We're planting corn today.
Our garden is roughly square, except for a long strip that my husband added along the edge of the orchard. This strip is about 12 feet wide and, I dunno, maybe 150 feet long? Something like that. At any rate, I decided to fill that entire strip with corn and leave the square part of the garden for other vegetables.
We've planted about half so far. I'm watering at one end, and you can see the planting stuff (pads to kneel on, yardsticks, etc.) in the center where we quit.
We grew nonhybrid sweet corn last year. I planted it late and harvested it late (so the corn was past the sweet stage into the starchy stage), but I saved eleven of the best ears for seed. These have hung over the pantry lintel all winter.
Taking corn seed off dried cobs is easy as pie: just rub in a twisting motion and it all comes off. I had rubbed about three ears' worth of corn and stored it in a jar, but the rest just hung over the pantry all winter. It was the corn seed in the jar that we planted first.
Well, although that entire strip isn't planted yet, it looks like we'll only use the corn seed from the jar to plant everything we need, with some left over. This leaves the other eight corn ears' worth of seed unused. So I shucked the seed off this afternoon and found it nearly fills a quart jar.
This pleases me. It means we have a generous amount of corn seed to have on hand in case this year's crop fails, and/or to share with others who might need some seed corn. And it also plays into another little dream of mine.
One of my concerns if the bleep hits the fan and the economy goes south is that we won't be able to buy chicken feed to feed our chickens. Chickens, I'm sure you realize, are valuable critters on a homestead for eggs and meat. We'd really like to feed ours even through hard times.
So, if I plant tons of extra corn above and beyond what we need, then dry it...well, it's easy to grind it and feed it to the chickens. We already have a grinder.
And if our wheat patch works, then I can combine the corn with the wheat. Cracked corn and wheat would be good nutrition for chickens.
I've often thought about homestead activities as a loop or circle, with a totally closed loop being complete self-sufficiency. Everything we can produce or grow or raise or harvest on our own land and through our own activities closes the loop just a little bit more.
If the corn/wheat/chicken feed experiment works, that's another section of loop closed.