I really hope you have the space and the will to grow this amazing plant, because I don’t.
All corn is in some ways difficult for the home gardener, because it is so tall and its roots strike deep. It needs significant horizontal space for its leaves to spread out, and needs to be grown in a patch of several, so that it pollinates correctly. It is too big to be grown in the average community garden plot. Maybe you have the land for this.
Because it looks so striking compared to ordinary corn, Glass Gem corn gives me wild dreams of the countryside, of air and light and space, quiet and solitude. My vacation on a farm this summer gave me my first taste of rural life, and it awakened in me longings I never knew I had. Glass Gem brings back memories of grass and goats and trees, feral chickens, sweet air untouched by belching eighteen-wheelers, and dark, quiet nights unbroken by ambulances, fire trucks, car alarms, and rowdy passersby.
I live in the inner city in a brownstone. Here, an apartment advertised as “garden view” is actually a basement apartment whose dreary window is shadowed by the three or four feet of bushes between the building and the iron fence. I am fortunate enough to live above ground level, but as I mentioned, my place is very tiny, a spot in a dovecote. My neighbors and I live so much cheek by jowl that when I get a cold, they stop me in the hall and ask how I’m doing; they’ve heard my coughs.
So Glass Gem corn is an example of something I have no space for. “But you could buy a packet of seeds to look at,” my packratting interlocutor objects. Yes, for a week’s wonderment, and then I would know that year by year, the little sparks of life in those seeds will wink out in the name of novelty, unfulfilled in their silent longing for sun and rain and good soil, while the packet slides down the inside of a box of chowder. Ultimately, my coveting this corn is the same urge that makes toddlers eat colorful detergent packets, and it is no more helpful to combatting my hoarding than the detergent is to an esophagus.
I choose to live in an urban dovecote. The convenience of the location is unparallelled in terms of proximity to work and to conveniences like the post office and the grocery. There is much less to clean. And a small place makes it possible for me to put more in savings and have more disposable income than otherwise.
But there are serious tradeoffs, and one of them is that I have no garden, much less one of a size suitable to grow Glass Gem corn and other wonders. I have to say no to it. I hope you will put it on your list for next spring – please tell me if you do.