“Mandan Bride” corn named for the Mandan Tribe of North Dakota and certainly getting a lot of genetics from the Native American corns of the northern plains came from Johnnys Selected Seeds in Maine came to my attention many years ago. It was a predominantly flour corn at the time with a lot of stippled red and white and red and yellow kernels. We were happy to see it maintained at Seed Savers Exchange. Barbara McClintock would have been happy with the transposable elements displayed in this corn. Dave Christianson also worked with the rare heirloom corns from the Mandan Tribe, collecting new kinds and further selecting his for cold tolerance and drought resistance developing the acclaimed “Painted Mountain” for very short seasons. Combining various selections, Madan easily grinds into a soft corn meal that can be called on instead of the bland commercial corns that you’ll find on the grocer’s shelf for any authentic American cuisine calling for ground corn meal. Sure, use a kitchen mill, metate, blender or coffee mill but don’t miss growing it first. Plant as a block for good pollination. The only corn we will sell as a multi-use decorative fall “Indian” corn. Ears are 7-8 inches long and more narrow than typical decorative corn. Make your own selection.
160 seeds (4- 10 ft rows)
Packet plants 4-10 ft rows
Plant sweet table corn directly into the garden in early to mid May. It is possible to start corn a few weeks earlier and then plant into the garden in late April for an extra early start. Corn seed may rot in cold wet soil. Popcorn (Flint), Dent and Flour corn harvested in the fall can be planted later, late May or June.
Make furrows 2 inches deep with a hoe and sow the seed in groups of 2-3 every six to eight inches. Cover with an inch of soil. In is important to plant corn in blocks to allow proper pollination and cobs to be full with kernels. Four short rows are preferable to one or two long rows.
Harvest sweet corn when the husks are green and the silks begins to dry brown. Check the kernel development by peeling back the husk a bit and checking if you want. When growing other kinds of corn besides Sweet Corn for fresh eating allow the husks to dry and turn brown. Flint corn can be ground into a hard meal. Certain flint corns are excellent popcorns. Flour and dent corn makes a softer meal. Flint, dent and flour corns are often used as decorative autumn corns.
All corn ears will mature for seed saving when the husks turn brown or tan and become papery and dry. Keep the cobs dry and they can be saved until the next planting season or twist the kernels off the cobb and save the seed. Corn pollen will typically settle within 20 ft but a stiff wind can blow the pollen for miles and therefore if you are growing one corn that is producing pollen and another that has ear silk emerging from the husk which will catch the pollen it will cross. You should grow one variety if you want pure seed or grow an early kind and a late kind that shed pollen at different times.