In the large corn fields in rural regions, corn is mainly grown as fodder or as a raw material for generating renewable energies. But corn can do much more. It is one of the oldest foods and can be used to make tasty, healthy dishes. We present suitable varieties for growing in the garden.
Maize (Zea mays) belongs to the sweet grass family. The grain comes from Mexico and is considered one of the oldest foods. The grain did not reach Europe until the beginning of the 16th century. Maize is divided into forage maize and grain maize.
Forage corn includes:
- Silage maize
- Green corn
Grain maize includes:
- Hard or stone corn
- Tooth corn
- Soft or starch corn
- Sweet corn
- Popcorn corn
By the way, the feed corn is also edible. It doesn’t taste as sweet as sweetcorn and its grains aren’t as tender.
Corn in the garden
The popular sweet corn is particularly suitable for growing in the garden. It can be eaten raw, boiled, fried or grilled. Hard corn can also be cooked, grilled or eaten raw. However, the ripening time is very short and it does not taste that sweet. Bantam corn is an intermediate variety between sweet corn and hard corn.
Anyone who only knows corn with golden yellow grains will be surprised by the variety. Varieties with red, black, white and colored pistons are available in specialist shops. These can be eaten or used for decoration. One more reason that motivates you to grow in your own garden.
Growing corn in the garden
Maize does not tolerate frost, so that you only sow outdoors after the ice saints. It is best not to stand maize in rows but in blocks, because this gives it more protection from the wind and the fertilization rate is higher. This is important because with maize, this year’s yield already depends on how well it has been fertilized.
The plants are sown at a distance of 20-30cm in the row and, depending on the variety, 50-60cm between the rows. The soil should be well fertilized, even fresh fertilization does not affect the maize. It needs a full sun and regular watering in the beginning. If the plants are knee high, they can be piled up a little for better stability. During the growing season, fertilize a little more often, e.g. with nettle liquid manure, and chop, this increases the yield says rotavator manufacturers in maharastra.
The vast majority of the varieties grown in industrial agriculture are hybrids, ie F1 varieties that cannot be propagated in a solid manner. Corn is also one of the first crops to be genetically modified.
There are different varieties for different uses. Essentially, a distinction is made between vegetable corn, corn for oil production and various types in which the dried corn is further processed for human consumption or used as animal feed.
Vegetable corn varieties are particularly interesting for the house and allotment garden:
- Golden Bantam , a variety of sweet corn with sweet golden yellow grains that is consumed as a vegetable.
- Sweetcorn Black Aztek , this variety has dark, almost black grains milk ripe eaten as a vegetable.
- Rainbow Inka , also a vegetable corn, grows a little stronger than the previous varieties and also branches out. The grains are multi-colored and can be consumed milk ripe. The Rainbow Inka is very suitable for decorative purposes because of the colorful grains.
- Strawberry maize , a small variety that forms delicate cobs with ruby-red grains. Extremely decorative! The grains are not suitable for fresh consumption, but dried, they can be used to make a tasty, slightly pink popcorn.
Pests and diseases
In house and allotment gardens, diseases hardly play a role in maize, but in large monocultures they threaten entire harvests. Among the most important pests are European corn borer and the M aiswurzelbohrer and the corn smut . In commercial cultivation they are combated with antagonists or pesticides that are not approved for the allotment garden or whose use would be too costly. As a preventive measure against these pests and fungal diseases, maize should only be grown on the same bed every four years.
Harvest, storage and conservation
Depending on the variety, the maize is ready for harvest from mid-August. Milk-ripe maize is used as a vegetable. This condition can be recognized by the fact that the “beard” protruding from the cob leaves begins to turn brown. If you carefully defoliate a piece of the cob and press in the grains with your fingernail, a protruding milky juice indicates that the corn is ready for harvest. Corn, which should only be used when dry – for example for popcorn or polenta – must remain on the plant until the kernels have hardened, which can take until October.
Maize harvested ripe for milk can be kept in the refrigerator for one to two weeks – wrapped in its own leaves. However, it rapidly loses its sweetness during storage as the sugar it contains is converted into starch. Ripe, dried corn on the cob can be stored in a dark, cool and dry place for several years.
For many farmers, power generation is no longer just a second mainstay; they have developed into energy producers. Associations such as BUND (Federation for Environment and Nature Conservation Germany) complain, however, that the cultivation of maize for biogas should not be more lucrative than the cultivation of animal feed.
Corn as far as the eye can see
Apart from the ecological consequences, maize is now also noticeable negatively in the landscape: instead of varied landscapes, in rural areas, as far as the eye can see, often only maize stalks several meters high can be seen. Tourists in particular complain about the monotonous corn deserts.
In view of the rapid increase in the number of wild boars that are well-nourished by maize and readily reproduce, hunters can no longer keep up with the shooting; many report increasing accidents with wildlife.