Grow Your Own Popcorn

Homegrown popcorn is an easy thing to add to your garden. Grow your own popcorn corn and guarantee a chemical-free crop that tastes great and is great for gifts, too!


| January/February 1979



Ogden Popcorn Corn

Catch a glimpse of our employee garden at MOTHER EARTH NEWS headquarters! In our three sisters garden this year, we grew Pink Popcorn corn seeds from the West Coast Seeds Company.


PHOTO: NATALIE SCHAEFER

"Why buy popcorn," asks Susan Christiansen Feldhake, "when you can grow your own popcorn? Homegrown popcorn has fresher, tastier, healthier poppin' kernels that come from your own backyard or homestead garden!"

Grow Your Own Corn for Popcorn

It'd take a heap of lookin' to find anybody who doesn't like popcorn (which carries the imposing scientific title, Zea mays everta). Whether it's served as a quick snack for drop-in guests, an evening family munch or a low-cost substitute for missed college dorm meals, a freshly popped pan of corn is a treat that nearly everyone enjoys.

And, although most store-bought popcorn is produced in the Corn Belt states of Iowa and Nebraska, one variety or another of this delicious snack will grow in any climate that'll support sweet corn. Homegrown popcorn has a lot of advantages over the commercial brands, too. It'll pop and taste better, for instance, because it's fresh ... and it won't be contaminated with any sprayed "surprises" (which can be comforting knowledge in these days of chemical farming).

Homegrown popcorn does have one drawback, though: Once you've eaten it you'll never again be satisfied with the store-bought product. You'll just have to plant your own plot of corn every year!

Fortunately, changes in available garden space needn't interfere with continued popcorn production, because the grain can be planted most anywhere. For example, a friend of mine grows her corn in among the flowers on the south side of her house. I know another gardener who planted popcorn in his cucumber hills. He was able to pick the ears and leave the row of stalks to serve as a natural trellis for the cukes.

Finding Popcorn Corn Seeds

It can be difficult to find fertile popcorn seeds. If you have a favorite commercial brand, be sure to try a germination test before you go to the trouble and expense of a full planting: Sow a row of about 20 seeds, water it and wait. If most of the corn is up and growin' in a week, you have good seeds. If two weeks pass with little or no growth, you'd better look for another source (many popcorn producers heat-dry the kernels to kill weevil eggs, and this process sometimes hinders germination. Some retail popcorn is just too danged old to grow!).

gill_2
5/5/2009 6:36:14 AM

Old Bay seasoning is a good mixture to season popcorn!






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