ChiefRMCProject


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Member Since: 05/01/2014



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Re: Special Seed for High-Altitude Gardening

Great post! I'm always looking for a better high altitude tomato.

On the topic of corn...

I know a lot of people only think of sweet corn when corn is mentioned–but sweet corn is a summer vegetable. You can’t sustain your family through the winter on summer veggies, no matter how vitamin-rich and tasty they are.

My family has been working towards total food independence for years and with my dad we have the cumulative experience of decades of trying to grow food in extreme climates. When you are forced to rely on what you grow for your food year round, the bottom line is calories. Farming your food takes a tremendous amount of energy and anything you can do to reduce energy input and increase calorie output MUST be top priority.

“Forget those romantic notions of a nineteenth century life illumined by the cozy glow of the family circle around the fireplace at night. Been there – done that. It’s OK for a time and a season but I don’t want to repeat it unnecessarily as long as I have a choice. You don’t have to spend all your time and energy scrambling in bare subsistence. In that state, you have no time or energy for anything else…” –New Ordnance “The Secret Weapon” (RockyMountainCornDOTcom)

For my family the bottom line is grain, legumes, potatoes and winter squash. Add in carrots and turnips and onions for some variety. Plants that work well for organic farmers and seed growers in Maine are not the best varieties for a high mountain micro-climate in the northern Rocky Mountains. It seems obvious, but we’ve learned the hard way. Buy seed grown in your region or you are courting disaster.

The tried and true garden for my family at 5,000 feet in Montana is (1) Painted Mountain Corn for our grain (Fukushima-free, Non-GMO, non-hybrid, open pollinated, high protein, micro-nutrient, soft starch – go to our website RockyMountainCornDOTcom for more info), (2) Progress #9, Early Frosty, and Dakota shell peas & Black Coco, Golden Rocky Bush Wax, and King of the Early dry beans for our legumes, (3) our own local cross between Squisito spaghetti squash and Eight Ball Zucchini that turns out to be a decent tasting winter squash that keeps well and produces incredibly fast and heavy in a short, harsh summer, and (4) Purple Viking potatoes that produce reliably in spite of late and early frosts and poor, gravely soil and constant high wind.

Augmenting this garden with deer, elk and trout, we are able to have a balanced diet with enough calories to sustain a high level of activity.

For folks who need a little more info on Painted Mountain Corn, what it is, how to grow it, etc. check out RockyMountainCornDOTcom "12 Tips for Planting" and the Crop Reports under "News"

We like Painted Mountain Corn for its nutrition and calorie content, but it sure is the most beautiful thing I have ever grown. Every year for harvest we try to get as many new people and kids involved as possible. Opening the shucks is like revealing a purse full of jewels. I never tire of the looks of amazement on the faces of both children and parents as they discover the joy of growing this crop.

My family and I have been growing Painted Mountain Corn seed for a few years now, always encouraging our customers to save their own seed and develop it for the their micro-climate and share with family and community. But I think whatever we grow this summer, we’re going to keep to feed the family. Find out more at RockyMountainCornDOTcom