List of Monumental sculpture projects 2015

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Wednesday, 1 April 2015

好奇藝術 Kunstkammer 20 : gem corn experiment

好奇藝術 Kunstkammer 20 : gem corn experiment

Grow a real batch of colorful gem corn.
To experience and carryon the natural mix of colors via genetic science of corn by artist-scientist-farmer Mr. Carl Barnes.

Sample result as shown online:

and more pictures

Research on Corn growing in a shopping bag
growing corn in a walmart bag

Day 1 of Gem corn experiment:

April 1st
Day 1: (4 hrs )
Planting gem corn in DIY seedling pods 

 seed in pod

 pod filled up with 1 inch soil

seeds in pod in green house

DIY seedling pods 
One tissue roll tube makes 2 seedling pods. Plant one grain per pod.  When seedling grows up, plant the whole pod into ground/ large flower pot/ large shopping bag.

Clean fluffy soil + scissors, spade

Some delicious black pearl corn, yellow and black pearl corn and colorful multicolor corn  seeds from Taiwan and HK (Beijing) : 
black pearl, yellow + black pearl, multicolor corn

More practical experiences from gardeners of sweet corn:

Re: Should I pre-soak my corn seed?   
Ans: You don't pre-soak corn seed, plant in rows, 3-4 seeds per spot,about 1 to 2 inches deep,of freshly tilled dirt,after it comes up 6 inches or so,thin to no more than 3 stalks per spot,[don't want to use the word hill here,cause you don't plant corn in hills],,plant at least at least four rows for pollination, after covering, lightly scatter 10-10-10 fertilizer on top of rows, [lightly scatter], you don't need to water when planting either,[unless you are living in very dry place], in my area, I never water it period, always have pretty good crop, peaches and cream,[a bi color],does real well, planted my corn about 3 weeks ago,,its already up, we freeze most of ours on the ear, just prepare it like you would for boiling and eating, than parboil it maybe a min. to kill bacteria, cool it good, than put in good frezzer bags and into good frezzer, will keep for over a year, and taste about as good as fresh... thingy 
Ans: --- you could also do like the Indians did eons ago and place a dead fish under each kernel for an outstanding corn crop.
Ans: We wait for the sweet corn to reach 6 inches in height, we then cultivate, thin if necessary, and broadcast clover seed between the small corn plants. As the clover matures it fixes nitrogen in the ground that the corn uses while it matures. It also gets so thick that weeds don't have much of a chance to get established so it's a win/win scenario.

This works best naturally for smaller garden plots, not fields of corn, and it is important to let the corn get established first (minimum height 6") or the clover will overtake the corn plants. 

Soaking your corn seed before sowing will increase the water content in the seed, which will make the seed germinate more quickly once it is planted in the ground. Soaking your corn seed before planting--also known as priming the seed--can decrease the amount of time between planting and harvest. The process is simple and requires little time.

Read more :
Soaking your corn seed before sowing will increase the water content in the seed, which will make the seed germinate more quickly once it is planted in the ground. Soaking your corn seed before planting--also known as priming the seed--can decrease the amount of time between planting and harvest. The process is simple and requires little time. 

Read more :

1// Place your corn seed in a large bowl. 
2//The bowl should be large enough to hold the seed you are priming with an inch of water standing on top of it.
3//Fill your bowl with warm water. 
The water should be at least an inch deep above the seed you are soaking. 
4//Let the seeds set overnight, no longer than 12 hours
5//Drain the water from the seeds using a colander.
6//Dry the seed on a paper towel or dishtowel. 
7//Sow the seed. It's important that this be done the day after the corn seed was soaked. 
If you wait longer, the seed may start to germinate, which shouldn't occur until the seed is in the ground

18April 2015

Progress of gem corn
5 sprouts out of 54 seeds in first batch.  Begun on 1st April 2015
Second batch of 46 seeds has no sign of life yet.  Begun on 7th April 2015

Photos below:

28 April 2015
 transferred into white mesh bags, 5 seedlings 

2nd May 2015 
One new seedling came up! 
5 from first batch, and 1 from second batch. 
Total : 6 out of 100

31July 2015
altogether 13 germinated.
8 plants grew up.
1 large plant got broken by unknown event?  it is now sitting in a glass vase, and roots continue to grow, but would it have tassels and cob?  Wait and see.

fresh pollen is only viable for 20mn after it leaves the pods (anther)

5.2 Pollen Viability. The life of a pollen grain is usually less than 20 minutes after it leaves the anther. It is less than that in hot dry weather and much more than that in cool humid weather. (Ways to considerably extend pollen viability are known but the author has not found them to be reliable. They require special knowledge and handling.) There is little hope for fertilization if the temperature goes much above 95oF (35oC) during the shedding period or several hours thereafter. Conversely pollen may appear to be normal but will not grow on the silks unless the temperature during pollination and some hours thereafter goes above 55oF (13oC). Pollen is especially sensitive to drying conditions. Any time pollen grains change in color or begin to collapse irreversible degeneration may have already occurred. High humidity has different but equally important consequences. Anthers will not open in high humidity thereby trapping the pollen within. While this does not kill the pollen immediately it does pose mechanical difficulties in spreading pollen, and causes premature loss of viability. Moisture on silks, in bags or other containers for carrying pollen will cause immediate loss of viability. Pollen is promptly killed when immersed in water and most other liquids. Known exceptions are paraffin oil and properly buffered aqueous solutions. See Poehlman & Sleper (1995) for additional information on pollination practices.

Gem Corn update, 5 Aug 2015

August 16th 2015

Sept 1st 2015

It rained and was v hot yesterday, and this morning! poof!  this happened!
This is "corn truffle", "smut corn" a fungus grown on the corn.
Mexicans use it as a delicacy, put them in cans, put them in pita bread.
Americans get rid of it.
Chinese corn grower does not consider it a "delicacy". Or i have not seen any mention of it yet.

Sept 3rd 2015
> hand pollination, opening bags to collect pollen and paint them on cut silk ends

Gem corn growing fine, fatter day by day

Pot #1 on left : tall corn, but no silks visible inside the cobs
Pot #2 middle : first mature cob, several cobs
Pot #3 right : each plant has several side branches, they all have cobs.  
The Huitlacoche happened on one of the main branch and side branch.

Mexican Truffles
Corn Truffles. Corn Smut. Raven Scat. Ustilago maydis gets more unappetizing the further one goes down its list of names. The Aztecs called it huitlacoche.  The Mexicans call it a delicacy.

Final Output:

I have dried all the gem corns, and removed the kernels.

Just curious, i packed them into 50 seeds per pack, separating into 
1//extra large, 
3//small and 
4//bonsai tiny.

All the grains are plump and full, unlike the flat seeds that i had received.

Now, how many packs i have?  30 x 50 seeds / pack = 1500 seeds!

imagine the results from 100 seeds where only 13 germinated, and 8 plants made it to the end!
if all worked, imagine the amt of food thats available.

if grown properly, its a good return for the work.

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