Zea mays ssp. mays
Folk Names Corn, maize, give of life, sacred mother, seed of seeds
Corn, or Maize is a native American grain. The word corn once referred to any old grain. Most old European references to "corn" (such as the corn dolly) actually refer to other types of grain.
History and Folklore
Corn was domesticated more than 5000 years ago in Mexico. It is descended from a native grass called teosinte Zea mexicana. Wild teosinte has a few edible grains but ancient peoples must have selectively grown those plants with the most grains for many generations to finally get corn as we know it today.
Corn should be planted during the first phase of the moon when the moon is in Cancer, Pisces or Scorpio and when soil temperatures are at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night, plant corn seeds in rows about a foot apart and at least five deep and five across. Choose a very sunny location with well draining soil. Corn does very well sown directly in the ground. If you want to start your corn early, you can cover it with plastic to keep it warm. You should only plant one type of corn, especially if you plan to save the seeds to plant again next year. Corn is wind pollinated and can easily cross breed. If you are planting more than one type of corn, or if your neighbor is also planting corn, make sure you have at least 300 yards between corn fields. Keep your corn patch as week free as possible.
Traditional companions for corn are beans and squash. The corn provides a natural trellis for beans to climb while squash shades out the weeds and helps retain moisture in the soil. Meanwhile the beans inject nitrogen into the soil to feed both the corn and the squash! You can plant beans along your corn rows after the corn is about six inches tall and squash between the rows at the same time. Or you can plant your corn, beans and squash in hills. Drop a few corn seeds into the top of the hill, after the corn sprouts, surround these with bean seeds and then plant squash seeds around the base of the hill! Remember that corn needs corn to ripen, so make sure your rows of corn or rows of hills are at least five deep and five across. The more corn you have, the better it will ripen.
Harvesting & Storage
Your corn will be ready to harvest about 3 weeks after the corn silk appears. When the silks start to turn brown and dry out you know it's time to check your corn harvest! Just pull back a bit of the husk and see how it looks to you. Then, just twist and pull. Store your corn in the fridge and eat as soon as possible for best flavor.
If you are growing corn for making flour or to have dried kernels for decorative or ritual use or to plant again next year, or if you're growing popcorn, you will want to wait until the ear is fully mature before harvesting. It will be several weeks before the above-mentioned stage until the whole stalk is dry. Then you can pull off the cobs, pull off the husk and rub the cobs vigorously until all the hard seeds fall off.
Corn and corn meal is a popular offering for harvest rituals, shamanic rituals and rituals honoring Nature.
Corn and corn meal is useful in spells related to luck, prosperity and abundance.
Immature corn is good roasted, boiled or creamed. Mature corn may be made into corn meal or corn flour to make corn meal mash, corn bread, corn pudding and more. Parched corn is also made out of mature corn. Popcorn is a delicious corn treat that may be eaten plain, salted and buttered or made into tasty treats like caramel corn, popcorn balls, chocolate covered popcorn, toffy popcorn and more!
Corn is used to make ethenol for fueld, corn syrup, corn starch and more.
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