Black Hungarian Sorghum (Broomcorn)
(Sorghum vulgare var. technicum)
Our seed stock was originally from Seed Savers Exchange. This sorghum is a broomcorn type of historical importance. It is early maturing and considered difficult to thresh.
Broomcorn is used for making brooms and whiskbrooms. It differs from other sorghums in that it produces heads with fibrous seed branches that may be as much as 36 in. long.
People have been making their brooms from broomcorn since the Dark Ages. The history is described here. According to that document, here are the harvesting requirements:
"Broomcorn brush turns from pale yellow to light green before maturity. It should be harvested when the entire brush is green from the tip down to the base of the peduncle. The fibers will be weak at the bottom if they are harvested while the lower ends are still yellow. The brush often begins to redden and become less flexible about 4 or 5 days after the proper stage for harvesting.
Tall standard broomcorn is "tabled" to allow some drying before it is removed from the field. The tabler walks backward between two rows and breaks the stalks diagonally across each other to form a "table" out of the two rows that is 2 to 3 ft high. The brush is then cut, pulled out of the boot, or leaf sheath, and placed on the "table" to dry for a short time (less than 24 hours). The brush is transferred to a curing shed.
The heads of dwarf varieties are jerked or pulled from the stalks and allowed to dry for a day in bunches on the ground or between the stalks before they are hauled from the field.
Broomcorn may be threshed either before or after curing. However, threshing before curing results in better quality brush because the fine branches are less likely to be knocked off when the brush is still moist and flexible."
Here would be the appropriate class to take from Tillers International on how to use the broomcorn to create your own brooms.
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