Corn Hunt, 2022

Pulsegleaner

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Okay, as of today the annual corn hunt begins.

First check was sort of ambivalent. No usable full size corn yet (the first stuff is usually pretty dull)

However, in the miniature material, there may be some potential this year. Looks like one of the growers went with Indian Berries, or such, so there's a lot of stuff that looks like strawberry corn, but in full ornamental colors (which is how I know it's Indian Berries and not Strawberry cream (though that may be in there as well). As far as I can tell, Strawberry Cream doesn't have purple in it's palette, and this does (a pretty decent amount of it).

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Pulsegleaner

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I just bought Illini Sweet XS eating corn from Jung's, if that helps.
Not really, my annual hunt is for interesting "Indian" corn lines to play around with the following spring. The only sweet corn on my schedule is whichever year I decided to try and plant out the contents of the jar where I throw any sweet corn kernels I manage to find on the Indian ones, and see whether a couple of years of selecting and rouging out give me a multicolored sweet corn worth keeping.

Oh, and the year I do the miniature sweet corn kernels, but since I probably only have 30-40 of those between ALL of the lines, that will be a small grow out year.
 

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It's a little earlier than I expected to be saying this, but I think the annual corn hunt is already OVER. I was waiting for the good "large stuff" to start to show up, but, as my mom pointed out, once Halloween rolls around in a week and a little, the farm stand has little reason to keep getting fresh material in (okay, technically, since Indian corn is a general fall thing, not a Halloween one, it's season extends to Thanksgiving, but most people buy their fall stuff before Halloween, so that's when most sellers get it in.)

So it looks like it will be a rather meagre haul this year. Last Wednesday, when I went to the stand I bascially grabbed ANYTHING I might be able to get use from (basically any strawberry type with at least one non red ear) and called it for now (the one good thing is that, since I will STILL need to go back there regularly for cherry tomatoes (which they have all year, and which tend to be better than any tomatoes I can get at the supermarket,) IF I'm wrong, and more stuff comes in, I will have an opportunity to find out.

So as it stands that's 12 bunches this year, or 36 ears (that sounds like a lot, but my usual take is at least 60 ears in a season, with it going well over 100 in good years.) With one exception, all miniature strawberry type ears.

Below is a picture of the five best ears from this year. Well, the five best ears that were in presentable condition ( Probably due to strawberry corn ears being fatter than the standard "carrot" shape ear usual to miniature corn, nearly all of the ears for sale had all of the kernels on one side of the ear broken in half, most likely by the machine that pulls the shucks back so they can be tied.

At the top, two ears that show what I mean about what can happen when dent corn pollen gets into miniature popcorn (or why I am unsure about using up the leftover kernels as popcorn; even if they are pesticide preservative and pathogen free (which I'm not sure they are) with that much soft starch in them, I honestly don't know if they WILL pop.)

Below right is a sort of intermediate ear, with a wide cob a bit longer than a standard strawberry ear, and kernels that are midway between standard miniature popcorns usual pearl type (rounded) kernels and strawberry's rice type (pointed) ones. (This cob actually has broken kernels, but I turned it with the good side on top. But that does mean I probably can't keep it as is)

Lower center is an ear from the only non miniature bunch I bought (this was defined as a medium sized) I thought the color was pretty good (as close to Glass gem as I was likely to get this year) and planned to use the bunch on my front door (at least until I accidentally sat on it and broke off the shucks)

Finally bottom left is the most colorful ear of the strawberry stuff I found (though the kernels on this one are flat enough I'm not sure if it still counts as strawberry; it's closer to the stuff I found about ten years ago at the other stand.) If I could take this, and get it to cross with the miniature glass gem corn seed I have, THAT would be a corn that really DID deserve the name "Harlequin" (which is one of the three possible corns this stuff might be if it is a know variety; Harlequin, Indian Berries, or Strawberry Cream (last one least likely, as Strawberry Cream's description does not mention the presence of purple in its palette.)

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Pulsegleaner

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they are all interesting to see so thanks for the pictures. :)
I really ought to try and post pictures of all of the ears I have saved whole over the years in my desk drawer (and maybe I will one day) but the problem is that, after a year or two of drying (and some of those ears are a decade or more old now) corn ears become so brittle that moving them becomes sort of risky (one knock is all that is needed to make the kernels start falling off like crazy). That actually WHY most of my growing seed is stored in packages and jars, even though all books say saving whole ears intact is always the best way to go for long term storage. At least once its in a package, I don't have to worry about knocking the ear against something and losing handfuls of seed as it falls on the floor and gets lost. And, of course, since it's not usual for me to save EVERY kernel from a given ear (just the ones that have the trait I am looking for), it takes up less room.
 

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I really ought to try and post pictures of all of the ears I have saved whole over the years in my desk drawer (and maybe I will one day) but the problem is that, after a year or two of drying (and some of those ears are a decade or more old now) corn ears become so brittle that moving them becomes sort of risky (one knock is all that is needed to make the kernels start falling off like crazy). That actually WHY most of my growing seed is stored in packages and jars, even though all books say saving whole ears intact is always the best way to go for long term storage. At least once its in a package, I don't have to worry about knocking the ear against something and losing handfuls of seed as it falls on the floor and gets lost. And, of course, since it's not usual for me to save EVERY kernel from a given ear (just the ones that have the trait I am looking for), it takes up less room.

if you need to see them a paper lunch bag wouldn't work that great but to me that's the first thing that comes to mind when faced with such a conundrum.
 

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Based on this picture, it seems more or less certain that what I found this year was Indian Berries, and that the floury/cloudy look of some kernels is inherent to the variety, as opposed to being due to some sort of cross (though none of the ears in the pictures seem to show any dimpled or dented kernels, so maybe something is still going on here.)

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It also appears that either Harlequin and Indian Berries are two names for the same variety, or the latter is a selection of the former.
 

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