Gaspe’ Flint Corn Composite


This rare, 8 row flint corn was grown by the Micmac Tribe of the Canadian Maritimes, and along the North Atlantic Shores. Fields of this corn variety were observed by the French explorer, Jacques Cartier in 1534. Named after the Gaspe peninsula of Quebec. The plants are very short, reaching a height of 2 – 2 1/2 foot. I have seen it listed as early maturing in 40-60 days. Mine was harvested as a dry field corn in 70 days. It started to tassle in 30 days after direct seeding. Silks started to form in 38 days!  This is still extremely early. The cobs are small, measuring only 3-4″ long. As of 2018, I had a report from a farmer who grew Gaspe’ in Southern California in late summer. He harvested milk stage ears in 21 days and field dry ears 39 days from planting.

My initial interest in this variety, was my search to find extremely, early maturing  field corn varieties, which would pollinate long before any neighboring, conventional corn goes to tassel. This would help to ensure that there is no chance of genetic contamination from GMO’s or modern hybrids. While Gaspe is not high yielding, it does meet this requirement. I also believe Gaspe offers great potential for future breeding as well.

I obtained my original seed stock from a Canadian farmer in British Columbia. I am lookingIMG_5024 to find additional seed sources in the hope to increase the genetic pool for this variety.

As of 2018, my Gaspe is being grown as a composite of 4 different strains:                        Original strain  BC Canada                                  Abundant Life Seed Foundation Strain          Strain from Vermont                                            WI  Canadian strain from Heritage Harvest.

*This is the second season for growing this composite. I am beginning to see an improvement in the # of larger, well formed ears. I have started the process selection, but I am maintaining a portion of seed from every harvested ear. I believe this is a prudent decision at this point. Expect a lot of variability. 

One final point. I found my strain of Gaspe to have some susceptibility to corn smut. Keep in mind that this occurred during one of the wettest seasons I have ever encountered (spring and early summer of 2015).  This is possibly, in part, due to the fact that the ears form but a few inches off the ground. This also makes them easy prey for squirrels and other critters.


Delicious Polenta!!

Delicious Polenta!!

This entry was posted in Corn, Grains, Heritage and Ancient Grains. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Gaspe’ Flint Corn Composite

  1. Elizabeth Ruppert says:

    How many ears per stalk? I imagine this variety would be excellent for containers.

  2. Elizabeth Ruppert says:

    When will you have more seed to sell?

  3. Very good article piece. I surely appreciate this website. Thanks!

  4. Margaret Slosberg says:

    John, We first heard about Gaspe corn today when we attended a presentation at High Mowing Seeds, Hardwick VT. by Dr.Fred Weisman of the Wobanakik Heritage Center ( He is is working with indigenous tribes in NE America and Canada to promote the preservation of these ancient seed stocks. I found your site while searching for a source of Gaspe corn seeds to grow in my garden next year. Fred mentioned that while this variety is low in production it has the potential of being broadcast to plant larger fields since it requires only about 6″ of spacing and there is the potential of two plantings per season. If you have seeds for 2018 growing season I would appreciate purchasing some. Thanks for your efforts to preserve heritage seeds. Margaret

  5. Ralph Rogosch says:

    I also attended Mr. Wisemans presentation at High Mowing Seeds in Hardwick andI could be interested in some of the bean plant seeds he spoke of. Any ideas where I could get some?

  6. Don Moore says:

    We have cool summers here near Astoria Oregon. I’d like to try the Gaspe corn if you have seed available this November. I grow painted mountain here, but a shorter season, cool weather adapted corn would probably do better.

    • John Sherck says:

      Sorry Don I did not reply sooner. During the summer I do not spend time on the website as I am busy growing the seed crops for the coming season. I had a excellent harvest of Gaspe this season. It will be available on the website around the middle of November.

  7. Mark Jantunen says:

    I grew out gaspe flint from home saved seed and…there was a lot of funky genetics but from 1000 or so plants there were plenty of ‘normal’ seed to start stabilizing the line. Unfortunately I left it 2 weeks late and the raccoons are every kernel. Mother Nature gives you a gift, and if you don’t treat it with respect I suppose she takes it back. Luckily Superior Seed Savers has some that I gave them from the initial grow out, so next year…
    -Mark Jantunen

  8. Sean says:

    I like the idea of planting varieties that flower before all the commercial corns to make seed saving easier. Do you know if a chart exists showing flowering dates for various heirloom corn? Do you bag ears and tassels for any varieties. If so I would like to hear your corn seed saving process.

  9. Karl says:

    Will you have more of this seed available in November? I noticed you said you normally start selling it then. I’m interested in this variety because I live in a very short-season area and also have some Micmac ancestry.

  10. Florence Montague says:

    Hi John,

    I just read your article and am very interested in trying some of your corn gaspe flint seed. I’m interested in trying to grow corn hydroponically in an AeroGarden system and my grow lights height is 36 inches and this corn sounds like it just might work. If I could get seed pricing, I don’t require a lot of seed and the availability.

    Thank you in advance,


Leave a Reply to Ralph Rogosch Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *