Corn meal - again!

RosariumRobMarch 8, 2003

Sorry to tire you again about corn meal, but I still have some questions about it!

I now bought a bag of 'pre-cooked corn flour for instant dough'. Good or not?

Anyway, I put some under my roses, together with organic fertilizer and compost activator and then mulched with compost. The corn meal/flour stuff is under the layer of compost. Is this good? Or should I add another layer of corn meal on top of the compost as well? Should I scratch it into the soil or just leave it as a 'blanket'?

Thanks again!


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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

You should be good just the way you are.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2003 at 1:34PM
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Every grocery store in North America carries plain, old, every day cornmeal, which is simply ground up corn, not pre-cooked and not mixed with anything else. Why do some gardeners have such a hard time finding it? Cooks don't seem to have a problem.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2003 at 3:54PM
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Well, I do not live in North America, but in Europe, and our grocery store did not carry any corn meal, only wheat flour. I found some in the cupboard, and it was bought in an Indonesian toko store. Go figure!

Please try to imagine that the product range in your grocery stores and garden centers are very different from those in other countries. For example, you can not buy Sunspray Ultra-Fine, Superthrive or fish emulsion in our garden centers. The last two, I have to order at online 'growshops' that cater primarily to illegal cannabis growers :-)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2003 at 5:15AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Rob, what grains do they feed livestock and chickens there? And a better question is where can you buy that stuff? If you find the place to buy animal feed, you'll probably find a place to buy a ground up corn product. It might be called maize, mais, masa, harina, or hominy so look for variations on those terms.

Some places can get a corn product that has been treated with yeast to ferment and make ethanol for fuel or liquor. I believe it is called distiller's corn in various places. I'm not sure whether it would still work for fungus control but I'm a willing volunteer to try it if I could find it. I would also like to try hominy if I could get a feed-grade price on it locally. I probably haven't been looking in the right places. Hominy is treated with lye supposedly to release the protein in a "better" way.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2003 at 11:24AM
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Rob, I was speaking to those gardeners over here who seem to have such a hard time understanding what cornmeal is and where to find it, as a last resort. In your case, ground maize can be purchased in Europe, although every food store may not have it. I have seen it in France, in any case, so I would expect that it is also available in Holland.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2003 at 12:26PM
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The following link discusses how cornmeal works:

Here is a link that might be useful: How does cornmeal work?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2003 at 12:46PM
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veilchen(5b southern Maine)

I scored at the supermarket and found them discontinuing Goya "coarse ground cornmeal" for 25 cents/2 lb bag! Then I realized what I bought makes a delicious polenta, so we will probably eat half the bags before spring.

Rob, I used to live in Europe and probably wouldn't be able for the life of me to find "cornmeal" in the market. Try finding "polenta" in the Italian section.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2003 at 1:04PM
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I bought the 50# bag of horicultural cornmeal at a nursery. The organic nurseries will have cornmeal and the gluten.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2003 at 9:54PM
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Field, every grocery store in America does not carry plain cornmeal! My husband just came back from the supermarket complaining that he could not find any plain cornmeal at all -- only the self-rising mixes. He wanted it for baking, but I have had the same problem here in Florida. Most stores have one tiny bag of very expensive plain cornmeal, though.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2003 at 11:34PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

With the Hispanic culture in Florida you should be able to find masa harina de maiz in the grocery stores. That's a lot more like flour than regular corn meal but it is a corn products. You also have to watch for tortilla or tamal mixes of that product.

If you don't care about the anti fungal qualities, use wheat flour. You should be able to get 25 pound sacks for about $3 at the grocery store.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2003 at 1:59AM
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Sharon, you should know better than to let your husband go alone to the supermarket for something as complicated as plain cornmeal:-) Go with him next time. I'm sure you'll find some, even though it may indeed be more expensive than you'd like.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2003 at 11:42AM
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Will grits work? ;-)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2003 at 6:31PM
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raincrow135(E. TN z6)

I'm new to this forum and want to thank all of you for your discussions on cornmeal as a fungicide (I was wondering why the health websites recommend it for fungal infections of the skin and nails!). However, I note that some of you mention hominy/polenta/grits. This is corn that has been treated with sodium hydroxide (lye). Offhand, I can't think of a protein that does not denature and lose its biological function under such harsh treatment. Does the zeamatin in lye-treated corn really still retain its anti-fungal action???

    Bookmark   April 17, 2003 at 11:33AM
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Field, he told the truth. I went back to check on him. (Of course.)

Dave, I tried the masa harina. What a mess!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2003 at 6:51PM
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Just look for the cylinder shape container with the Quaker Oats man on it, of course make sure it says corn meal not oat meal.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2003 at 10:12PM
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diggsdrt(z8 nor/cen Cal)

It isn't "lye" that is used to treat corn to make hominy and masarina, but "lime" or calcium carbonate, i.e. ground limestone. Nevertheless, the hard dry corn is boiled in water with the stuff, so I also wonder about it's effectiveness.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2003 at 3:01AM
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mprats(z6NJ Plainfield)

One suggestion for Europeans who cannot find cornmeal is to try polenta flour, it is coarser than cornmeal but basically the same thing, except that perhaps it doesn't work if it is the quick cooking type which has been parboiled.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2003 at 1:51PM
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Corn is not boiled in limestone (calcium carbonate) to make hominy, nor is it boiled in lime, which is calcium oxide (quick lime) or calcium hydroxide (slaked lime). Corn is, indeed, boiled in lye -- all of which was leached from wood ashes in the olden days -- in order to make hominy for grits and other wonderful things.

OTOH, sodium hydroxide, which is made by electrolysis of a sodium chloride (table salt) solution, is caustic soda, not lye. So what is lye? Mostly the alkali, potassium carbonate.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2003 at 2:58PM
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Has anyone read about cornmeal now being touted as a fix for toe nail fungus? I kid you not. I read it in the paper. Some guy heard about it being good for plant funguses so he tried mixing it with water and soaking his feet in it. A few weeks later he noticed his nails were not so off color. Then he started doing the cornmeal every week and after a year or so the fungus was gone. Fess up you guys. Which one of you was it?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2003 at 12:39AM
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When my children had diaper rash, one of my pediatricians recommended corn meal or corn starch after each bath/diaper change. Said to bathe them off, pat dry and apply corn meal or corn starch. Diaper rash is a fungus.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2003 at 11:28PM
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JUST_SOW_n_SEW(zone 5 IL)


    Bookmark   May 8, 2003 at 9:49PM
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I used corn starch on all three of my children's behinds when they were babies to treat diaper rash, the oldest is now 32 youngest 17. Worked better than baby powder and it's much cheaper.

Fungal diseases can be treated with corn meal, people have known that for a long time too. Seems like old-wive's remedies get lost over time, and then rediscovered somehow. I wish I knew all my grandmother knew about treating illnesses naturally. She never even went to a doctor until she was in her 70's, and she lived to age 92.

Yes, this site is very educational and entertaining. I never took a class in chemistry, til I started reading Field's contributions. So, Field, is there a test? Cheryl

    Bookmark   May 9, 2003 at 10:55AM
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Does cornmeal help with thrips?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2003 at 6:29PM
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Cornmeal works really well on small oil spills, really well on toenail fungus, great for diaper rash. Aphids, thrips, blackspot, etc.: No. I used 100 pounds to no avail and have a worse blackspot, thrip, aphid and spider mite problem than I have ever had.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2003 at 2:09AM
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Mercy_Garden(z5 Santa FeNM)

The lime/lye used to treat masa harina de maiz and hominy (what we here call posole) can't be that bad for you--the corn tortillas and posole dish made from it get eaten by the hundreds of pounds by many of us locals here each year, and it has been so since before my ancestors (Europeans) landed. The treatment DOES do something to make the protien more bio-available to the human body. You all will have to school me on what this means in the garden....

    Bookmark   May 20, 2003 at 1:58PM
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luvaduck(z5 Toronto)

My first visit to this part of the gardenweb and I stumble into this quite humorous exchange. Field is on the right track. While corn (maize) is a ubiquitous crop in North America and appears in one form or another in almost every food product, it is not widely grown in Europe for direct human consumption, either as grain, sweet corn or popping corn. In Britain, the word "corn" is used for wheat or grain and the word "maize" is used to mean "corn". Europeans learn British English, hence the confusion. Sometimes these differences in usage are downright funny as well as confusing as in the phrases "knock you up" and "went over a bomb." Welcome to our global village. Cheers Carol

    Bookmark   May 20, 2003 at 3:50PM
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But patricia I bet you don't have toenail fungus or diaper rash.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2003 at 1:37AM
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bsg1(z7 NY)

Hi, reviving a very old, but interesting post. Is corn meal the same as corn glouten (sp?)(that is often used instead of "Preen" to control weeds).


    Bookmark   May 9, 2004 at 10:41PM
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Corn gluten meal is made from one part of corn, not the entire kernel.
It is used as a pre-emergent in late autumn to stop weed seeds from germinating.

By spring time, its pre-emergent abilities are exhausted, & it decomposes into the soil.

(If I understand it correctly!)

    Bookmark   May 12, 2004 at 9:06PM
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Wow what a crazy thread! After living in Texas for ten years I can not imagine a place where cornmeal is not in abundance.I have always cooked with it and sprinkled the ends of bags onto my plants and over the lawn.Also I have used corstarch powder in place of antiperspirant for many years and no I do not smell or get sweaty!lol.
Rosariumrob- out of curiosity how much do you pay for fish emulsion from the grow shop?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2004 at 9:53AM
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Millie_36(Z6b MO)

I remember watching my mother make hominy when I was a kid. Yes, it was lye water, but I thought the whole process was about getting the outer hull off of the dry corn. She would rinse and rinse...then rub the corn between her fingers until she had separated all the hulls. It was then brought to a boil, poured into hot canning jars and processed in a pressure canner. I was very young, so could have missed part of the process. I don't remember boiling in lye water....seems like it was soaked, but could be wrong. I have made soap and know that you have to be careful what kind of container you use with lye.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2004 at 11:16PM
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Fascinating stuff, this thread......... feed your roses cornmeal, and starve a fungus, lol!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2004 at 9:19AM
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I am visiting scotland at the moment and a future husband, i was wondering can i buy cornmeal anywhere in the UK or is there another name it goes under?

Thanks :)

    Bookmark   September 24, 2004 at 5:26AM
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Raymondo(Armidale, NSW)

Resurrecting this thread, again!
In Australia, cornmeal, as described in this thread, is not generally available though polenta is in plentiful supply as is cornflour (cornstarch). As I understand it, polenta may not be a suitable substitute when you want the antifungal properties. In animal feed stores, you can get crushed corn (for feeding chickens and the like) though it is fairly coarse, being just roughly crushed corn. Do you think this would work as a substitute for US cornmeal to make a cornmeal foliar spray? Or should I use cornstarch?
Just what are the anti-fungal properties of cornmeal anyway?

Many thanks,
Raymondo, whose tomatoes are beginning to suffer badly from Early Blight and who doesn't like using Bordeaux mix, despite its acceptability to the Organic creditation boards!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2004 at 7:25AM
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Interesting timing Raymondo. I visited the local livestock feed store in my area this past weekend and picked up a 50# bag of "steam rolled corn" which was the only pure corn product they carried other than whole kernels. Shook it around the various notorious plants (peonies and roses), last weekend. Still waiting to see it break down but it looks like it will soon enough with all our rain.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2004 at 3:53PM
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If it is of any help, I think corn meal (maize) is available in the UK from fishing tackle shops.
It is used to keep maggots fresh and dry!
Often called bran in the shop, but maize meal is the one with a distintive light yellow colour.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2005 at 10:07AM
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decobug(z6a Idaho SW)

This company sells horticultural cornmeal on the web:

Here is a link that might be useful: Another cornmeal post

    Bookmark   March 2, 2005 at 3:16AM
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Try stores that sell organic foods in bulk if you're desperate. You can usually find corn meal of some sort of texture and usually it's slightly cheaper than buying five pound bags in the grocery store.

Sometimes you can also find it in bins at farmer's markets or produce stands.

I finally found some in this zone, but it was a pain. Coming from CA where it's everywhere, was sort of a shock.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 11:10PM
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pdxjules(8, Portland, OR)

I read that Corn Starch can be used on the human face as a treatment for Rosacea. Turns out Rosacea is caused by a fungus that lives on the Skin...that some peope are sensitive to - making them appear red and blotchy. Facial Powders used to be made of CornSilk don't feel weird about trying this.

I don't think I'd try a Foliar Spray however, - as it would probably gum up the Sprayer's works. I'm going out to Sprinkle my roses now...although I am not optimistic, since thy've been hit hard by BS this year.

Thanks for the reminder everyone.

P.S: I bet some guy who reads this Thread will introduce the use for Jock Itch. No need for testimonies.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2006 at 6:39PM
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Field, sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide were both considered lye a couple years ago when I was making soap.
Did I misunderstand something? Just curious. I thought caustic soda was lye. At least Webster and all the soapmakers I know say so. It is made now by running an electric current through brine instead of running water through wood ashes. I am asking to find out if I am thoroughly misunderstooding the whole process which is entirely possible.

Also, Lauriefbq, can cornstarch powder really replace deodorant? That sounds extremely interesting. Can it be pure cornstarch as for cooking or does it have additives to make it a cosmetic type 'powder'? Sounds worth trying, especially if you have been doing it for some time. Hard to argue with success. I have skin problems and I think I'll give this try.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2006 at 11:43AM
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when you put down cornmeal did the birds eat it up right away? that was my experience! or do you think it works enough despite the birds

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 6:01AM
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