We had first seen the corn at Seed School in 2010 and Cord wanted to grow it then. I recently wrote an article about the Glass Gem Corn Craze in the Colorado Gardner, (www.coloradogardener.com), giving even more shine on this wildly popular corn. (Pictures of the corn went viral before there was much seed available - people are waiting!)
We've been growing Seeds Trust's Candy Mountain Sweet Corn for over 20 years at 8,000 ft. in the Rockies so we felt confident we could grow this corn.
So beautiful - and diverse. There is nothing like it. The following is photographic documentation of our attempt in yet another wildly different and strange year in Colorado.
When the rains came, the plants grew lush and deep green, absolutely beautiful, it looked like the happiest corn in the world. About the time it was 5- 6' tall, we were both wondering when it was going to tassle. It seemed to be taking it's sweet little time. Suddenly it was late August and I was getting worried. This is an ancestral corn from the Cherokee people and although I don't know a proper corn ceremony, I planned to dance naked as another form of stimulant I could give it - when the hail beat me to it! I'd like to take credit for the tassling, but it was probably the hail, just the right amount to stimulate the outer leaves but not kill the crowns. It started tassling shortly after.
By the time we got the cover over it - a pretty huge cover, a lot of the corn was 9' tall and some pushing 10'. Some of it touched the roof when they put the plastic on. It grew during the time they installed the frame and put on the cover. It was crazy tall and each, now, long, skinny stalk, had multiple silks setting ears. The pollen was amazing in there, falling and collecting on the leaves below, when you walked through it, you had the sensation of moving the pollen just with your body passing by. The corn had a stunning presence, I was very aware it was special, even though I can't explain it here. It was so relaxing and lovely to water - especially when I had a little music. I completely believed it would make it - especially because we had the big cover to get it through the first few frosts of September. We watered religiously and opened and closed the thing every day.
2012 and 2013 will be my Poster Children for "Every year is different in Colorado". I'm not messing around. There could not be two more different years. So - once again, Colorado, Earth, Mother Nature - is in charge of our crop and we are just little high-altitude gardeners trying to grow a precious corn. So maybe next year Colorado will grow the Glass Gem early and we will have a heavy crop of the world's most beautiful corn.
Even the tassles were beautiful and multi-colored. The following pictures were about 5 days too late - they were past their peak but you can still see the variation. I loved it.
I called Julia Coffey of Seeds Trust the other day - and blurted out, "total and complete crop failure on the Glass Gem" and started to cry - even though I didn't want to or plan to. (Cord never cried, he'd faced reality long before and as this was primarily his baby - he is looking forward to trying again next year.)
Julia was awesome of course, she told me she had no doubt that we had done everything we could to make it happen. She knew it was a risk on a good year in the mountains. She understands that it requires time and patience to grow seed.
I don't regret the year that was, the cool rainy days were like heaven to me. Our land hasn't seen moisture like that in 20 years. But cool, rainy mountain weather doesn't grow a Cherokee corn in a hurry.
So, next year it is, it will fly - it will grow to fruition, we know what we are doing when it comes to corn, (naked dancing aside), and Julia is willing to let us try again. No matter what, it was beautiful in all stages and a great pleasure to grow.