Broom Corn Mixed Colors (Corn/O/P/ornamental)
Latin Name: Sorghum bicolor
Item #: 391B
BROOM CORN - Corn/Sorghum
Approx. 23,000 seeds per lb/454 g
Broom Corn is really a special strain of sorghum which is related to both field and sweet corn through it's ancestry with the grass family. An upright plume of seed bearing straws grow at the tip of each stalk instead of an ear of corn. Each plume is a large cluster of individual straws, which are joined together where each cluster meets the stalk. The best broom material should be harvested before the seeds of these plumes have ripened completely. When the length of each group of clusters and plumes reach 20 in/50 cm just before the plume sets seed) bend the tops of the plants over gently in a graceful arc and the heavy plumes will continue to hang down naturally until harvest. Pendant plumes make excellent brooms. If tassels or plumes are left upright too long they will dry up on the plant. This causes the broom straws to splay rather than twist into an effective swirl which is the key to this ancient product's excellent performance.
CULTURE: Seeds are larger than spinach or beets, similar in shape. Sow outdoors from May 15th - June 5th. Space rows 3 ft/91 cm apart. Space seeds 2 in/6 cm apart. Plant seed 1 in/3 cm deep. Thin plants 6 in/15 cm apart. Closer plant stands will blow over easily because the plants are shallow rooted and top heavy. Fertilize plants when they are 12-15 in/20-38 cm high with any high nitrogen side dress fertilizer for better plants. Shape tassels (see above) about mid August, harvest in early Sept. before seed set matures. Cut the tassels off at the base of each straw cluster and hang the bundles of plumes in a well vented place to cure for 3 weeks before assembling brooms. Use a comb or a hand-saw against the edge of an old bench. Place the individual straws between the teeth and flat wood surface to strip the seeds from the plumes. Soak 2 bundles per broom in water for a few minutes for easier handling. Bind bundles to a handle with leather or rope plus 2 nails. Broom corn also makes attractive wreaths. This species is not bothered by any serious diseases or insects. Broom corn is sensitive to most herbicides except atrazine.