Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Review of Kaanga Pango Corn

I'm in the process of harvesting the Kaanga Pango Corn.  First, let me say that I know very little about this corn.

This is a heritage corn from NZ and was from the Wellington Seed Library.  I do not know what the Maori used this corn for.  The Maori historically used corn to making a fermented corn, they ate corn fresh, they make something that looks like a tamale, and they ate a pudding/mush from corn.
April 23 Foreground, Isola di Este, Kaanga Pango - near compost pile

It was estimated that Kaanga Pango was 110 days.

May 11, 2014 - Corn side dressed
I planted this corn on March 27, 2014 to flats.  It was transplanted to the field on 4/13/14.  As you can see the soil as already extremely dry and both corns are up and doing well.  I started 100 of each of these in the tray, at transplanting, there was approximately 85 of each.  The gophers ate a few and each plot ended up with 80 corn.  This field was not composted this year, but the corn was side dressed with compost and fertilized with fish emulsion and endo mychorrizae at planting.

June 15, 2014 Kaanga Pango Left, Isola di Este Right

By June 15, the Kaanga Pango was in full tassel.  The Isoa di Este had not tasseled at this point.
Kaanga Pango is about 6' tall.  It makes 3-4 tillers, and on the outside edges, each of these tillers made an additional corn.  These were planted on 18 inch centers, and by the looks of them, they could have used 24 or even 36" centers.  It's Leo's opinion that if I had planted them on 36 er's I would have yielded 4x as much corn.  For a not very tall corn, they are very broad.  The corn is held at about 2 1/2 feet above the ground.

July 13, 2015 Kaanga Pango & Papago Corn in the foreground
By July 13, the Kanga Pango was ready.  I left it in the field until Sunday, July 27.   All of this year's corn has been irrigated to the standard of approximately 1 gallon per week.  The temperature throughout the season has been hot 90+ every day and the evening lows, around 59 F.  We have not had our typical coastal fog once a week.  Leo noticed that due to it's tillering nature and the shade associated with that and that it was shorter, it need less water than other corn in the field,.

July 30, Kaanga Pango on the hoof
On July 27th, I harvested 2 rows.  In the field, I pulled back the husks, the husks were already too dry to braid, so I've just tied and hung them.  At this point the Isola di Este is ready to come out of the field as well, but it's 98 degrees, and I'm having a hard time working more than a couple of hours in the heat.

A few individual ears.  Note the yellow kernel where the Isola crossed with the Kaanga Panga
The cobs themselves are pretty nice looking, they range in size from 11 to 6 inches.  The central leader corns are larger and the tillers make smaller ears.
Harvest from only 2 rows
Due to the extreme drought, these didn't get quite as much water as they might have wanted during the flowering stage, which of course leads to some blanks and not quite perfect tip fill.  So now I'll let these dry down, while I get the rest out of the field.    This is about 50ish corns for 32 plants.  After I taste it, I'll get back to you.  Flint or Flour?  hmmm?

My son tasted this corn in the dough stage and found it to be very sweet.  It may double as a sweet/roasting corn if harvested early enough.  The outside husks were loaded with aphids...they know a sweet thing when they see it.  As for disease issues, there was some minor corn ear worm damage. With worm damage, comes a frass  that causes mold.  This occurred only on the tip of the corn, I think it partly because of the tight wrapper.

So, if we grow this corn again, we will grow at 24" and give it a try as a roasting corn.

Next up with this, we'll try baking and boiling.  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dar's drought tolerant corn

HOLY MOLY, look at that corn grow.  This is Dar's drought tolerant corn.  This was transplanted on 5/11.  It's got tassels.
And look at the hooligans running amok in the corn.  Of these 3 kittens, 2 will become farm cats.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July Corn 2014

This is Dar's Drought tolerant corn...it's growing really fast.  I think I see the first tassel.

The Isola de Este is almost ready to harvest.   The Kanga Pango is right behind it.  Both literally and harvest wise.
Today we are harvesting the shallots, so that I can get these tomatoes trellised.  Yikes.  The cabbage is looking pretty good, better than the darn broccoli, which the darn gopher is feasting on.

Monday, June 23, 2014


For those of you who aren't used to seeing the farm from the other side, here it is.   Alas, it's burnt.
You can just about see the corn in the distance.  For those of you wondering...half the field, about 5 acres.  And just way to close for comfort.

Corn Porn

Dar's Drought tolerant corn is growing so fast, I can hear it.
And here it is up close and personal.  I think this is going to be a tall corn.

Speaking of tall, here's the Isola di Este.  Tassels, silk, corn on!   I think another 30 days in the field and this will be dry and ready.

What's a little corn without tomatoes & beans?  So here are pinto beans, surrounded by tomatoes, with the Isola & the Kanga Pango in the background.  

Saturday, June 21, 2014

From a Distance

From on top the hay 2014

Every year when the hay is baled, one of us climbs on top and takes a photo of the farm.  Sometimes it helps to get some perspective.  Look at that corn!  That's the Italian corn, Isola di Este.  How fuzzy the asparagus looks.

How good the creek trees look, how small the traveling chicken house is.  

From this distance, it's hard to see the weeds, the bugs, the voles...or even the kitten monsters.  Below I can see the fallow fields, everything beyond the tree.  Each time I walk by one of these, I want to plant it.  I just cannot get used to how dry everything is.
Fallow Fields.
How small my world is.  A few seeds, a bit of soil, a piece of sky.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


June 1, 2014

Dar's Drought Tolerant Corn

I know it comes to no surprise to any of you that I'm working on drought tolerant crops.  We've expected drought for a long time.  Mostly I've been working with beans and corn.  This is a new corn this year.  My friend from the South, Dar Jones has been working on this corn for several years.  He sent me some this year.  This has literally sprung up in the last few weeks.  It's very healthy looking.  This of course is not a sweet corn, but a hominy, posole and dried ground corn.

Isola  & Pango Kanga
At the same time the Isola & the Pango Kanga continue to really put on growth.  One of these will be a polenta corn and the other hopefully for chicha.

The translation for Pango Kanga is black corn.  It's used to make an alcoholic drink, but I'm guessing it will also make chicha. 

Chicha Morado
1 gallon water
2 cups of dried purple corn (maiz morado)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole cloves
3 large lemons, juiced
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
Skin of a fresh pineapple, use the pineapple for something else.

Put everything except the lemon juice into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain through a mesh strainer. Stir in the lemon juice. Pour over ice and get in a hammock and enjoy.

I'm going to try substituting the Pango Kanga, because Maize Morado is very tricky to grow here.
Pango Kanga also makes a good ground corn.  If there's enough time, I'll plant one more corn field.