Thursday, June 18, 2009

Corn Mother

Open Pollinated White Corn Arrives
While having one of our various stimulating discussions about organic gardening, farming and community and such during the weeklong Strawbale Build, Kevin (from the border of Ohio and Indiana who was our
“Super-Carpenter in residence” for the duration) mentioned that he has some Open-pollinated white corn from his Grandpa and family farm that he grew out to save.
In this time of huge agro-corporations such as the “M”-word ( no I won’t give that company any free advertisement) trying to take away the power of the people and the farmers who grow our food by creating atrocities such as round-up ready this -and -that and seeds that cannot be saved to grow out a new crop the following year, saving seed such as open-pollinated anything is a revolutionary act.
So the seed saver in me jumped at the prospect of adding to my collection and
I asked Kevin if he would send me a few of those seeds.
So a few weeks after that, I was back here at Blue Rock Station and talking to my Mother on the telephone. “A weird envelope came in the mail for you today. It feels like a rosary, or some seeds”. My heart leaped in excitement and I tried to explain that it was probably the corn that Kevin had promised and that it was special because it was heirloom and open-pollinated and that it’s the kind of corn that companies like “M” do not want for us to have at all, all in one breath.
I plan to save some of my new corn collection and plant some of it here at Blue Rock in the fashion that I have always grown corn.
The “Three sisters” method of planting in the old way is the Mother of all companion planting that flows through my Cherokee DNA. Some of the original inhabitants of this continent grew corn, beans and squash (or pumpkins) all together in little hills. This was done right on the west bank of the Scioto River by the Mingo , in what later would become downtown Columbus ( central Ohio’s first town and the part of town that my ancestors on both sides migrated to from Appalachian Ohio, Franklinton really). First I plant the corn in the hills along with the squash or pumpkins. Then when the corn gets tall enough , I plant beans to grow up the corn stalks. The squash tends to block out all of the weeds , the ears of corn grow tall and strong buffering each other in a circle against the wind and the beans eagerly grow up the slender built in bean-poles.
Here’s more wisdom from Linda Hogan:
“She, the corn, is called our grandmother. She’s the woman who rubbed her palms against her body and the seeds fell out of her skin. That is, they fell from her body until her sons discovered her secrets. Before she left the world, she told them how to plant the beans and corn together, plant their little sister squash, between them. This, from an oral tradition, came to be rediscovered hundreds of years later, almost too late, by agriculturists in their research on how to maintain the richness of farm soil”.

No comments:

Post a Comment