Corn Transplants
Floriani Red Flint Corn

Corn Transplants

Corn plants grown for transplant in the greenhouse directly in the ground.
Corn plants grown for transplant in the greenhouse.

To fill in any gaps in our direct seeded corn rows, we started corn plants in the greenhouse for transplanting. We sowed seed thickly – maybe a 3 inch spacing – directly into the soil in the greenhouse! No black plastic trays, no fuss. A little bit of extra time to dig them out with a handy spatula. We carefully place them roots down into a five-gallon bucket with an inch or so of water in the bottom for transport to the field.

We love using less plastic – those trays do break down over time. I saw people in France using this method with a variety of vegetables. With lettuce and cabbage, they simply sowed a tightly spaced “nursery bed” outdoors and covered it with a portable wooden cold frame. I don’t think I’d try this with anything with tender roots, like melons, cucumbers, or beans, although corn itself is often grouped with these as being harder to transplant.

Florian Red Flint Corn
Florian Red Flint Corn

These plants are the variety Floriani Red Flint, which is not a sweet corn for eating off the cob but is grown instead for drying and grinding into cornmeal. We’re growing it to sell for seed, but we like growing it because we love eating it. We grind it with our hand cranked Corona grain mill. We like eating it as grits for breakfast, but the variety was bred in Italy for making polenta. The kernels are deep red, but it’s actually only the husk that’s red: inside the kernels are yellow, so after grinding all that’s left of the color is flecks.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. this corn is such a great colour….tasty too…see you soon….Kate

  2. Bet that makes pretty grits! And–while polenta seems different–I always thought it tasted and looked just like grits. And–before coming south at the age of 18–I’d never heard of grits and thought these southern folk were eating something made of sand, as that’s all we ever connected the word “grits” with…wanted to grow corn on my tiny homestead, in a microclimate on the s.w. side that has a large amount of sand just under the topsoil…think the corn would do okay in such soil? What could I add this year that might make the soil more hospitable for growing corn??? Thanks for Acorn letters, read every one. Peace, Devon

  3. Hi Devon, I’m sorry to take so long to respond! I wanted to consult with a farmer friend of mine who spent some years dealing with very sandy soils in northern Michigan. In the short term solution you can simply work in lots of compost and, if you’re in a place with dry summers, to irrigate regularly. The long term solution is to use cover crops to build up the organic content of the soil. Clover is a good choice for home gardeners – rye can be a struggle to kill in the spring. I’ve seen demonstrations of how much better soil is able to retain water and hold its structure with only very small increases in organic content. Good luck! Lisa

  4. I wanted so much to grow Floriani but can’t find seeds. ( all sold out ) Can you help? I need enough to plant 300 square feet. Thanks in advance. Dana Jones

  5. Where can I get some Floriana Red Flint Corn ? I ‘v tried 2 or 3 websites and they are all sold out….

  6. Can I get a handful of seeds to grow on my small homestead PLEASE? I have been trying to get some of this heirloom variety for months and they are unavailable.


  7. The entire supply of Floriani Red Flint available in the US is sold out this year. We introduced the seed a couple years ago and are the only ones growing it out. We sold some of last year’s crop to FEDCO up in Maine but they sold out about the same time we did. Check back with Southern Exposure Seed Exchange in December for some of this year’s crop.

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