Saturday, November 19, 2011

Broom Corn...more than just making brooms...

This year was our first time to plant broom corn...the seeds are very tiny compared to planting regular corn on the cob type corn.  The original reason is Brian wanted to learn how to make brooms the old fashioned way.  Here I was thinking it might grow 5 or 6 foot tall, look like a regular corn plant, you pluck the tops off and tie them off to make a broom.  Wala - sounds easy, eh?

Here are a few facts about broom corn:
1. Broom corn belongs to the Sorghum family.  
2. Orally, broom corn is used for digestive disorders (I have not personally tried this yet, and I am only passing on information I have found)
3. In foods, broom corn is used for a cereal grain.
4. The plants grow from 2 ft to 10 ft in height.  We did not end up with any corn that was close to the 2 ft mark.  It was all at least 10 ft tall, and there were a couple of plants that were taller than that!  One other site I found said they grow 6 ft to 15 ft that is more like it!

5. (I thought this one was funny!) Phrases: “Flying off the Handle” …. A phrase for anger. Children playing indoors and with a stern “Go outside!” Ma would chase the children out of the cabin with her broom. Swish goes the broom and the straw portion of the broom sails off across the room.

6. Flat sewn brooms sweep a rough surface thoroughly well while a round sewn broom sweeps a smooth surface more thoroughly.
7. Brooms with untrimmed straw are softer.  They sweep without as much dust which make them better for people with allergies.

8. Normal broomcorn yields range from 300 to 600 lb/acre, or enough to make 150 to 350 brooms per acre.  (I have found other yield information that isn't so good...either way, I don't foresee us planting an acre of broomcorn)

These are just a few things I have found about broom corn.  Now, what I do know for a fact is this stuff is fun to grow, it is hardy, and for you horse people out there looking for the bamboo pole or stick, the stems of this stuff are perfect for it!  It will also make great Fall decorations.  If you have a fence you want to block off from view, plant this stuff.  It is attractive and a great 'fence'.  

Brian is checking out his corn crop....

 It grows tall and skinny...

 Brian is proud of his crop...this is before the tops popped out.

After the tops bloom, it grows more seed.  If you look close you can see the little red stuff on the ends of the brushy part...that is seed.  We used a curry comb to brush some off.

When harvesting the stalks should not be this long, but Brian wanted to have enough of an end on it to tie it, then hang it inside the barn.  When I was reading up on harvesting it talked about laying it flat....I think Brian's version of harvesting is kinda like me following a recipe.  It just isn't going to happen.  We make our own little changes along the way.  I really don't know what we are going to do with this, or if we will get to do brooms this year, but it was fun to grow and the wild birds LOVE it!

 While we were dragging out bundled stalks of broom corn and hanging it, a couple of the horses had to check things out.

 I really do suggest growing this.  It is fun and pretty, plus the birds love it.  I wonder what Brian is going to dabble in next year...never a dull moment around here!  :-)

Until later...Karen and Tripp who says the tips of the newly growing broom corn is YUMMY!  (We will plant it farther away from their fence next year)

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Can't wait to see a pic of the finished product.