Growing Glass Gem Corn

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My favorite ear of 'Glass Gem' corn is purple and gold. I just can't get over how beautiful it all is.

My favorite ear of ‘Glass Gem’ corn is purple and gold. I just can’t get over how beautiful it all is.

‘Glass Gem’ is one unique corn, and I’m so glad I grew it this year. Carol from May Dreams Gardens gave me some kernels last spring from the ‘Glass Gem’ corn she grew in her garden in Indiana. Before this summer, I always grew sweet corn, but never flint corn that can be made into cornmeal, or popped as popcorn. ‘Glass Gem’ is a heritage variety that originated in Oklahoma and is easy to grow. It is an open-pollinated seed selected over many years from various heirloom corns. It is not a hybrid. It is not sweet corn. It is the most beautiful plant I’ve ever grown.

Several different ears of 'Glass Gem' corn.

Several different ears of ‘Glass Gem’ corn.

In spite of torrential rain and a cooler-than-usual spring in my garden, my ‘Glass Gem’ corn sprouted and grew. Because it comes from heirloom varieties and is open-pollinated, don’t expect the ears to be uniform in color, size and shape. This is part of their charm. I ended with all different colors and ears in all sizes. The pollination was better on some ears than others, but all of it is beautiful. I will grow it again next spring because I am dazzled. Shucking this corn was like opening presents on Christmas morning with each ear a special and beautiful surprise.

All the variations of 'Glass Gem' corn I grew in my garden this year. Dee Nash 20-30 Something Garden Guide.

All the variations of ‘Glass Gem’ corn I grew in my garden this year.

‘Glass Gem’ corn is so popular it has its own Facebook page where people post photos of their corn. Not too many vegetables have their own page. Gardeners are taking this corn and then selecting their favorite kernels to refine it further to suit their needs. Some want more compact plants while others want certain color ranges. I just love their creativity. This is gardening’s great legacy, the ability to control one’s food supply, at least in part.

'Glass Gem' corn

‘Glass Gem’ corn

I’m drying the ears I grew, and our family will pop some of the kernels as popcorn. I’ll also save some for next spring. If you want to buy some kernels for yourself, try Native Seeds Search. Here is more information about the history of this amazing corn. Oh yes, I’ll grow this again and again because it was so much fun. Grow some with your kids next summer, and introduce them to the wild variety and pleasure that only gardening can bring.


Grow kale and make kale chips

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Winterbor kale makes a great kale chip

Winterbor kale makes a great kale chip

The weather is cooling; leaves are falling. It’s time to grow kale. We know we’re supposed to eat more of this delicious vegetable, but a lot of us don’t think we like it.

The first year I grew kale I  discovered my family hates it stir-fried or sautéed. Undeterred, I learned to make kale chips. Everyone in the family, except my son–who abhors all green vegetables, loves them.

So, let’s make kale into chips. Those fancy chips in the store are not as good as what you can make yourself.

It’s oh-so-simple too!

Kale grows like gangbusters in soil amended with composted chicken manure. It is easy to sow and grow in late fall. You can also grow it during winter under row covers or in a cold frame. I grew one crop in fall, and now I’ll sow another.

I love lacinato kale, sometimes called dinosaur kale. It can be harvested young or at maturity. It is yummy and doesn’t have as many ridges to clean as curly leafed kales like ‘Red Russian’ or ‘Winterbor.’ However, those ridges really hold the ingredients in the kale chips.

So, grow whichever you like.

Here’s my quick recipe:

Kale Chips

One bunch of kale

Two tablespoons olive oil

Salt to taste

Parma brand of vegan parmesan cheese (composed mostly of ground walnuts and nutritional yeast.) I like the chipotle flavor, but I bet garlicky green is good too. It is gluten free and tastes great on pizza and other stuff too.

Coat kale leaves with olive oil and liberally sprinkle parma. Toss with your hands. Salt to taste. Bake in a 425 F oven until you desired crispiness is achieved.

That’s all there is to it! Don’t you just love it when a plan just comes together?