Tropical corn experiment: round 1 is concluded
The first round of tropical corn has come in with mixed results. This was the corn we planted along with pigeon peas like so:
I was urged by a local farmer to give them fertilizer — chemical fertilizer – but instead, I gave them compost tea. Unfortunately, I did not give them enough. I planted more than I could take care of and overestimated the time I would have available. It turns out that moving to a completely new homestead in a new country also requires lots of time in paperwork, errands, hunting down tools, and just generally getting settled. With that in mind, the next patch I plant will be closer to the house.
The pigeon peas are looking great. Another farmer told me I will have peas by Christmas. The great thing about pigeon peas: they make their own nitrogen! That means they didn’t suffer from the lack of nutrition like the corn did. Next on the agenda is removing the old cornstalks and dropping them as mulch. There is a lot of string trimmer weeding that needs to take place thanks to the huge weed growth resulting from our monsoon rains.
The Missouri pipe corn had a lot of trouble with rotting. Many of the ears were worthless and quite a few stalks failed to produce any ears at all. We did get a few great big ones, though, so I have seed to try again.
The local grain corn we planted down the hillside, as seen in the image at the top of this post, did not have any rotting problems. There was a lot of rain. The problem we had with that corn was rats.
In my latest video you can see what they were doing to the corn:
What I found interesting about this tropical corn variety was its ability to still set plenty of kernels even though some of the ears were quite small. This has not been the case with previous varieties I’ve grown such as Tex Cuban and Hickory King. If the ears are small on those, they often had pollination issues and few kernels.
I’m not sure why the pollination seemed to be so good on this hillside corn patch but my guess is because of the excellent breezes. Corn is a wind pollinated species.
In my next corn patch, I’m going to mix the local grain corn with the Missouri pipe corn and select for large ears.
Wish me luck. It ought to at least be entertaining – and I will feed them a lot more nitrogen this time.