'Hastings' Prolific': An Heirloom Dent Corn Variety for Gardeners, Part 1

| 7/6/2016 10:37:00 AM

Tags: heirloom vegetables, heirloom gardening, corn, Fala Burnette, Alabama,

Rumored to have 14 to 18 ears per stalk and grow over 12 feet tall, 'Hastings’ Prolific' is a white heirloom dent corn that has brought questions from quite a few gardeners over the past few years. It can be difficult to find true facts about this corn, because the original company that developed it no longer exists, and internet searches don’t yield many results either.

H.G. Hastings & Co. was a seed dealer out of Atlanta, Georgia that sold this particular variety, and boasted that it yielded more per acre than any variety planted in the South for three out of four years in a 1914 news article (it allegedly held records in Mississippi, Arkansas, Florida, and Georgia). In one of their catalogs from 1935, they tell their potential customers that it makes wonderful corn meal and roasting ears.

In this same catalog, we can learn a little bit about the true nature of how this corn was intended to mature- “Hastings’ Prolific is a late-season corn, maturing hard corn in 120 to 130 days. Stalk is large, 8 to 12 feet tall, blades wide and vigorous, giving plenty of forage. Ears small to medium size, anywhere from 2 to 7 ears per stalk, according to land quality, fertilizing and distance in the row.”

1914 news article

We are thankful to have been presented with the opportunity to grow Hasting’s Prolific this year in our garden, and there has been great excitement from our plant date until now. We have been keeping record of its growth and taking photographs to back it, so we wanted to share our experiences with you in a two part article.

This first part will cover the beginning half of the corn’s development through Day 72. Expect Part 2 of this article to come out in late August, as we harvest the corn and dry it for seed and meal.

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