Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
It has become a priority of mine to grow and harvest a small stand of field corn this year. There are several issues that have made this important to me. Corn prices have gone through the roof. I raise two feeder pigs each summer. They eat a lot of grain that is predominately made with corn. We also have cattle, goats and chickens that require smaller amounts of grain containing corn. If grown economically, considering cost of seed-stock, fertilize and gas for using the tractor to cultivate, I am hoping that this can be money-saving. Using, building and maintaining a non-GMO heritage variety seed-stock is not only good practice, but will also save money for future crops. Growing good quality, nutritionally superior corn that I can grind for our own food is exciting as well. I look forward to giving hominy a try, and grinding it for cornbread and other recipes using cornmeal.
Initially I was worried about harvest. I have found out, though, that the great thing about growing corn for pigs is that they will eat and utilize the whole stalk of corn. So, harvesting for pig consumption will only consist of chopping corn stalks off at the ground and feeding directly to the pigs. No stripping ears, shucking or shelling. The only portion of the crop I will have to harvest in that manner will be that which I keep for seed, feed chickens and save for home use. Since the corn is a grain harvest and dries on the stalk in the field, there is a wide window for harvest.
The south end of our garden has been unused for several years. I have used the turn plow to turn the sod over and expose the dirt. I will now be discing it to break down the sod and get it prepared for seed. I would like to get a jump on it and get seeds of one variety in the ground mid-April and then another a month later. I am hoping if I stagger planting time then they will pollinate at different times and I can keep the varieties separated successfully.
Wish me luck on this project, I hope to be moderately successful and learn a lot!I am also excited about reclaiming this unused area of our garden.If you have had a similar project, I would appreciate any advice or suggestions.Also, a discussion about how to acquire economically priced heritage variety seed would be great! Happy gardening to you all this spring!