Glass Gem Corn

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glass gem corn

Glass Gem (Corn Seed)

Description: This beautiful flint or popcorn type corn comes in an endless rainbow of colors. Hence the name, the translucent kernels shine like glass. While it is used for decoration, it can also be popped or ground into meal. Carl Barnes bred this variety from a number of Native varieties. Bred by the late Carl Barnes, an Oklahoma Cherokee who dedicated his career to reclaiming and preserving seed of traditional Native American corns.

Scientific Name: Zea mays

Hybrid Status: Open Pollinated

Days to maturity: 105-110

Planting: Plant early to ensure maturity of kernels for a good, dry ripeness. Sow ¾–1″ deep, 6–7″ apart, rows 30–36″ apart. Increase this rate for untreated seeds. Arrange in blocks of at least 4 rows for proper pollination, which is needed for well-filled ears. Plant after the average last frost (Richmond County average last frost- April 3).

Corn is wind pollinated. To get complete kernel set, pollen from the tassel has to land on each individual silk. To help pollen get from the tassel to the silk you can shake the plant or hand pollenate. When tassels start dropping pollen, stalks can be gently shaken. This mimics wind and will release the pollen to float down to the silks. Shake plants every few days for as long as the tassels are viable. A more tried and true way to ensure pollination is to hand pollenate. Carefully detach a tassel from the top of the plant with scissors or shears. Then, simply dust the tassel over the silks. Repeat this process every few days. The silks will dry out once their job is done. 

Diagram of corn plant

Diagram of a corn plant

Disease and Pests: Corn borers. The best approach to borer control is prompt plowing in or removal and composting of cornstalks after harvest. Consult your local Extension office for Integrated Pest Management program information. 

Harvest: Ears can be picked when the kernels are hard and glossy, and the husk has mostly dried down. If necessary, bring husked ears under cover to complete drying. Popcorn should be harvested when kernels are fully mature (hard and glossy) or they won’t pop well. After husking, spread out the ears in a dry, airy place and allow to “cure” for several weeks. The ideal moisture content for popcorn is 13–14.5%. Periodic test-popping will tell you when the kernels are dry enough to store, either on the cob or shelled.

Avg. Seeding Rate: Popcorn: ¾ lb./1,800′, 1 lb./2,400 ft., 6 lb. (or 28,800 seeds)/acre at 2 seeds/ft. in rows 36″ apart. Ornamental, Flour and Cornmeal: ¾ lb./600′, 1 lb./800 ft., 18 ¼ lb. (or 29,200 seeds)/acre at 2 seeds/ft. in rows 36″ apart.