Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Maize cuttings

I promised a blogpost on how to grow maize cuttings. It'll be a short one, since it isn't that complicated.

The first try with maize was to sprout them in the classical way (put them in a jar, rince them with water a few times a day and wait until the sprouts have become large enough to be tasty). Worked well, and the taste was moderately bitter with a curiously sweet aftertaste. The problem was the the most of the seeds were left, and they were hard as stones. Perhaps I could have boiled the sprouts in some sort of warm dish, but I chose to try out the next batch as cuttings instead.

Since cuttings are supposed to be watered from below I built four selfwatering containers out of IKEA plastic boxes (SAMLA). In this way I could use the space on the windowsill better, but any selfwatering container or system to water plants from the rootlevel will do. Then I put the maize seeds in water for in between six to twenty four hours (I don't remember the exact time) to speed up the growing process. This worked well, I could see tiny sprouts through the shells of the seeds when I sowed them in the containers. An advice in a swedish gardening magazine (Allt om Trädgård #6) made me cover them with sand instead of soil.

Twenty liters (~8 USgallons) of sand is heavy, btw. My fight to lift the leftover sandbag, leftover since I made balcony sandboxes for my son, should be written about in epic songs. Of course I didn't use all of it this time.

The seedlings were above soil withing fourtyeight hours. This may be because of me soaking them beforehand, but it may also be because I bought them as "popcorn" in the local mall. Commersial growers tend to favourise fast growing crops. Whatever the reason I could cut myself a healthy sallad within seven days. The bitterness as well as the sweet aftertaste was milder, all in all the cuttings were very much edible.

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