Indian corn, otherwise known as flint corn, is a colorful variety of decorative corn that is associated with fall. You see it on a nice Thanksgiving table as part of a centerpiece, on the mantel over a nice fire, in wreaths at the decor store, or wherever the corn can be fit in for a warm accent.
What does it look like?
Indian corn is known for being multicolored. Different kernels on the same cob may have different colors, the most common of which are orange, yellow, brown, red, and navy. Indian corn is typically smaller than the type of corn you buy at the store, with a diameter of one inch and a length of 8-12 inches. The stalks themselves can grow 4-5 feet.
Where is it from?
Indian corn is, in fact, a variation of the maize plant. The maize plant doesn't occur naturally in the wild. Rather, it was domesticated thousands of years ago by indigenous Mexicans. The ancestor of corn is a wild grass called Balsas teosinte. As the grass was bred for better seed yields, then later, better kernel yields, the vegetable we know as corn came to exist. Indian corn specifically is an early variation, used for milling and storage.
What can I use it for?
When people see Indian corn, they typically think decor. But, did you know that it can be eaten, too? The other term for it is flint corn, which refers to the fact that the kernels of these ears are incredibly hard - like flints. Due to the nature of the kernels, this is not a corn to be eaten on the cob, or to be cooked as sweet corn. The kernels consist of soft starch surrounded by a shell of hard starch.
If you're going to cook your Indian corn, you have a few methods. The hard, starchy, kernels are good to make cornmeal out of. From the larger hunks out of the grinding process, you can make good grits or polenta. The finer cornmeal can go into cornbread, corn muffins, or corn tortillas. The kernels are already dry, but you will want to dry them more before grinding.
Corn can also be popped on the cob! Try buttering the cob before putting it in a brown paper bag, and into the microwave. As a baseline, try 50% power for four minutes. Microwaves vary, however, so you might want to experiment with different times and power levels if you have a high yield.
To get the kernels off of the ear, you will likely want to use a corn sheller. However, if you don't have a corn sheller, you can use a sharp knife to cut near the cob, down the length of the ear.
Naturally, Indian corn is also decorative. The dry and hard starchy properties of the kernel make it easy to dry before tucking into a cornucopia, adding to a wreath, or even simply setting on your side table. The pretty, multi-colored cobs could also be part of a fall gift!
What are some decor ideas?
One simple centerpiece you could make involves dried corn and dried wheat. Find a color scheme from the corn that you've grown, and set them on a bed of dried wheat, held in place by floral foam. Perhaps you could add some fall flowers to the display, or small gourds around it.
If you're hosting a dinner and have some cloth napkins, you could find some orange ribbon and tie corn into the napkin for a place setting. If you're feeling extra rustic, you could use some twine, or a thin rope.
Sowing The Seed
Corn isn’t fond of being transplanted, so it is best sown directly in the garden, when the weather is warm and all danger of frost has passed. Begin by tilling the sowing area, removing all unwanted plant life and weeds. Sow the seeds at a depth of 1/2” to 1” under topsoil. Check below for spacing.
Corn is a sun loving crop that prefers warmer temperatures of 65F or higher. The plants are picky when it comes to soil conditions, and will grow best in a medium that is nitrogen rich and loamy. You will also need to make sure that the sowing area is well drained. To improve drainage, we always recommend adding a light compost to any areas containing hard, compact soil. Water the seeds daily until germination.
Germination & Growth
Corn will typically take anywhere between 7 to 14 days to germinate, if optimal conditions are met. The plants can grow to a towering, 7 feet tall and can spread about 18 inches wide. Corn can be spaced 12 to 15 inches apart from one another, in rows that are spaced about 30 to 36 inches apart.
We promise to never knowingly carry or sell GMO based seed products. All seeds sold through Seed Needs are Non-GMO products and the vast majority seeds are produced from open pollinated plants. (A very low number of our seed products are F1 hybrids) Our seed stock is stored in a temperature controlled facility and our products are constantly moved out due to popularity. Each and every packet is intended for the current and the following growing season and will not be marked with an expiration date.
If you are to store your seeds for successful growth in the following year, we recommend placing the packets in an airtight ziplock bag. Place your seeds in a cool, dark and dry area of the home, such as a basement where they are kept at room temperature or below.
It is our goal to make you a happy customer! If you experience any problems with your seeds such as germination issues, we will replace or refund any seed product within 180 days of your purchase date. Please contact us directly for a resolution to any problems that you are having with our products.
Question: When should I sow these seeds?
Answer: This is something you must research for your specific region. We offer a ton of helpful articles in our Blog that explain in depth how to successfully grow the seeds within our shop. All of our product pages have useful information on sowing as well.
Question: What is the size of this packet?
Answer: Our traditional packages are 3.25" wide, by 4.50" tall. Some of our larger packages of Corn, Beans and Peas will be 4" wide by 4.675" tall, and our Wildflower packages containing bulk seeds are usually 4.50" wide by 6.45" inches tall.
Question: Are your seeds heirloom?
Answer: In short yes, a vast majority of the plant varieties we carry are heirloom. Heirlooms are varieties that have been passed down for generations.
Question: Are your seeds GMO?
Answer: No, we promise to never knowingly carry or supply any GMO based seed products and steer clear of seed producers from major GMO companies, such as Monsanto.
Question: Are your seeds Organic?
Answer: No, at this time we do not sell organic seeds.
Question: How long will shipping take?
Answer: This can sometimes depend on the size of your order, however 95% of our orders will ship within 24 to 48 hours. All orders ship First Class by default and can take 2 - 5 business days to arrive. Orders placed on a Friday may not ship until the following Monday.
Question: What if my seeds don't grow?
Answer: If you experience any problems with our seed products, contact us within 180 days of your purchase date for a resolution.
Question: Do the packages have sowing instructions on them?
Answer: Yes, all of our seed packets have detailed sowing information on the reverse side as well as a QR code that leads to the original product page here on our website.
Question: Why is there no expiration date on your seed packages?
Answer: Our seeds are contained within a temperature controlled facility in airtight containers. When we ship our seed products to customers, we fill a small portion of packets that sell on a weekly basis. We do not print an expiration date on the packets since the large majority of seeds technically do not expire for long periods of time, IF they are stored in the proper conditions. If you plan to store or save your seeds for the following year, we suggest placing them in a ziplock bag, later storing them in a dark, cool and dry area of the home.
Question: Can I receive a catalog in the mail?
Answer: At this time, we are focused on remaining solely online. We do not send paper catalogs in an effort to save more trees, as well as keep our prices low.
Question: I did not receive an invoice for my order.
Answer: We do not send paper invoices with our orders since the invoice can be viewed online with your Seed Needs account. You will also receive an invoice / order confirmation through email.
Question: What is the difference between a hybrid variety and a GMO based seed product.
Answer: Hybrids are a NATURAL process of cross pollinating two species, thus producing a first generation hybrid (F1.) For example: Mixing a red, double blooming, single stem sunflower, with a yellow, multi branching sunflower might result in a orange-red, double blooming, multibranching plant.
GMO based seed products are a completely different and unatural process of gene splicing in a laboratory. The process entails the introduction of a separate biological kingdom, such as a bacteria, or a pesticide. This bacteria or pesticide is then eaten directly by the consumer when the crops reach maturity. (BAD NEWS)
Question: Can you ship these seeds overseas?
Answer: At this time we only ship within the United States and Canada.