Learning about broom corn, from This Site
I'm sure this isn't the sorghum planted around the field last year.
Ranger Mannie Gentile said they plant that because it's deer-resistant.
"Back in the late 1700's, Benjamin Franklin found a small seed on a
whisk broom that a friend had brought him from France for dusting his
beaver hat. Next spring he planted that seed and it grew into a tall corn-
like plant with a flowering brush of stiff fibers bearing seeds."
"Broomcorn is one of the sorghums. Unlike other sorghums which are
grown for grain, for fodder, or for making molasses, broomcorn's only
use is for brooms and brushes. It has been cultivated in Asia and Africa
since ancient times. Broom corn is planted in rows and cultivated like
ordinary field corn."
"One of two principal varieties grown is called 'standard and is usually
10 or 12 feet in height. The "dwarf" variety, grown only in the western
states, is about half as tall. Both kinds bear a brush of a few dozen
fibers up to two feet in length."
"Harvesting the crop and preparing it for the broom maker require a
great deal of hand labor. It is harvested before the seed matures --
before the fiber becomes brittle. First, a man walks backward between
two rows and breaks over the stalks, crisscross, to form what is known
as a "table". Next, each brush is cut off just below the crown and piled
in handfuls on this table. These are hauled to a machine with whirling,
spiked cylinders which knocks off the seed. Then the brush is spread on
racks in a drying shed where, after curing for two or three weeks, it is
compressed into bales weighing 350 to 450 pounds. All this must be
done carefully to yield good, untangled fiber for use in brooms."
G E Mayers wrote:
> It almost "does" look like "food corn"!
> Yr. Obt. Svt.
> G E "Gerry" Mayers
> To Be A Virginian, either by birth, marriage, adoption, or even
> on one's mother's side, is an introduction to any state in the
> Union, a passport to any foreign country, and a benediction from
> the Almighty God. --Anonymous