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Author Topic: Why not winter corn?  (Read 3889 times)

Offline CliffordK

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Why not winter corn?
« on: 31/05/2012 00:46:18 »
I was watering my garden today and was thinking.
Grass is growing like crazy this time of year.  In fact, we're coming close to the end of the grass growing season.

But, I'm having troubles getting my corn to start.

Why isn't there a good cold-hardy winter corn crop?  Plant it in the early fall, perhaps early September, then harvest it in May, just in time for replanting a summer crop.

I'm seeing notes that Brazil has a winter corn crop, but I presume their climate is a bit warmer in the "winter".
http://www.pecad.fas.usda.gov/highlights/2007/03/brazil_corn_30mar2007/

I'm seeing some notes of "painted mountain" corn that is more cold tolerant than other varieties in the USA, but still not being grown in the winter.

http://www.seedweneed.com/index-1.html
http://www.non-gmoreport.com/articles/apr09/ancient_corn_solution_to_modern_climate.php

Anybody working on a Northern Winter Corn?


 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Why not winter corn?
« Reply #1 on: 24/07/2013 07:58:30 »
Ok,
I thought I'd send an update.

I tried some of the Painted Mountain Corn.  It grew well last summer.  I tried planting some in the fall, unprotected, and got the plants to germinate and sprout, but then zero percent survival during the winter.

I also tried to force some of my corn to germinate in March, I think, then I planted some of the starts in  mid-April.  Very early for this region.  Anyway, the painted mountain corn matured to be about 1-2 feet tall...  pretty short, with tiny ears.  I also got an Early Bantam variety that grew to nearly full size and seems to have a decent ear by mid July (quite early for around here).  Anyway, so the Bantam seemed to do much better than the Painted Mountain with the early planting, but my sample size was somewhat limited.

With a bit more reading.  Corn is a C4 carbon fixation plant.  In general, most C4 plants are less cold tolerant than the C3 plants.  However, notes indicate that Miscanthus giganteus is a C4 perennial that is cold tolerant.  However, it is apparently quite different than corn, so it is doubtful that hybridization would be easy.  Perhaps some transgenic GMO, but that is likely much bigger than what is within anything I could do.

Another idea, there are some notes about Teosinte (Zea) being an ancient precursor to the modern corn, and it apparently has been crossbred with corn.  Two varieties are perennials, Zea diploperennis & Zea perennis.  They are from a tropical climate, so I don't know how they will fare in the more northerly climates.  But, I like the idea of a perennial to help me get good roots and an early jump on Spring.  I've ordered a few seeds from the USDA GRIN seed Bank.  Zea  Diploperennis, and Zea perennis.  They could still reject my order, but I'm hopeful to get some Teosinte to play with.  Yes, I know it is late in the season, but it is supposed to be a perennial, and I'll keep a few seeds for next spring.

Anyway, we'll see what "going back to the roots" brings me.

I believe others have been doing similar experiments with corn, and as recently noted on TNS, also with wheat

In fact, several of the Teosinte seeds above are already listed as hybrids, although apparently as annuals (per report).

Perhaps I'm looking in the wrong direction.  Apparently Tripsacum dactyloides (Eastern Gamagrass) is a cold hardy relative of Corn, one step further up the evolutionary ladder.
« Last Edit: 24/07/2013 09:23:06 by CliffordK »
 

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Re: Why not winter corn?
« Reply #1 on: 24/07/2013 07:58:30 »

 

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