This post is dedicated to this gorgeous ornamental gem corn. I ordered it from Native Seeds based out of Tucson, Arizona, a non-profit seed saving organization dedicated to heirloom varieties and the conservation of diverse food crops from the American southwest and northwest Mexico regions.
After I saw this viral picture of Glass Gem Corn on the internet, I didn’t hesitate to get on the waiting list and patiently waited for my precious seeds to arrive. It was one of the several ornamental veggie’s I was going to try this year.
Now I live in Corn Country…the lower mainland of British Columbia has no shortage of corn fields and most of our fall harvest celebrations are completely based around this dietary staple.
In fact a smiling corn on the cob icon is a familiar figure along our country roads and corn stands are as common as highrises would be in a city.
I started my gem corn in peat pellets and put them under a plastic dome in the window of my unheated garden shed at the end of April.
A couple weeks later they graduated to my mini Greenhouse ( made it for less than $50! ), here’s the tute for that.
When I went to hunt for a picture of the Gem Corn transferred to the veggie garden, I realized that I never got a good shot. I planted them straight across the back of the bed to get maximum heat and wind protection. You can’t really see them yet…
But a storm with high winds did come along and knocked down a bunch of my almost mature corn, I was pretty devastated.
There was a few immature cobs that had started to turn color so I rescued them and any of the stalks that remained attached to the ground were left to mature.
Now, a little horticultural lesson about corn.
Tasseling is when the corn forms those plumes ( male flowers ) at the top of it’s stalk. That’s where the pollen is located and with the help of wind it will drift down to the forming ears and silks ( female flower ).
Did you know that every single pollinated silk represents a single kernal or seed of corn?
From now on you’ll think about that whenever your preparing fresh corn on the cob and peeling back those husks.
About 4-6 weeks after tasseling, you’ll be harvesting your corn depending on the variety. I’m growing a flint corn, it’s an ornamental indian corn which is meant for popping.
So, unlike sweet corn which would be harvested in it’s ‘milk’ stage ( when pierced with a thumbnail it oozes a white milky liquid ), I’m going to let them stay on the stalk until the shucks have turned completely brown.
The ones that had blown over had already turned so I figured it was time to go take a peek to see what I got.
My first glimpse and I was already excited!
Every ear I began to pull back had the most beautiful vibrant glassy colors.
I’d think… ‘yep, this one is definitely the prettiest’, then I would open the next.
Since I was harvesting these on Thanksgiving Monday along with veggie’s for our Holiday Dinner For Two, I decided on a few of them for my tablescape.
But the next day I just couldn’t stop admiring them so me and my lovelies had a photo shoot, and I named every one…
Jelly Bean and Candy Corn
The pretty blue one at the start of this post is called Bubbles and the first one I opened that had army greens and navy blues I called Liberty.
And the best part is I have at least another 35-40 cobs to harvest! I cannot wait to peel them back… I promise to add to this post when I get the rest open.
So what to do with it all. Well, I grew it for decorative purposes so some will be used for that. The rest will be saved as seed and stored for next year when I try to grow MORE!
You simply let it dry for a couple more weeks then grip the cob and twist. Do this over a bowl and save the seeds.
I decided to dry them in the most decorative way.
I made them into a wreath! It was simple, I just used a hot glue gun and a wicker wreath form.
Glue them near the tops of the ears with every one pointing inwards and just for extra security, I pulled a husk from each corn and glued it to the back.
How pretty is this!
Now that is just what the front entryway’s fall vignette needed.
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