wursten 09YESdidn’t grow last year but will this year

75.4 Wursten 09YESgrew the 2010 NM State Record-43 lbs

GIANT TOMATOES
7.18 N. Harp 09 (5.58 Timm x open) YESgrew a 2 lb 11 oz tomato in 2010

5.416 N. Harp 09 (5.58 Harp x openYES

Big Zac (from Totally Tomato)-YES

GIANT SUNFLOWERS
TitansYES