THIS IS A COMPOSITE MIX OF 4 STRAINS OF GASPE’
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.
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.