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Try Planting Ornamental Corn in your Garden for Thanksgiving Color

by Jeffrey Anderson, All About Lawns Columnist

Ornamental corn goes by many different names. Some people call it Indian corn, and others call it flint, calico, or maize. Regardless of the names, chances are you've often seen it used for autumn and Thanksgiving decorations. Indian corn can be eaten, but compared to sweet corn it doesn't have much taste. These days, Indian corn is mostly grown for its bright colors and ornamental uses. It's easy to grow--if you have young children, you might want to add it to your spring garden.

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Growing Indian Corn in Your Garden

Indian corn seeds are available from retailers like Heirloom Seeds, or you can simply pick up a few ears from your local grocery and plant the kernels after they've dried, as described in an article from the Toledo Blade. You can grow the ears in vibrant colors such as:

  • Magenta
  • Scarlet
  • Orange
  • Blue
  • Purple

If you're thinking of planting several different colors of Indian corn in your garden, keep in mind that each plant cross pollinates. Unless there's about 100 feet between varieties, you're likely to grow multi-colored ears of corn.

Indian corn should be planted in the spring after the last threat of frost. The plant does best when it gets a lot of sunlight. Seeds only need to be planted about 1/2 to 1 inch deep, but the soil should be well cultivated before planting and fertilized based on soil testing.

Seeds should be watered after planting, and again in several days if there has been no rain. Indian corn is normally ready for harvest about 65 to 95 days after planting, depending on the area and the weather during the growing season. Harvested corn should be dried for several days before becoming part of your seasonal decorations.


About the Author
Jeffrey Anderson has a Degree in English from V.M.I. and served as an officer in the Marine Corps. He worked in Residential and Commercial construction management for 25 years before retiring to write full time.

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