Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Update on the Bear Island Flint Corn Agricultural Research Plots

Dolly Potts, Agricultural Research Intern
July 25, 2017

The sixteen plots of Bear Island Flint Corn planted at College of Menominee Nation Sustainable Development Institute are coming along very well. There are over a thousand corn plants currently growing in the plot. The area is a scientific research project to find how and what Traditional Menominee amendments to the soil will affect the yield of the corn. The amendments were discovered in ancient garden plots on the Menominee reservation. The gardens were studied by archeologists exploring the forest sites of Menominee ancestors.

The corn was planted June 2, 2017 with the full moon. A traditional meal was served before planting, a Traditionalist told the “Green Man” story, relating how the Menominee received the gift of corn. It took a weekend of rain and the first sprouts showed. We lovingly called them “babies”. The Sustainable Leadership Cohort (SLC) students took temperature and moisture readings on the plot. We attended a workshop where one of CMN’s English professors presented how to write a scientific research paper. The college mathematician professor analyzed and presented points of the collected data at the workshop. The students use the data collected for a research paper.  The PhD intern from Brown University helped the students to write the scientific research paper. Growing the corn has been a group effort. Rebecca, Adam and I really appreciate the help with our project.

After the Fourth of July break the “babies” turned into “teen-agers” this is the stage the corn is now. We have tassels (when the top of the corn develops) and the next stage is the ears growing. Our first amendments have been applied to the soil on June 23. Another two week round of temperature and moisture testing is being conducted. The second round of amendments will occur in the next two weeks. We have been weeding the corn and nature has taken care of the rest.  

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