Seneca Red Stalker Corn (Organic)
USDA Certified Organic
Seed Count: Approx. 40 seeds
Days to Maturity: 100-120 days
Description: Seneca Red Stalker corn originally came from the Seneca Indian Nation of Western New York. It is a highly ornamental flint variety, with purple-red stalks, green leaves, and dark purple husks. The plants grow about 7-10 ft. tall, and produce large 8-9 inch ears, with shiny, multi-colored kernels. The kernels come in a mix of colors, such as white, black, red, yellow, and blue, that can be ground to make your own unique colored cornmeal. Even if you aren't interested in grinding your own cornmeal, I'd grow this variety for its looks alone, especially because the colors are quite festive.
How To Grow
Sowing: One week, after frost, or when the soil consistently reaches 60 degrees F (corn will not germinate if soil temps are less than 55 degrees), plant the corn 1" deep and 8-12" apart. Plant blocks of four short rows (or in squares, if you are in a small space. I plant 4 corn stalks per sq. ft.) to ensure good pollination. Long skinny rows will result in poor pollination. Germination can take 7-10 days. Companion plant corn with, peas, cucumbers, squash, or pole beans; plants that like shade, like lettuce, also grows well with corn. However, avoid planting tomatoes near corn, since they share similar pests, and compete for vertical space and nutrients. Corn can also be grown in containers that are at least 12 inches deep and wide (4 plants can grow in a container this size).
Growing: Corn requires large quantities of water and fertilizer to produce full healthy ears. Give corn 1 1/2 inches of water per week, and make sure to remove weeds so they do not compete for water and nutrients. To increase chances of proper pollination, hand pollinate by shaking the plants several times a day, to make sure the pollen reaches corn silks. To reduce problems with army worms, and corn ear worms, the organic compound Spinosad, or Bacillus thuringiensis, can be used on corn tassels and new growth once a week. You can also spray stalks with an insecticidal soap to control bugs like aphids, and Japanese beetles. This corn grows to about 7-10 feet tall.
Harvesting: Harvest flint corn when the husks have dried, and the kernels have hardened. To test for maturity, you can slightly peel back the husk to reveal the kernels, and remove a kernel. If the tip, at the base of the kernel, breaks off to reveal a brown "abscission" layer, then the ears are ready to harvest! This corn is great for making your own cornmeal, or used as decoration. To save seeds, leave corn on its stalks to completely dry in the field. They are ready to harvest for seeds, when the stalk and the ears turn completely brown with no green coloring. However, since continued rainy weather and humidity compromises the quality of the ears, drying them inside may be the best route. Choose a dry location with moderate heat, but out of direct sunlight; hang the stalks upside down, or lay them out flat until they are dry enough seed storage.