My Most Favorite Crop of the Year – Popcorn!

Popcorn. What what.

I want to be clear here. Until this year, I have only had remarkably dismal results growing any kind of corn on my little homestead.  My experience has been akin to repeatedly slamming my head against a brick wall. Over and over again, I’ve planted seeds, watered and nurtured them and then nothing. Certainly not for lack of trying. In my first couple of years, my obstacle was a straight up newbie mistake. I simply planted it in areas that didn’t have enough sunlight.

When we first moved into our home, I knew I was supposed to wait a year and really study my land. I needed to understand where the sun rises and sets, see what existing trees and shrubs cast shade where. Notice where the wind predominantly blows. I knew I was supposed to really observe the growing conditions on my little lot of land.  I understood all of this. But I just couldn’t wait. I had big dreams for my yard. We had been saving and saving and looking for a home we could afford for such a very long time. And now I was finally in it. There was no way I was going to wait to observe how the existing landscape impacts the land.  Blah blah blah.   And loose a whole year of growing food. No way. So, instead that first winter I designed and constructed a beautiful raised bed parterre kitchen garden in basically the most flat area of my yard. And apparently, during that whole construction adventure, I never looked up. Because I built my kitchen garden under a mature oak tree. Magical thinking indeed.  So of course few kitchen crops thrived. I did get lettuces and even occasional tomatoes. But the corn wasn’t knee high by the fourth of July or August or even September. After that first growing season I planted corn in the sunniest bed, they got a bit taller but then the squirrels just used the stalks as jumping poles

Next I found a corn seed that was supposed to be good in containers. So I planted them on my sunny porch in pots. Sunnier and much closer to the house. As long as I watered them twice (sometime three times!) a day they did grow taller and even developed cobs, but once again the squirrels took every last cob, before they were even ripe. So I pretty much gave up on them.

Then this year, because of course it was a new year, and I was going to plant in the front yard which I had never tried before, I was under the spell. Popcorn seeds. How fun would that be.  And go figure, they took off. They developed cobs, that actually matured. They were knee high by Fourth of July.

Photo Aug 12, 6 55 59 AM

 

So, then I had to figure out what to actually do to harvest popcorn. First I needed to let the cobs ripen extra long until they turned brown like this:
Photo Sep 01, 12 29 39 PM

Then they need to really dry out. I tied some together and hung them upside down to dry others I put in a wicker basket.

I didn’t get all of the cobs. Critters got a few.  But surprisingly I did get a lot. I dried them for over a month.

Photo Sep 17, 9 34 22 AM.jpg

Once they were sufficiently dried, took each cob in my right hand and pushed off the corn kernels into a jar.

Photo Oct 17, 11 27 53 AM (1)

And they actually popped. Truly, I’m over the moon about it.  I met another gardener at a party this weekend and he was trying to get his head around why I would grow popcorn when perhaps there was not a huge taste difference between what I grew and what one can buy at the store… He just didn’t get it.  In my tree filled, shady, critter riddled paradise, I grew popcorn.  Time to watch a movie:)

Photo Oct 12, 6 57 10 PM

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