About Wampum Corn: The first type of corn, sometimes known as Indian corn or maize, was found by the Pilgrims when they arrived on the shores of the New World. Provided by the Indians, this valuable resource ensured their survival. In addition to eating the corn, the resourceful Pilgrims also used the husks for making various things like shoes, ropes, dolls, and seats for their chairs. Modern varieties of sweet corn, field corn, and ornamental corn all descend from Indian corn.
Wampum Corn Germination: Prepare the soil with compost or other organic matter. One week after frost or when the soil consistently reaches 60 degrees F, plant the corn 1" deep and 8-12" apart. Planting blocks of four short rows ensures good pollination. Germination should take place in 5-6 days. For companion planting benefits, plant corn with cucumbers, peas, or pole beans; plants that like shade also do well with corn. Avoid planting tomatoes near corn.
Growing Wampum Corn Seeds: After the corn emerges, keep it moist and carefully remove weeds; since corn cannot fight against weeds, mulch may be beneficial. Additional organic matter or compost helps growth, since corn is a heavy feeder. Keep in mind that corn has shallow roots which can easily become damaged by hoeing. Watch out for pests, as corn attracts many problematic insects and animals.
Harvesting Wampum Corn: Leaving the corn on its stalks to completely dry in the field gives the best results; when they are ready to harvest, the stalk and the ears will be completely brown with no green coloring at all. However, since continued rainy weather and humidity compromise the quality of the ears, it may be necessary to continue drying them inside. Choose a dry location with moderate heat, but out of direct sunlight; hang the stalks upside down, or lay them out flat.
Saving Wampum Corn Seeds: Since corn cross-pollinates quite easily with other varieties, seed plants will need to be separated from other pollinating varieties of corn by about 1,000 feet or otherwise prevented from pollinating each other. Allow the seed corn to dry completely on the stalk, until the husk and the stalk have turned brown. If rainy weather comes, cut off the stalks and lay them out in a dry, well ventilated location. Test for dryness by hitting the kernels with a hammer; if they shatter, they are ready for storage. Remove the kernels by running your hands over the cobs; winnow out the chaff. Store seeds in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Wampum Corn Info: Zea mays. Annual. 105 days. 240 seeds per oz. 60-96" plant height. 4-6" spacing. Produces 7-8" multicolored ears.