The History of this heirloom has us in awe! Corn, Squash and Beans were once known as the “Three Sisters” by native peoples. “Sisters” because they should never be parted…they should always be planted together! Corn, esp. was important to the survival of the first colonists during their first winter in N.A…causing them to beg, borrow, barter or steal old varieties from N.A. natives. These were then often grown under the natives’ guidance!
It is believed that Corn’s origin began in the Mexican plateau or the highlands of Guatemala. Fossils of corn grain pollen have been found in drilled core samples of lake sediment taken from beneath Mexico City. These samples show carbon dating to 80,000 years and further!….. (History of Corn…Brenda Miller-Sanford OCPA)
Native peoples have developed the 5 major classes of corn as we know today. They are: Flint, Flour, Popping, Dent and Sweet.
The purity of numerous heirloom corn varieties have been put under major pressure by the introduction of laboratory Genetically Modified (GM) corn varieties. The self-serving monetary agenda of these Corporations have put at risk the very essence of diversity and survival of all species that we always had a right to hold near and dear. Please do your part in insuring that these beautiful heirlooms do not become “lost”.
Will remain online for educational purposes. Operating on a “Hobby” basis.
Occasionally we may have “extra” seed. These can be found below. If nothing marked…then it is “N/A”.
- Black Aztec – This heirloom was offered to the seed trade over a hundred years ago, somewhere around 1860! Plants grow to 6 feet. Ears are 7″- 8″ long, great for roasting when the kernels are still white. Kernels will then turn deep dark blue/black when over-ripe…mature. Can be stored, later ground into flour & has ornamental appeal. Oddly enough, this variety is grouped under “sweet” corn listings, not “flour”! 75-85 days
- Black Mexican Sweet –
- Bloody Brothers – “Said to be a very strong stalked variety which is cream in color when fresh, then ripening to deep blood red color with occasional purple/red (dried blood) colored ear. Not sicking super sweet and makes a good grinding corn as well.” Will know more next year, as it appears to be an early type @ 70 days…therefore great here.
- Bloody Butcher – One of the oldest “dent” corn, grown since at least 1845. Don’t know how such a beautiful corn received such an awful name, but I wasn’t around then to have a say! Plants reach heights of 10 – 12 ft.! Cobs will grow quite large, two per stalk, with 14 rows on each cob as being the normal! Large kernels are super beautiful dark ruby red. Am told this is a multipurpose type, good for fresh eating, cornmeal and great for grinding into flour. (The first time I saw a photo of it in Organic Gardening Magazine was of Mike McGrath standing on a ladder beside it AND his head still hadn’t got to the top!) Folks say that despite these huge stalks…they can and will resist heavy winds. Withstands heat, drought and poor soils! Nice! Another excellent fall decoration. 100-110 days
- Blue Jade – (aka Blue Baby, aka Sweet Baby Blue) Miniature plants bear 2 to 3 ears of “sweet” steel blue cobs that turn jade blue when boiled. Stalks grow only to 4 feet ! One of the only true sweet fresh edible corns that can be grown in a container! What a cutie! 65 days
- Buhl – will be grown this one next year…weather cooperating.
- Chires Baby Corn – Here is a variety used extensively in Asian cooking, but not often grown here. Plants appear as multi-stalked, producing up to 20 tiny cobs per. Just pick when the silk shows at the tip of the ears or let them mature to “popcorn” use! The tiny ears are picked fresh daily to encourage more to come and used in stir-fries & soups. Mature seed is dusky deep red and its fresh kernels are white. May have to be started indoors here in pots, as it has a reputation for finishing around 140 days! (…see Little Indian Baby Corn…)
- Country Gentleman Sweet – Introduced in 1890 by S.D. Woodruff & Sons. Delicious, milky, small, densely packed, tender white kernels on 14” ears. This corn is termed a “Shoe Peg” variety…running in random patterns, rather than rows. A 1904 seed catalog states “superior in quality to any other”. Here is the “other” heirloom variety that you might need a stepladder for, as it could grow to 10 feet tall! In 2016…despite heavy rains, it pulled off a fine harvest and stalks were only 8-9ft. tall. Best heirloom “sweet” corn. 90 days
- Cutie Blues Popcorn – An OP ? ornamental variety. Gosh…first time I saw this one, I had to have it! A pure deep dusty blue mini corn for popping! Cobs will mature at 4″ on 5 foot plants. If marauding birds are present, cover new cobs with paper bags. Harvest whole plant in fall by pulling it up entirely and allowing it to dry in a cool dry (out of sunny area). If not using the dried kernels right away, keep husks on till ready to use. Pops up multiple times and is very tender and nutty.
- Dakota Black Popcorn – (aka Black Dakota ) Plants will reach 5 ft. Excellent for children to grow, as very reliable. 8″ ears ( 2 per stalk…) are themselves reddish-black and their shiny kernels are deep burgundy black. Will “pop” up white with tiny black centers. Very attractive as an ornamental and an edible. Great for northern gardeners as it will finish early. Very beautiful!
- Delight Sweet Bi-color – an open-pollinated bi-color (peaches and cream type) of “sweet” corn, maturing about 5 days later than Golden Bantam! Cobs are about 5-6” long with an average one displaying about 12 rows of kernels. Quite early. 70 days
- Double Standard – This open-pollinated, bi-colored heirloom was the first of its kind, developed for northern gardeners. It was created from a cross between a nice yellow, called Burnell, grown in Maine in 1900’s and an early white heirloom from New York’s St. Lawrence Valley. (…Johnny’s) Nice-sized ears have both yellow & white kernels…with one unique feature. Traditional hybrids, if seed saved will revert back to all yellow kernels. If you have planted both colors in blocks, you will have both colors showing up on each cob. If you plant only the white, you will have only white fleshed cobs. If you plant only yellow, you will have only yellow! In addition, this vigorous variety germinates well in cool soils! Flavor is excellent, a traditional “sweet” corn taste. 75 days
- Earth Tones Dent –An open pollinated Dent corn variety! Gorgeous pastel blends of gold, mauve, orange, pink, brown, green, blue and every shade in between. Cobs can reach 9″ and kernels are not shiny. Plants can grow from 7 to 9 feet tall. Primarily used as a flour corn, for its delicious taste. Can also be cracked and used as bird feed or for supplementing small farm animal winter feed. Or simply dry it for a gorgeous household display. There is nothing stopping one from trying it in its “nibblets” stage. It might not have that ultra-(F1) sweetness you are used to, but it might just impress you with it real corn flavor, which we lost 50 years ago! Try starting this one in pots (2 seeds per) May 1-15th and plant out when soil is warm enough, to get a head start on maturity. If planted in time with other super-sweet varieties, will certainly cross (via wind pollination) that very summer and ruin both types. 100 days
- Glass Gem – well I broke down and ordered, for my trials, the rage of the south! Do a search and see what the gardeners are “crowing” about!
- Golden Bantam – (According to H. H. Seed…) Yellow corn was orig. grown for cattle feed! Whereas…only white corn was considered fit for the table! Back in 1902, a farmer by the name of William Chambers in Greenfield, Massachusetts grew a yellow mutant, open-pollinated sweet corn. After his death ( why must this always happen?…) a handful of the yellow kernel corn was somehow sold to W. Atlas Burpee. Burpee introduced it in 1902, to the general public as “Burpee’s Golden Bantam” This strain was selected for longer ears and tenderness. Ears are 5”- 7” long with excellent flavor, but matures a bit later in Sask. It is still the standard for home gardeners, a 100 years later. Hundreds of strains have been developed in its long history, allowing for better maturing dates for the North. Best for freezing and eating fresh if you still value the true unsweetened “corn” flavor. Plants grow to only 5 ft. 70 to 85 days
- Hickory King Yellow Dent – Wow! I have never seen such large kernels and such giant cobs! And no wonder…the stalks may well tower over Bloody Butcher, the tallest of them all! According to those , in the “know”, this is an Appalachian heirloom of the early 1800’s. This “old timer” is fine for, roasting, hominy, grits, corn meal AND flour. The best variety for hominy, as its skin slips off very easy. Each stalk will produce 2 cobs and the corn are so tightly wrapped, even corn ear worms can’t enter!
- Hopi Blue Flour –An ancient variety that was a staple of the Hopi Indians of Arizona. Beautiful dark blue kernels grind into a light blue flour. Cobs will grow to 8” long and plant stalks reach only five feet. 75-110 days
- Hopi Pink Flour – Trialed this one out for 2017! Plants were very robust and quite tall, about 9 feet! Some stalks had pinkish/red streaking. For the most part, each stalk offered one cob. Out of concern, started this variety indoors to gain a few weeks on the final harvest, which proved successful! A truly lovely heirloom variety with kernels in glowing shades of deep pink, partially pink, light pink and all contrasted with pure white! Gorgeous! Ears were 8-10” long. Plants proved they are most drought tolerant. Dried kernels are excellent for grinding into flour. Cobs would be a beautiful attraction for displays, as they are reddish streaked on white/cream. As an added note…a herd of deer, right at harvest entered into the garden and started walking right through all of the raised beds, knocking almost all the stalks over! Thankfully only a few cobs were chewed at! But the mess they created by their constant traipsing, almost did me in! (N.B. Obtained mine from two different sources.) 75-110 days
- Indian Blue Sweet – (aka Hooker’s Sweet Indian ) A heritage variety developed by Mr. Ira Hooker in the 1930’s & obtained from him over 70 years ago near Olympia, WA. with color-coded cobs. When they are sweet & tender…they are white. Kernels then turn yellow…then pink (when most flavorful). As they age, they turn purple & when fully ripe, are very dark blue! When dried, will grind well into a fine sweet corn meal. Cobs can be eaten raw in the early stages, yet used at all stages! Plants grow from 4 to 5 ft. tall and produce 2 or 3 cobs per stalk. Cobs are small with 10-12 rows of kernels that average 5” long. Ripens reliable even in cool summers. 75 days
- Japanese Hulless Popcorn – (aka Australian Hulless, aka Dwarf Baby Rice) Some dare to call this one “Tom Thumb“…but I do not agree. Plant stalks reach 5 to 6 feet, with each stalk offering 2 or 3 cobs per. The cobs are short and thick, 4″ in length and 2” wide. Its kernels are translucent white, arranged irregularly on the cob, unusually tender, sweet and pure white when popped. Should finish between “Tom Thumb” and “Popcorn” (Mandy’s). 75 days
- Japanese Striped Maize – From Japan in the 1890’s. Was originally grown at our GH as “Looney’s Popcorn”. Seed germinated after 10 years of storage! A breath-taking beautiful foliage plant! It sports leaves in a variegation of green, white, rose and yellow stripes! What a rainbow show it would make in your tall perennial flower garden. Kernels are truly a surprise, ending as deep burgundy/red. Air and wind is so necessary for this variety. Must be grown in a dry sunny area to develop the finest of colors. Again, plant in blocks to completely fill the cobs. Tassels are also burgundy. Plants grow only to 5 ft. tall. (2009) I forgot the cobs on my plants and they froze solid at -10 C. I sobbed! BUT I pulled them off anyway! I just found they had germinated Jan.25, 2010 at 32/32! Now…I am really impressed! The will to survive in these heirlooms is greater than I ever thought! 75-80 days
- Little Indian Baby Corn – (aka Little Indian Pickling) I came across this one while looking for other “baby corn” varieties and found this Open Pollinated cutie! As many in this small family, stalks will produce multiple (from 7 to 9) mini-cobs for stir-fries or pickling. Make sure to harvest before kernels become too developed, if required for eating. Otherwise plant many, many plants if wanting to save for seeds. Remember that a small gene pool will eventually render a beautiful heritage variety useless. Cobs are multicolored and very beautiful! Very small seeds.
- Luther Hill – Developed in 1902 by Luther Hill of Andover Township in Sussex Co. New Jersey. An excellent “sweet white” heirloom corn, with sugary flavor. Plants are quite vigorous, growing from 5-6 ft. tall, producing 2 cobs per stalk…5″-6″ long! Space plants 18” apart to allow room for suckers which often produce more small cobs. One can plant these closer or plant in hills of 3 or more, for better cob fill. A “must-have” for sweet corn varieties. 80-90 days
- Miniature Blue Popcorn – As near as I can find, this one maybe a blue variety separated from “Miniature Calico Popcorn”. I trialed out this one in 2009 and found it to be quite interesting. Stalks grew to 5-6 ft. Cobs are cute, only 3″ long approx. and very slim…more than “Dakota Black Popcorn”. The kernels when dried are a beautiful slate grey/blue, yet popping out to pure white. A late season producer…100 days. Will have to continue saving seeds to bring the ripening date more in line with our area.
- Mixed Colors Broom – Actually a type of sorghum. Many old varieties have been brought together for this mix. Apache Red, Texas Black Amber, Tennessee Red, Nicarquan Broom, Iowa Red, Hadley Kidd, Moyer Sonnen etc. As the seed heads mature, the color deepens and the seeds become heavier and shiny. Nice for floral or broom use! 100 days
- Northern Extra Super Sweet F1 – At the request of gardeners who have always appreciated a very sweet corn variety, grow-able in colder areas. Cobs offered are 8″ long with 20-22 rows. Isolation is required, within growing year! Pollen from your summer crop of OTHER corns (grown within proximity) Is known for its smaller 5 ft tall plants, excellent for smaller gardens. 62-70 days
- Nothstine Dent – A heirloom bearing from 6 to 8″ long cobs on 6-7 ft. stalks. Cobs carry 12 to 14 rows. Kernels are glossy deep yellow, large and flattish. Known to mature early in Northern climates. Has distinction for the tastiest yellow cornmeal around. 100 days
- Morado Maize – a deep purple/black beauty large cobbed beauty! Grew this one out to an amazing 11 1/2 ft high! (See photos on FB.) Appears it might need a longer cool fall. Will certainly try it again next year. Only will start it inside a month sooner to get a jump on things. Certainly appears very interesting and want to have this novelty succeed here, if possible.
- Oaxacan Green Dent – Open pollinated Ornamental. Originally from Southern Mexico. One of the most beautiful emerald green corn varieties I have ever seen. Just love running the beautiful kernels in my hand. Stalks can grow from 5 to 6 feet. One to two ears, 4″ to 8″ long, are produced. Known for its excellent cornmeal. (Might produce the odd yellow cob…) 95 to 110 days
- Orchard Baby Sweet – The origins of this variety comes from N. A…mainly from North Dakota tribes of the Northern Great Plains. Bred by (A Canadian!) Mr. Orchard and introduced into the seed trade by the Oscar Will Seed Co. ( in their 1947 seed catalog) over 60 years ago. They continued to offer this great variety until 1959, when they went out of business. A very dwarf variety of sweet corn, well adapted to small gardens. The stalks grow from 3 to 4 feet tall and produce golden tasty cobs which are 4” to 6” long. The corn flavor is delicious – tender, not starchy, but with just the right amount of sweetness. A rare variety for northern gardeners. Very early @ 60 days.
- Painted Mountain – ? Was developed in the mountains of Montana. An excellent variety for roasting, hominy grits, and grinding into a nutritious flour. Fresh eating (if caught early…) is great, too! Offers 7” narrow long cobs in a range of color, each bearing their own color signature. Plants grow only to 4 feet! Therefore, it is quite early. Will tolerate poor soils, extreme weather conditions and is hardy thru it all. Perfect also for home decorations when dry. Seems to be one of the most genetically diverse corn var. available. 80 days
- Pickaninny – Introduced by Central Experimental Farms in Ottawa. (pre…1922) According to a 1932 catalog, “stalks produce 2+ ears of marketable size. For such quality, ranks with Golden Bantam and should be of great value”. Another states “earliest of all sweet corns”…(1947 Pike Seed Catalog) Kernels are white when ready to eat as sweet corn and then change to a bluish purple color when fully ripe! Don’t expect this 1922 variety to taste like our overly sugary 20th century types! Very productive, early and good home-grown eating. 65-75 days
- Pink Beauty Popcorn – Wow! What a pretty variety, even just to hold and look at. Grew some out this past summer. Found it to finish nicely before cooler fall weather set in. Stalks were 5-6 feet tall, with 2 cobs each. Excellent variety in the “novelty” department. Offered to my by a fellow “young” gardener, Kylie Marie in B.C. According to her: Was grown in 2005 in Southern Ontario by Wayne Kuntz (Seeds of Diversity member…) Kylie used to work with him at a G.H. She feels he may have obtained the original seed from “Sands Hill Preservation Center” in Iowa. Thank you! 95-100 days
- Popcorn (Mandy’s) since 1989– Plant in blocks of short rows, so plants pollinate each other better. Keep away from sweet varieties as they will cross contaminate immediately and reduce your “popping” ability. When stalks are dry, store for 3 weeks then shell kernels off cobs and keep for 2 weeks before using. Plants will grow to 6 ft+ and produce several cobs per stalk. Because of its late maturing nature it may not posse a threat to your other sweet corn varieties. 85 days
- Red Indian Posole Heirloom – Will discontinue…just selling off my inventory.
- Rainbow Sweet Inca – Beautiful multi-colored large kernels found in the typical wrinkled fashion. Developed by none other than Dr. Alan Kapular. Wow…more real tall stalks with clean green stems. Not as tolerant as some others of drought conditions. Produced cobs later in the season, barely finishing before frost, just barely. Will consider starting these earlier as the Hopi Pink…next time. Cobs were slender, with stalk offering one per.
- Robinson – Was given this variety by a gardener friend. Plants will reach about 7 feet and its cobs will be large with yellow kernels. Can hardly wait to see this one next year, to find out why he liked it so much!
- Seneca Blue Bear Dance – Heirloom flint variety from a Native American woman in New York. Beautiful multi-colored ears…..blue, white and lavender. Ears are 6” long. The flour from this corn variety makes good breads and tortillas. ? days
- Seneca Chief (M’s) – I have finally found it (by request of a gardener…) I also remember my Dad mentioning growing this one in their garden years ago and just loved it! Grew it out this summer and it performed exactly as my parents remembered it. Very healthy stalks were from 5.5 to 6 ft. tall, bearing from one to two cobs. Robust cobs had slimmer cores than I used to, with 14 to 16 rows, in 10-12″ lengths. Taste was not too sweet, with good “corn” flavor. Kernels were pale yellow and quite tender too. Research tells me for the most part, it is a hybrid, yet stories persist it might be a heirloom. I have decided to “de-hybridize” it (knowing full well that this variety might never be found again…) and proceed to re-select and improve, to keep its great qualities as true as possible. Have found 2 distinct lines. #1) moderately long but very thick around. #2) is very long/slender, but fills real well. Please ask for which one you wish to pursue….or you might want to try both.
- Simonet Sweet – this is Jim T.’s main sweet corn crop. The most popular of all. Developed by Robert Simonet of Edmonton, Alberta in 1920. Plants will grow only to 5 ft. Chubby 6″ ears offer 8-14 rows combined with excellent flavor. For a sweetcorn, it showed exceptional resistance to rotting in cold wet soils! Tassels & silks are either blond or red, setting its ears very close to the ground. Stalks have 2 cobs per. In the Prairies, these are usually harvested at the beginning of August. 60-65 days
- Stowell’s Evergreen – Originally bred by Nathaniel Stowell (Newman) of Burlington, NJ, who was born May 16, 1793 of Mass. Stowell, a farmer, developed and refined this sweet white corn strain from a cross of “Menomony Soft Corn” and “Northern Sugar Corn“. In 1848, he sold just 2 ears of seed corn for $4.00 to a “friend”, who agreed to use it only for his private use. His “friend” then turned around and sold the seed for a whopping $20,000 to the Thoburn Seed Co. They offered it to gardeners in 1855 and later introduced it into the commercial seed trade in 1856. Now…150 years later…it is still the leading variety for all home gardeners. Cobs are 8” to 9” long with 16 to 20 rows of kernels. Cobs can be 1 to 2 per stalk. Holds sweetness well. The “King of All Sweet White Corn Varieties”… “Stowell’s Evergreen” matures slowly over a long period, extending the usual harvest time-frame. Have heard that if you tied or folded over the bottom end of the stalk and hung it up, the cobs will remain sweet and juicy in cool storage long past the final frost period. Here is the “other” walking tall corn variety, reaching 9 to 12 feet. Grow-outs in 2016, produced stalks that were easily 9-10 ft high! 90 to 100 days.
- Strawberry Popcorn – Heirloom variety of 100 days. Small red burgundy-colored and strawberry-shaped oval ears. Great for popping and gorgeous for fall decorations. Plants grow from 5 to 6 feet tall with 2 to 4 ears per stalk. Each cob can be 2” to 4” long. ? days
- Tom Thumb Popcorn – Selected from a New Hampshire heirloom. For those interested, there are other veggies in the “Tom Thumb” series. (Lettuce, Peas and now Corn) A nice yellow mini-ornamental for table decorations. Refined from a genuine heirloom by the late Prof. E. M. Meader, of the University of New Hampshire & Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Plants are dwarf…< 2 ft. tall, bearing 1 to 2 cobs, each cob growing to 3” long. Kernels are gold in color and not hull-less. Can be grown in narrow 12” rows or sow 2x’s as thick as normal corn varieties. This one pops well, but is not as light and tender as some other varieties. One of my favorites! I just love watching this one develop. (…for the kid in all of us!) Matures very early @ 45-50 days. Pkt…$3.00
- True Platinum White – Here is a white kernel variety with purple husks…wow! Grew it out this summer and was amazed at the deep red stalks, green leaves and once again purple/reddish coverings on its cobs. Inside the cobs were quite white…a sharp contrast! Dared to taste and it was modestly sweet with great corn flavor. Finished mid to late season.
- Whipples White – Pre- 1919. Said to be recorded in the “Corns of New York History“. I love this variety’s name! Another white corn variety very well known for its tender sweet kernels. For the most part, stalks ranged from 4 to 6 ft. having 2 cobs per. Bearing a massive 12 to 14 rows and only reaching 5 – 6” long. Chubby! 80 days approx. Pkt…$3.00
- Yukon Supreme – Wow! A cutie, growing only to 4 feet tall by us. (….others have recorded stalk heights of 5 ft. with 2 cobs on each…5″- 6″ long ) The shortest season sweet corn one can find. Kernels were deep gold, offering great “corn” flavor. Cobs (by me) were short…about 3 to 5″ long with 8 rows each. Diameter of the cobs were quite wide, for a variety so short. 45 – 55 days!