Glass Gem Corn: How To Grow And Use The World's Most Charming Corn

Glass Gem Corn

Emma DowneyByEmma Downey
Updated on 10/4/2022

Certain plants manage to be both aesthetically pleasing and functionally useful simultaneously. One of this phenomenon's most beautiful and eye-catching manifestations is glass gem corn. Glass gem corn cobs have colors that are so stunning that you have to see them and believe them. However, they are more than simply a fad or trend.

Glass gem corn is a beautiful illustration of the fascinating outcomes that are conceivably attainable through the process of selective plant breeding. The findings do not have a synthetic explanation, and human intervention led to the development of this vibrant corn. However, it is the outcome of actions taken by humans acting in conjunction with natural processes. It is possible to see it as a beautiful illustration of what we can do when we do not struggle against nature but rather work in harmony with nature to reach our objectives.

The natural world is both incredibly diverse and wonderful. We can cultivate an incredible diversity of food in our gardens if we can learn to control it.

Glass Gem Corn

Glass gem corn is extraordinary, an example that celebrates the variety of heritage crops and shows that we can grow far more than just the same old boring commercial varieties in our gardens. Glass gem corn is an example of how we can produce more than just the same old boring commercial varieties.

If you already have some fascinating heritage kinds of common fruits and vegetables growing in your yard, you might want to give this crop a shot as something new to experiment with.

The concept of biodiversity is significant, and we must continuously work to preserve and expand the natural plant and animal variety. However, another one of our goals should be to increase the diversification of food crops.

We may contribute to preserving diversity in our food supply by planting an intriguing assortment of heritage and heirloom crops. Our food systems will have a greater capacity for the adversity if they have a greater variety of ingredients.

What Exactly Is Meant By Glass Gem Corn?

Glass Gem Corn

Glass gem corn is a variety of rainbow-colored maize with an astonishingly brilliant color palette. It is a kind of "flint corn" that is not produced for eating directly off the cob but rather for use in the production of popcorn and corn flour by grinding.

Corn allowed to dry on the plant is "flint corn." At some point, the kernels will start to seem dull and lifeless and begin to dry up. They are not harvested until the grains have reached a hardness comparable to flint, which is whence the term "flint corn" comes from its origin.

Another reason to cultivate Glass Gem Corn type of maize is its aesthetic value.

In 2012, when photographs were initially uploaded to the internet and became somewhat of an internet sensation, the public became aware of them for the first time.

Since then, many individuals have been enticed to investigate this gorgeously colored maize and the possibility of cultivating it independently.

How Did The Glass Gem Corn Get Its Name?

Glass Gem Corn

However, while the vibrant colors initially attract people's attention, the fascinating history behind this strain is what truly motivates individuals. You need background information on the origin of glass gem corn before fully appreciating its incredible aesthetic value.

The cultivation of ancient varieties of maize by native American cultures is where the history of glass gem corn can be traced back to well before 1800. Native peoples were familiar with various maize strains and successfully farmed them using time-honored and ecologically sound methods.

The indigenous peoples of the Americas, from South America to the Great Lakes, relied heavily on corn as a primary source of nutrition. It is possibly one of the world's earliest crops and was first domesticated in Mexico, where it is thought to have originated. Each indigenous community produced unique strains, which were inextricably linked to those communities' legacy and sense of self-identity.

Carl Barnes: "The Reclaiming of Lost Heritage Corn Varieties" (The Regaining of Lost Corn Varieties)

Glass Gem Corn

Some ancient strains of maize became extinct over time due to European settlement, which resulted in the disenfranchisement of indigenous communities and their relocation.

Then, at some point in the latter half of the 20th century, an Oklahoma farmer named Carl Barnes (1928-2016) decided to cultivate ancient maize types to reestablish a connection with his Cherokee ancestry.

Barnes successfully identified ancestral strains by producing earlier types, which had been lost to tribes due to their relocation to what is now the state of Oklahoma. He started friends with folks from around the country and eventually began exchanging old corn seeds.

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He re-established connections between the elders of some different tribes and traditional corns, which assisted the members of those tribes in reclaiming their cultural and spiritual identities. The maize figuratively symbolized their bloodline and language and played an essential role in the Native Americans' conception of themselves. White Eagle was his spiritual name, and those he met and became friends with knew him by that moniker.

Glass Gem Corn

Barnes started removing seeds from the cobs with the most vibrant colors. This method of breeding selectively resulted in the development of genuinely remarkable rainbow-colored maize over time. But more than that, he is remembered with gratitude for his effort to collect, conserve, and distribute local corn varieties. A much more significant legacy than the one he left behind.

Keeping Going

In 1994, a fellow farmer named Greg Shoen met Barnes and was blown away by the incredible rainbow-colored maize he grew. The following year, Barnes gave Shoen some of those rainbow seeds, and Shoen subsequently planted them in his garden. The two kept in touch with one another throughout the years, and Shoen was sent further samples of the rainbow seed.

Glass Gem Corn

When Schoen arrived in New Mexico in 1999, he could only cultivate a small amount of the multicolored corn. After that, in 2005, he started acquiring larger parcels of land close to Santa Fe. In addition to it, he grew other, more conventional types.

Rainbow corn, with other conventional types, resulted in the development of new strains. Over time, Schoen could impart an ever-increasing vibrancy and vivacity into the maze. The gorgeous blue-green and pink-purple maize Schoen cultivated in 2007 came to be known as "Glass Gems," which was the name Schoen gave to them.

It was a photograph of this crop that became widely shared on the internet in 2012, propelling the popularity of this strain to new heights.

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How To Find Sources For Glass Gem Corn

If you are interested in trying your hand at growing some of this colorful maize or, for that matter, a broad range of other gorgeous and intriguing heritage types, then the following are some sites where you can get your hands on some:

Where To Plant And Cultivate Glass Gem Corn

Where To Plant And Cultivate Glass Gem Corn

Glass gem corn, much like other heritage corns, must have an abundance of heat and sunlight throughout the summer months to develop well.

It needs to be situated in a region that receives direct sunlight. And ideally, it should be someplace that is somewhat protected from the wind and is not exposed to it.

If you attempt to cultivate corn in more northern climates, which have a shorter growing season, you may have tremendous success if you grow it in a structure similar to a high tunnel or a greenhouse.

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Please note that this glass gem corn is known as a "flint" corn, indicating that it will need a more extended season to reach maturity. Therefore, it might not be the most straightforward item to cultivate in areas with a short growing season. (Instead, you might want to try shorter-season sweetcorn developed for a shorter growing season and colder circumstances.)

Glass Gem Corn

It is essential to sow the sweetcorn in soil that is rich in nutrients. On the other hand, it can thrive in various soils and at several different pH levels. The soil should be wet but also have good drainage, and there should be an adequate supply of moisture throughout the growing season.

Sowing Glass Gem Corn

Sowing Glass Gem Corn

If you are facing the challenge of a short growing season, it is a good idea to start sowing your sweetcorn indoors early to get a head start on the process before moving the young plants outside.

It may be beneficial to use biodegradable plant pots (or the tubes from toilet paper rolls) as modules to reduce the amount of root disturbance.

Be careful not to start planting seeds or transplanting them too soon. Before you sow or plant these crops in your garden, you should ensure that there is no longer any danger of frost and that the nighttime temperature has returned to normal. The temperature of the soil must have reached at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Seating corn in blocks rather than in long rows maximizes yield. Because this is a crop that is pollinated by the wind, you will get better results in terms of pollination and product if you plant the seeds in blocks consisting of at least three rows rather than in a single, continuous line. It is recommended that a distance of approximately 6 inches be left between each plant when planting this corn.

Glass Gem Corn

If you plant your corn the same way native people did in the Americas, all of the different heritage corn types will be successful. Indigenous peoples frequently cultivated corn in polycultures as part of the well-known "three sisters" planting pattern.

Native Americans frequently cultivated three different crops simultaneously, and they referred to this practice as the "three sisters."

Glass Gem Indian Corn Seeds for Planting
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Corn, beans, and squash or pumpkins were the three plants that comprised this trio. Each of these plants possesses its unique set of features, and much like sisters, they can support and assist one another in various ways. Beans can climb up the stalks of Glass Gem corn, just like they can climb up the stalks of other varieties of corn.

Because they are nitrogen-fixing plants, the beans will contribute to the overall nutrition of the plant "family." When planted along the bed's perimeter, squash will provide shade for the soil, allowing the soil to retain moisture and minimize the number of weeds.

In this post, you can learn more about the used three sisters planting strategy.

Concerns Regarding The Glass Gem Corn

Concerns Regarding The Glass Gem Corn

To provide your glass gem corn a steady supply of slow-release fertilizing throughout the growing season, mulch its perimeter well with organic material.

Ensure that your corn receives the appropriate amount of water throughout the growing season, and as the cobs begin to form, start feeding it a general-purpose organic liquid feed

In most cases, corn will need around one inch of water every seven days.

Harvesting Glass Gem Corn

Corn allowed to dry on the plant is "flint corn." After some time, the kernels will start to get less vibrant and finally dry up. They are not harvested until the kernels have reached a level of hardness comparable to flint, which is whence the term "flint corn" gets its origin.

Flint corn is picked in the fall when the outer husks have become dry and brown. It is in contrast to sweetcorn, consumed while it is still juicy and fresh. To free the husked cobs from the stem, twist the husks while simultaneously pushing downwards in a single continuous motion.

Harvesting Glass Gem Corn

After removing the husked cobs from the stalk, the next step is to peel aside the dry, papery husks to expose the vibrant colors contained within the cobs. You can altogether remove the husks or leave them on for decorative purposes.

On the plant, the maize kernels will have begun their drying process. But you need to keep on with this procedure right now. Place your corn on the cobs in a single layer on a drying rack. To ensure that they dry out evenly, turn them once a day.

When your corn is dehydrated, you will know it because you will be unable to press your fingernails into the kernels, which will be as hard as flint. Your glass gem corn will last for many years after it has reached the point when it is entirely dried. In addition, I will prepare it for any additional processing that might be necessary.

Using Glass Gem Corn

Using Glass Gem Corn

You could use your glass gem corn as an aesthetic piece to adorn your house. Suppose you are interested in preserving heritage types and sustaining agricultural diversity. In that case, you should store some of the seeds away for planting in your garden or farm the following year. Can accomplish These goals by doing so.

You can selectively breed new versions of this rainbow corn for yourself and create new strains to take onward through your plant-growing adventures if you select the kernels with the most vibrant colors in the shades you desire. It will allow you to create new versions of the corn in the colors you want.

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Glass Gem Corn kind of corn is not consumed in its new form, but it may process in a variety of ways such that it can be destroyed. This kind of corn is utilized most frequently in the production of popcorn. Once you explode, you will only be able to make out teeny-tiny flecks of their previous colors, and they will have grown into the fluffy white popcorn clouds you are likely accustomed to seeing.

Glass Gem Popcorn.

Glass Gem Corn

Why not try popping glass gem corn and utilizing it to produce a variety of sweet or savory popcorn dishes that are unique and unusual?

You may also make Cornmeal by blending your glass gem popcorn using the blender. Cornmeal has a shelf life of approximately one year when kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container. You may prepare various baked products with this Cornmeal as an ingredient. Lastly, if you want to produce traditional hominy out of your glass gem corn, you may try treating it with an alkaline. May use Hominy corn to make grits.

If you reside in a temperature zone that is warmer and more temperate, planting glass gem corn on your farm might be the ideal method to increase your heritage agricultural capabilities while also cultivating something that is both beautiful and practical.