Ornamental Corn is fun to grow and makes the best fall decorations. If they are properly taken care of ornamental corn can last for years.
There are many different kinds of ornamental corn. Some are the minature corn that grow three to six inches long and others are over 12 inches long.
What I like about growing ornamental corn is that you never know what the corn will look like. You may get an ear that’s mostly red with oranges or yellow or an ear that’s all purple.
Ornamental Indian Corn grows like most corn. It takes over 8o days to mature but unlike other edible corn you do not have to watch the crop for when its ready. When the tassels turn color its ready and I just let it stay on the stalks until I am ready to harvest it – unless the raccoons find it! Then I harvest it as early as possible.
Harvesting it is fun. I pick the corn and pull back the corn husks to reveal the corn. The corn although ready, needs to cure. I hang it from hangers in the barn in the rafters. As it cures the colors get darker and the husks dry. The reason it’s hung in the rafters is to keep the mice and raccoons away from it.
When dry, I select colors that look good together and bundle most of it up in groups of three to five ears of corn, depending on the size of the corn ear and what I plan on using it for.
I make wall and door hangings usually using three to five ears each and tie with ribbon and bow. A few extra husks or broom corn stalks adds to the arrangement.
You can make spectacular ornamental corn wreaths. I use the smaller ears of corn for this and wire the ears onto a circular wire (an old metal clothes hanger works well and has a ready made hook for hanging.)
You can also use individual ears in ornamental gourd arrangements or with any fall squash.
The individual kernels work well for jewelry and seed crafting. I use these if I have a bad ear of corn. I let the ear dry and strip off the kernels. One other item from corn that has been used for centuries and is still popular is the use of dried corn husks. Its most popular for dolls but also used for flowers, wreaths and paper.
To make your ornamental corn ears last longer spray with a varnish when they are dry.
Broom corn was grown back in the pioneer days at almost every home and garden. It was called broom corn because it grew on stalks but had a seeded head instead of corn. The heads were dried and used for brooms which lasted for years. They were also used for small brushes. Natural corn brooms are still used in some places and a very popular craft at crafting fairs and pioneer days. I have used them myself and they are wonderful.
Another use for broom corn is for crafts and arrangements. Broom corn can come in a natural color or in shades of fall colors.
Broom corn grows five to eight foot tall depending on the variety.
One other fun corn product
You can grow popcorn. It’s good for snacks, bird food, and crafting. It comes in the natural tan or beige color and now in several colors. Most ears look like Indian corn but a few are pink and purple and used more for crafting.
These garden produce crops add to fall decorating and crafting.