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There are a great number of varieties of corn in cultivation, and these varieties have become considerably intermingled. The principal varieties, which may be distinguished by the number of rows or grains, on the cob, and the color, shape or size of the kernels, may be classified and described as follows:
1. Yellow Corn, Golden Sioux, or Northern Flint Corn; having a large cob, with twelve rows of moderate sized grains, very oily, and is regarded as one of the best varieties for fattening animals, or for human food. By skilful tillage, 130 bushels have been raised to the acre, weighing 9,216 lbs. in the ear, when dry: 75 lbs. of ears gave a bushel when shelled.
2. King Philip, or the Eight-Rowed Yellow Corn. Its ears, which contain only eight rows, are longer than those of the Golden Sioux, and it will yield about the same quality of oil. It is a hardy plant, which belongs to a high latitude; grows to about nine feet in height; stalks small, ears from ten to fourteen inches in length.
3. Canada Corn, or Eighteen-Rowed Yellow. This corn, which is smaller, earlier, and more solid than any of the preceding, contains more oil than any other variety, except the Rice Corn, and the Pop Corn. It is exceedingly valuable for fattening poultry, swine, &c., and is grown by many in gardens, for early boiling.
4. Dutton Corn. The cob sometimes grows to the length of fourteen or fifteen inches, but the grain is so compact upon it that two bushels of small ears have yielded five pecks of shelled corn, weighing 62 lbs. to the bushel. With proper management, an acre of ground will yield one hundred to one hundred and twenty bushels to the acre. As it is very oily, gives a good yield, and ripens early, it has always been a favorite variety for culture in the north.
5. Southern Big Yellow Corn. The cob of this corn is thick and long, the grain much wider than it is deep, and the rows unite with each other. The grain contains less oil and more starch than the Northern Flint kinds; yet its outward texture is somewhat flinty, solid and firm. It comes to maturity rather later, affords an abundant yield, and is much used for fattening animals.
6. Southern Small Yellow Corn. The ears of this variety are more
slender, as well as shorter than the last named; the grains are smaller though of the same form, of a deep yellow, more firm and flinty, and contain an abundance of oil, which renders it more valuable for the purpose of shipping, or for feeding poultry or swine.
1. Rhode Island White Flint Corn. The grains of this variety are about the size and shape of those of the Tuscarora Corn, but differ from them in containing an abundance of a transparent and colorless oil, which may be easily seen through their clear, pellucid hulls. The farinaceous parts of the grains are white, and as the quantity of oil which they contain is large, the flour or meal is more substantial as an article of food, and less liable to ferment and become sour.
2. Southern Little White Flint Corn. The kernels of this variety are considerably smaller than those of the preceding, and much resemble them in shape, but they are more firm and solid, contain more oil, and consequently are of more value for feeding poultry and swine, and for human food.
3. Dutton White Flint Corn. A variety not differing materially from the Yellow Dutton Corn, except in the color of the oil.
4. Early Canadian White Flint Corn. Cultivated principally for early boiling or roasting, while green.
5. Tuscarora Corn. The ears contain from twelve to sixteen rows of grains, which are nearly as deep as they are broad, of a dead whitish color on the extreme end, are entirely composed within of pure, white dextrine, and starch, except the germs. As it contains neither gluten nor oil, it may be profitably employed in the manufacture of starch. It is much softer and better food for horses than the flinty kind, and if used before it becomes sour, it may be converted into excellent bread. It is also an excellent variety for boiling, when green, or in the milky
6. White Flint Corn. The ears of this variety contain twelve rows of rather white, roundish, thick grains, which are filled with a snowy white flour, composed principally of starch, but does not contain either gluten or oil. It is much used. As it possesses similar properties with the preceding variety, it may be profitably employed for the same purpose. It is also an excellent variety for boiling, when green.
7. Virginia White Seed Corn. The ears of this corn, which are
not very long, (nor is the cob so long as those of the Big White, or Yellow Flint), contain from twenty-four to thirty-six rows of very long, narrow grains. These grains, at their extreme ends, are almost flat, and grow so closely together from the cob to the surface, that they produce a greater yield than any other variety, in proportion to the size of the ears. They contain more starch, and less gluten and oil, than those of the Flint kinds, and from their softness they serve as better food for horses, but are less nourishing to poultry and swine. This variety ripens later, though it is more productive than any other kind.
8. Early Sweet Corn. There are two kinds of this corn; one with the cob red, and the other white. The ears are short, and usually contain eight rows, the grains of which, when mature, are of a lighter color, and become shrivelled, appearing as if they were unripe. It contains a very large proportion of the phosphates, and a considerable quantity of sugar and gum, though but little starch. It is extensively cultivated for culinary purposes, and is delicious food when boiled green.
9. Rice Corn. A small variety, with small conical ears, the kernels terminating in sharp points, which give them the appearance of burrs; the kernels in size and shape something like rice. It contains more oil and less starch than any other kind, and when ground, its meal cannot be made into bread alone, but is dry like sand. From its oily nature and peculiar size, this corn is well adapted for feeding poultry.
10. Pearl Corn. Commonly called pop-corn, from the fact of its being used for popping, or parboiling. The ears of this variety are small, the grains are round, of various shades of color, the white of a pearly appearance; and contain, with the rice corn, more oil and less starch than any other variety.
11. Chinese Tree Corn. It is a pure white variety, a very handsome ear, about ten inches long, has ten rows, grain very closely set, long and wedge-shaped, well filled out, to the end of the cob; some of the grains slightly indented. One peculiarity of this corn is, the ears grow on the ends of the branches, hence its name "Tree Corn." It is said to yield from one-fourth to one-third more than the common varieties. When ground into meal it is handsomer and better flavored
than the common varieties of white corn.
There are generally two
ears on a stalk, and often three.
There are many other species of corn, but the foregoing embrace pretty much all those worthy of cultivation.
To raise a good crop of corn, a man must of course have all the implements required for it. If the planting is to be done on old ground, the old stalks should be cut and broken down first. This is usually done with a roller or a cylinder of wood, which is within a square frame, and about four feet long, and nineteen inches in diameter, and has four blades placed at equal distances around it, and running its entire length; drawn along by the horses, this instrument breaks down the stalks and cuts them up in fine style, leaving the stalks so cut about a foot long, and finishing about from six to eight acres per day in this manner. After this, the farmer should plough in the direction in which the stalks were broken down, so as to bring them under the earth turned up, which is easily accomplished; and never forget to harrow on rough or heavy land. If he then proposes making a marker, he should construct four wedge-shaped forms, 2 feet long, 5 inches thick, 10 inches wide at one end, and running to an edge at the other. These forms may be made of two inch plank; and two floor joists, one close to the points, and the other close to the heads, may be laid between them. A pole being then procured for a tongue, the back end should be run over the front joist, and under the back one, and bolted at the two places where it touches them, in such a manner that when the end rests in the neck-yoke, the points of the wedges are lifted a little. A marker thus constructed, makes a broad mark, proof against a fortnight's rain, and destroys young weeds at the same time, to a great extent. The land being thus marked both ways, get Randall & Jones' Double Hand Planter, which is light, substantial, and rapid, sowing two rows at once, of any number of kernels required, on pressed earth, from which the germ will sprout rapidly, the covering being as certain as if done with the hoe. Ten or twelve acres can thus be planted in a single day.
Corn-land should always be rolled after planting, since this, in dry weather, will prevent evaporation and diminish the surface exposed to the rays of the sun. Rolling should be repeated if the land continues dry, in order to bring up by capillary attraction, the moisture from the
subsoil. In tending corn, the earth should not be turned away from the hill in the day-time, since this would increase the chance of its drying through; and in throwing the earth up to the hill, the part of the stalk above the bulb, from which the supporters put out, should be prevented from being covered.
One of the best cultivators known to us is that one which has the general form of the common dray-shaped cultivator, except that it is just as long and wide again as that, and the two iron bars are made like the beam and knees of a sleigh. Its steel teeth run very flat in the ground-it runs with the broad end forward, straddles a row, and requires two horses to draw it, but will perform twice as much work as can be done by any of the common methods.
Indian corn is frequently sown as the first grain on newly-broken land; but as there is no reliance to be placed upon sod corn, many farmers prefer to leave the broken land lying fallow, until September, when it is sown with wheat. The planting of sod corn is done by sticking an axe or a spade between the layers of sod, and after dropping the corn apply the heel of the boot freely. Some farmers prefer to drop the seed into every third furrow, and turn a furrow on it. If the latter plan is adopted, the ground must be well rolled to ensure a good crop. To corn put in on the sod, usually no further attention is paid till harvest. The times of planting and harvesting depend upon the northern or southern exposure, and the harvest will often last until the end of November.
In 1835, Mr. Jno. Schoonhover raised an ear which gave one quart and one gill of the shelled corn.
We have just enumerated the different varieties of maize, which are cultivated, and before concluding this chapter we cannot forbear to point out a new variety, the cultivation of which has but just begun, viz., the Wyandott Corn. The seeds of this were obtained three years ago, from the Wyandott Indians, and first cultivated by a farmer in Waverly, Morgan County, who produced a crop of 150 bushels per acre, and who, at the Agricultural State Fair, at Chicago, in the fall of 1855, sold the single ears of this variety at twenty-five cents each. The ears are from five to nine inches long. It is a fine, pearly white, has but little chit, and grinds nearly all into meal. A chemical analysis of its properties proves it to contain a large portion of