I was never much of a fan of growing corn. I had the impression that it was a big soil depleter and space eater and the effort wasn’t worth it when we can get all the sweet corn we like at $2/dozen. Then Ed discovered a book on a fellow blogger’s website (explore links below) that busted some myths about growing corn as well as giving masterful instruction about the different types of corn and how they are best consumed.
The author, Carol Deppe, of the Resilient Gardener eats a gluten free diet and is all about self sufficiency so she has done a bunch of experiments growing corn. Apparently there are three types of corn and we typically are provided with meal or flour from “flint” corn. The best for baking is actually flour corn (and much corn flour is NOT made from that) and the best for boiling is flint (polenta, mush, grits). The third type is dent which has a diversity of tastes and uses depending on which variety. These are the author’s generalizations, but she claims to be able to make bread from flour corn that is really simple and is a good sandwich bread without artificial additives or binders.
She makes growing corn sound fascinating and we’re going to give a few varieties a try. We already grind our own corn and wheat for cooking so it will be fun to see how the different varieties work. We happen to be in a good spot for growing corn as the locally grown (GMO) corn is fairly far away and downhill and downwind from us. Otherwise cross-pollination happens and that contaminates the seeds we would save for the next year. At least we thought we were in good shape until our neighbor across the street said he was thinking about putting corn in his field (which formerly supported either cows or fourwheelers)! We think it still may be OK as the pollination times may be different.
Deppe also makes quite a case for potatoes which got me re-enthused about growing them too. Neither of these are crops that we will sell. We just grow these items for our table and generally have enough potatoes in storage to get us through the year (same with garlic and onions). We’ll see how it goes with the corn!