Maize pollinating at Sol Feliz

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This is the beautiful time of the growing season when life is happening.  The corn is pollinating and we feel good knowing that everything has worked out nicely so far.  An important aspect of this time is look and make sure bugs like grasshoppers are not eating the silk on the cob-forming part of the maize plant.  If grasshoppers eat the silk, then the pollen wont be able to land on the silk and fertilize the kernel, resulting in sparsely formed cobs.  If this were to happen, we could spray the silks with garlic, chile, soap, or tobacco water to make it unpalatable.  Which one works best?  All of them and it depends!  Sometimes something works one year and doesn’t work so well the next time…  It is important to think of this agriculture thing as an evolving relationship and artistry in progress to work with your crops, land, and ideas and try and get it right…

We are really happy with this blue corn after we had a difficult season last year and barely got enough yield to replenish our seed.  This corn is clearly happier and doing better than the population we had last year.  It looks like we’re going to be drinking atole this winter and having some blue corn pancakes, tortillas, and masa harina!

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About Miguel

Miguel Santistevan is a researcher, educator, and advocate for traditional agriculture crops and systems.
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