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Brooms and Broomcorn Aren't Just for Witches Anymore!

Updated on December 20, 2014
Broomcorn, not corn!
Broomcorn, not corn! | Source

Why Make Your Own?

Broomcorn will grow anywhere that you can grow corn, and broom making used to be a lot more extensive than in just the Midwest, southern states, and Mexico, due to those darn synthetics. The beauty of making brooms is that a lot of expensive equipment is not required. Real broomcorn straw makes a lot better broom than synthetics, any day of the week. As a matter of fact, you could grown enough broomcorn on a measly acre of land to make a thousand brooms, but broom making is a lot of work. You won’t get rich from it, either, but many of us could care less about wealth.

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Varieties and Ideal Climate

Broomcorn is grown for its stiff branched and elongated tops for both brushes and brooms. It ranges in height from two to five feet. A number of places sell these wonderful seeds and will help to get you going on your wonderful adventure on growing broomcorn.

Broomcorn grows anywhere that corn will.

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Planting

Plant the seeds four inches apart in rows thirty inches apart, an inch and a half deep. The seeds are small, so thin after the plants come up. Then thin again to about ten inches apart. A ten foot row will give you enough tassle to make one or two brooms. Weed and water just like corn.

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Harvesting

By late summer, the plants will be at the late bloom stage. Before the seeds have fully developed and while still green, bend the stalks down two to three feet below the top tassel. Let them dry, still attached in the garden for several days. Then cut off the top plus six inches of stalk below. You can wait until the tassels turn red or yellow, but the finished brooms won’t be as strong. If you want to display a broom, then wait for the colors. Pull off the leaves and spread out the straw on a clean surface in the sun to dry for three weeks before you make a broom. Bring in at night to protect from morning dew or if rain is expected. The straw is dry enough when the tassels spring back after they are gently bent.

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Saving Seeds for Next Year

The seeds must be ripe, so leave a plant in the field and it will complete its maturation process. The brush turns yellow and you’ll see the seeds in clusters that look just like corn tassels at the tip of the stem. Cut and thresh the seeds by scraping them out. If you don’t want to plant again, save for birdseed.

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Broom Making

The easiest to fashion will be the round fireplace brooms, or the witch transportation. Simply comb the seeds from the tassels, and allow four to eight inches of stem plus the tassel. Trim all your stems to that length. Trim away part of the stalk on one side, which will make a thinner neck to bind. Insides will be the short straws and hurls are the long straws. A broom with all hurl straw is the best, but you can make good brooms with insides slipped inside the hurl and not waste any straw. Fashion your broom handles from straight young wood and cut four to five foot lengths.

Soak tassels in boiling water to soften. Remove them while still hot and wet, and bind tightly with twine or wire around the end of the broom handle. Put in two nails, bend them over, tie twine to the lower nail, wrap it around stalks, and then fasten at the higher nail. When you get proficient at doing this, remove the nails for the finished broom. Make one or two tiers of bound on tassels, and if you use two tiers, one will go on lower than the other. Finally, evenly trim the sweeping bottom straws. As they dry, they will shrink tightly around the handle.

And there you have it. All the information that you need to make yourself some brooms. Now, go to it!

© 2012 Deb Hirt

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    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, Moeisha, these are all wonderful areas, but Sunday truly IS a day of rest for the Amish. They are remarkable people. Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      Moeisha 2 years ago

      We were just past Intercourse, Pennsylvania, on Route 340, exploring Amish contruy when we saw one of the stands in this article. There was no town nearby, just a sign at the end of a farm lane. Unfortunately, it was a Sunday and it turns out that all Amish businesses are closed on Sundays, even farm stands!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Mycee! I'm glad that you enjoyed the material. I know a little more about certain things along this same line, which I hope to write about, too. I'm sure you'll like this other self-sustaining material. As usual, it is great to see you and thanks so much for your continual support.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Bravo bravo!!! I love this hub Deb :) The title is very unique and catchy, tempting readers to take a peak. We don't have broomcorns here (or do we? but haven't seen it? hehe) but i love the plant.Amazing!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, bdegiulio! There are so many things that you can do with natural materials.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, the lyricwriter. Nice to see you again.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Highland Terrier. I will try to find other interesting things, too, to keep the interest piqued.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Shingirisheyes, I am full of it all right, sometimes!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Cyndy! Well, you know how it is: great minds think alike!(smile)

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, Mhatter! Now you can grow all you like...

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Mama Kim. It sure is pretty interesting to find out how to make them, which is why I wanted to share.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      How long did it last, or are you still using it? Just curious about the longevity.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Deb. How interesting. Had never herd of broomcorn before? But I have wondered how those brooms were made. Now I know. Thanks for sharing , I found this very interesting.

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 4 years ago from West Virginia

      Very interesting article. Never would have thought of using these, even for Halloween. There are actually many different things that you could do with them. They would be perfect for the fall, autumn time. Even a broom? Real ones or even a decoration. Clever my friend and a job well done on this useful article. Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting. Shared also.

    • Highland Terrier profile image

      Highland Terrier 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Never actually thought about brooms. Would have said you get them in the hardware store. So interesting and informative.

      Nice.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      These are beautiful. I would use them for decoration though. They are too nice to use. I would hang them on a wall, beside the fireplace or on a door.

      You are full of creativity.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      WHOA! This is TOO COOL!! I had no idea that you could do this! It totally makes sense, and I've always wondered if you could make your own broom. Yes, I've actually wondered how to do it. You answered my question and then some! This is too cool! Votes, shares and tweets for this one!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Did I just read an article about growing a broom? :))

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 4 years ago

      How interesting! I never thought to make my own broom! Wonderful hub and unique too! Voting this a bunch and sharing!

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      Jeannie Dibble 4 years ago

      The only place I"ve seen these brooms made is in Branson...I bought one years ago...great article...

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