Sunday, December 10, 2006

Growing Corn

Over summer I and a friend have been lucky enough to have been given a field to grow corn squash and beans on over summer, this association known as the three sisters is a traditional polyculture of symbiotic species. I will post from time to time as to how the plot is progressing and with information on how we use the harvests initial ideas include weaving the corn husks and making corn flour and beer. We are growing three heritage varieties of corn and various squash and pumpkin.




Final Planting

Hopi corn.

The nutritional value of blue corn with blue corn having 30% more protein than regular corn. Hopi corn also grows taller than sweet crorn with heights of ten feet high not uncommon in ideal circumstances. The cobs of hopi corn are known to grow to up to a foot long.

The young hopi corn are highly supposed to be really good to eat lightly steamed boiled or grilled. The ground cornmeal has a sweet distinctive taste and is highly distinctive.

The hopi blue corn we are growning is an open pollinated variety that has been a staple of indigenou americans for thousands of years. In hopi culture corn is dried on the rooftops of houses and then ground by women in large groups as part of a social bonding process. The dried corn are dried using a mano (smaller stone tool) and matate (large stone on which the grain is placed) with the mano rolled over the grain. These day a grinder is used for grinding most corn with corn still ground by hand for ceremonial occasions.

The hopi society is made up of villages divided into clans with a chief who is a spiritual leader. Families live together in large single rooms and houses are handed down from mother to daughter with men moving out to live with their mother or sister after a divorce. Each clan is responsible for different ceremonys.

Hopi are dryland farmers and traditionally corn, squash and beans formed the basis of the diet. Each clan has several tracts in several locations in case some failed due to a lack of rain. In pre european times rain dances were used to ensure the success of crops but hopi farmers are finding that the rains no longer come as they once did. Farmers often spend long periods of time singing to their plants to ensure they grow well. up to 24 varieties of corn are grown by hopi mainly differentiated by coulour.

Hopi corn is typically planted by groups of men who plant a hosts field in corn in a day and are then fed by the host and his wife. Some fields are planted by individual men. Corn is sorted by colour during harvest and stored near the household.

The hopi peoples were visited on 1540 by some of francisco coronados men, missions were established in 1629 but were destroyed during a revolt in 1680 after this the pueblos in the foothills were abandoned and villages were built on the mesa for defence. During the 18th and 19th century navajo raids were common and the hopi were eventually "pacified" by the US army in the late 19th century


Eabha the Kiwi said...

Hey There!

Friends of mine here in Nova Scotia, Canada have been growing heritage varieties of squash...also Hopi seeds. Are you familiar with the Hopi prophecies? They are very interesting!

Hey who's that ugly scruffy looking guy in the second and third photos? He smells from from here an awful lot like Tom.

If you can get past the grunting I imagine he'd be a good laky to work with...I always considered him a really corny guy.

Much Love To Scruffy Corny Grunters, yourself, and all our seed sprouting palls in the South Pacific.

John D and Eabha

John said...

yea i briefly saw a few prophecies that looked pretty stunning, their is quite a lot to learn about the hopi and i certainly dont know enough. It would be nice to get and keep going a few lines of heritage seed from a similar bioregion the nutritional qualitys would probably suit our bodys a hell of a lot better than the hybridised highly bred vegies we eat currently.

Lol i didnt notice any grunting and he is always great to work with :) It feels really good planting the corn, they seem to be powerful plants spiritually.

George said...

Dirty hippies! :p