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How Much Corn Should a Grits-Eater Grow?
by Steve Moore


Steve Moore is a long-time colleague of Ecology Action. We recently asked him how he plans the amount of corn to plant based on his daily morning bowl of corn mush. This is his answer.

I eat 1 cup (1/2 cup dry corn meal; 120 ml) of corn meal mush or, as we call it in the South, grits. Lately we have lots of greens, so I have been cooking kale, chard and pac choi and have 1/2 cup (120 ml) cooked greens and use the liquid to cook the corn. I get all the “goodies” that way (and save water). I find it fairly tasty. Occasionally I will add 1 oz of cheese and let it melt into the grits. Sometimes a little salsa.

That makes 300 calories and 7 g protein without cheese, and 400 calories and 14 g protein with cheese.

One half cup (120 ml) of dry corn meal is about 77 g, depending on dryness. A 9-inch (23 cm) ear of corn provides about 3 one-cup (240 ml) servings of grits. So if I want 210 breakfasts of grits, I need 70 ears plus a margin for loss/low production and some for seed. I figure about an extra 20%, for a total of 84 ears. With the corn planted on 12-inch (30-cm) spacing, that means approximately 54 sq ft (5 sq m) of bed space.

Grits, however, are not the only thing we use corn for. Cornmeal used as a thickener/extender, corn bread, corn cakes, tortillas and corn chips are also factored in, which adds to the total ears of corn and bed space required. Needless to say, we like to eat corn! Oh, did I forget? I really like to grow corn and work on corn breeding, and I love that carbon!

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