Post by prairiegardens on Nov 26, 2019 11:54:04 GMT -5
Next spring I want to grow some mini corn such as are used for stir fry and there seems to be a plethora of information but it doesn't agree. Some say to use specific varieties such as Chires or MiniPop (difficult to access in Canada and/or much more expensive than " normal" sweet corn) with a reputation for capricious and uncertain germination. Others say some varieties of popcorn but not which ones or why some will work and others not...or how to know which is which. Some say any sweet corn will do if harvested before pollination and yet others suggest field corn as many of them produce multiple cobs.
if anyone has grown corn for baby cobs and/or can offer advise it would be much appreciated. In a past life I'd just try some of all options but now I don't have the energy, much less any garden help so trying to maximize possibilities of success. Thanks for ideas and suggestions
I have a bit of indirect experience, but I'm willing to share it anyways. My sibling wanted to try out some home-grown 'baby corn', so I was able to observe it first-hand a few years ago. The 'baby corn' grew the same way as would Golden Bantam sweet corn, both were a green corn plant with plain-colored tassels and silks. The 'baby corn' plants remained a bit shorter by comparison. The tricky part is to determine when the best time is to harvest the 'baby corn', since the timing is different. When the unharvested cobs were allowed to go to seed, the wrinkled seed kernels were the same size as regular sweet corn. It was planted fairly thickly (up to 3 1/2" apart) in a very short row, in a well-established row garden in the lawn. It was not weed-free, but weeded enough that the corn did fairly well. It may have been watered a few times as needed through the summer. I think I 'shook the tassels' a day or two to help ensure the corn silks were well-pollinated.
My suggestion is to grow it as you would sweet corn, but to grow extra plants for the learning curve of figuring out when the ideal time to harvest it is (by harvesting one cob at a time to find out).
Last Edit: Nov 27, 2019 15:27:17 GMT -5 by Dewdrop
Post by blueadzuki on Nov 27, 2019 19:06:49 GMT -5
Basically, since you are picking it pre-fertilization, ANY corn should work for baby corn. Ones like Chire's just have the advantage of 1. being bred to create multiple tillers with multiple cobs per tiller, so you can get 30 or so baby ears per plant as opposed to one or two and 2. possibly allowing one a little more time before the ears become too big and woody to harvest.
By extension I would imagine the "some" with the pop corns again has to do with size. You want miniature pop corns (like the mini ears you hang out for fall) as opposed to full size ones.
You probably also DON'T want a corn with a short stubby ear shape (like strawberry corn) as you will get a little nub of a baby ear or something with too much woody cob to be of use (I've had that happen).
Post by prairiegardens on Nov 28, 2019 17:26:45 GMT -5
On a very old thread a variety called White Midget is mentioned, with high praise for the flavour. Dwarf sweet corn might be worth trying, but I can't find anything at all about dwarf corn seed with the possible exception of Jade. The poster also said that Chires is much more likely to produce 5 or 6 cobs rather than 20. Anyone have any ideas where non hybridized dwarf corn might be found? The only source I've found so far is a site selling it for wildlife and there is no information offered about it, not even how tall it gets much less variety.
I have some old Little Indian popcorn I'll try, those cobs iirc are about the right size and shape but not at all sure the seed is still viable.
(later) I have found some apparently dwarf(ish) sweet corn, Yukon Chief and Yukon Supreme, possibly Orchard Baby, and some possibilities from Sandhills, but no trace of White Midget. Guess it will end up being a selection of varieties of corn after all.
I grew the Japanese Hulless corn, www.kitazawaseed.com/seed_509-19.html it was not great as a popcorn, but it was ok... I did not know that it was suppose to be a baby corn when I grew it. it would have been pretty good at being a baby corn I grew about 350 plants (and still have the entire harvest), they seemed to scale pretty well to the soil conditions. some plants were short in the bad soil, and they got much bigger in the good soil, but none got really huge like other corn types I have grown.