16 Apr 2021
In 2004 I started a serious garden again (after many years' break) when I got an allotment in the Stockholm suburb of Skarpnäck. From the first year I grew some plants of ornamental corn from seeds I bought from the small Swedish seed company Impecta.
In 2007 I discovered the flour maize "Painted Mountain" and started growing it. The small Swedish seed company Runåbergs had started selling this. It matures early and is beautiful with all its colours, and is a variety that actually grows very well in southern Sweden at least all the way up to Stockholm. This variety gave an earlier and more reliable harvest than the ornamental corn I had grown before.
In 2009 I tried to direct seed instead of growing in small pots that were then planted. I had read a bit and understood that ordinary maize can be sown from a soil temperature of 8-10 °C, and that it can be sown earlier in Spring. It's only sweet corn that needs a higher soil temperature. Of course I've grown sweet corn too during all these years to eat as a vegetable. Sweet corn is so much better when it's picked fresh from the plant.
For 2010 I started looking around for other coloured maize varieties, which I bought through Ebay. That year I grew "Oaxacan Green Dent" and "Miniature Rainbow Popcorn". "Oaxacan Green Dent" is one of the most beautiful maize varieties I know of, and can actually be grown to maturity in the Stockholm area. "Miniature Rainbow Popcorn" was more difficult, but I managed to get som mature cobs sometimes.
In Skarpnäck I grew sweet corn, flour corn and dent corn. I had the rather early varieties "Ashworth" and "Double Standard" of sweet corn, which I had bought from Runåbergs, and "Blue Jade", which I had bought from the Dutch seed company Vreeken's Zaden. Of dent corn I grew "Oaxacan Green Dent", which I already had the year before and also "Earth Tones Dent", which also has beautiful colours and also matures so early that it can be grown in southern Sweden.
In 2012 I had built an extra fence around my popcorn plot to keep the sheep out and grew the same popcorn varieties as the year before. Only "Tom Thumb", "White Selection" and "Dakota Black" gave mature cobs. During the following years (with some year's break now and then) I continued with the same popcorn varieties. I also got some crosses, which was one of my goals. "Tom Thumb", "White Selection" and "Dakota Black" were the base of my crossed popcorn material, with some crossing from "Miniature Rainbow Popcorn", "Cutie Pops" and "Mini Japanese Yellow Popcorn".
In 2020 I decided to make a serious attempt to breed a good popcorn variety for Sweden, and I sowed saved and crossed seeds from my previous harvests to get a broad genetic base (maize seeds can stay viable for 10 years or more). Most of the plants and cobs I harvested in 2020 lived up to my goals, but there are still many years of breeding and selection to get a good variety.
15 Apr 2021
I've been interested in growing food plants for a long time. My interest in maize was kindled when I was in America many years ago and saw some "Indian corn", i.e. multicoloured ornamental corn.
I am breeding an early and colourful popcorn variety for the Swedish climate. I will write more about this later.
I also grow short season flint corn. Come back later for more about this.