Glass Gem Corn
Luminous, glass-like kernels in full spectrum color.
The surprising, infinite color combinations of this corn will stop you in your tracks and are unlike any other corn we've seen. Hence why the cobs have become internet superstars as easily as a meme! Un-husking an ear feels like opening a gift, with a breathtaking reveal. As the name implies, each translucent kernel shines with the brilliance of a beautiful piece of glass. Not only are the ears highly decorative, but they are also edible, and can be used for popcorn, parching, cornmeal, or flour. Glass Gem was bred by Cherokee breeder and seedsman Carl Barnes, and was developed by crossing a mixture of Native American corns, including popcorns and flour corns.
Growing corn is pretty easy if you provide your seeds with highly fertile soil. Seed can be sown in early- to mid-May depending on the year (corn likes a slightly-warmed-up soil for germination). For continued harvest all season, sow crops at two-week intervals until mid-summer. Drop seeds into furrows about 1 inch deep. Begin with spacing of three to four inches and thin the plants once up to a spacing of six to eight inches. Rows should be a good 30 or 42 inches apart with this spacing, which matches common widths of garden beds.
Some years corn needs very little attention, but in dry years it will need irrigating. It thrives during the summers when subtropical weather settles in for a couple months. Many critters love to munch on corn, including rodents and, most notoriously, raccoons. Avoid growing corn near chicken coops or pest attractants, and be sure to surround your garden with a good critter fence.
About the Artist
Hollis Chitto's beadwork bag features miscellaneous glass beads that he collected from his previous works to depict the jewel-like kernels of Glass Gem Corn. This echoes the way that the corn itself exists through cross-pollination and genetic diversity that shines through the work of previous generations.