Time to Plant Popcorn!

| 5/31/2012 1:22:29 PM

Tags: popcorn, organic, corn, edible landscape, eat your yard, seed, kids, container gardening, ornamental corn, Nan Chase,

I love popcorn. Or maybe I should say, “I ♥ popcorn.” I’m crazy about this simple, ancient plant, which can add so much to the edible landscape.

First, homegrown popcorn tastes delicious…beyond delicious, with a faint flavor of the earth, nut-like and with a light crunchy texture, as though sunshine got mixed right into the seed. No need for butter, it's that good. (I'll tell you the secret of popping corn on the stove top in just a minute.)

Next, popcorn is easy to grow, and works especially well for those gardeners among us who might not think to put new seeds in as late as May or June. Popcorn -- any corn -- is a grain, and acts like a great big grass, with straight stalks and tough narrow leaves. The seed head produces the kernels we like to eat.

 popcorn husked
I have a tiny yard, and so I decided to give popcorn a try because it is smaller than sweet corn, and as it turned out, less appealing to worms, which munch away from within, and to possums, raccoons and other critters that like to eat corn under the cover of darkness. No, my popcorn last year grew fast to four feet tall and produced several good-size ears on each stalk.

Because popcorn matures in about three months (the range is about 83 days to 102 days, depending on the variety), it gives the edible landscape some vertical "lift" in the later days of summer, when other ornamentals are starting to lose vigor and die back (see my book Eat Your Yard! Edible trees, shrubs, vines, herbs and flowers for your landscape for more ideas ).

Popcorn also works well for container gardening, since it doesn't get out of control; each seed produces only one stalk, so I plant groupings of three to six seeds in various spots around the garden. It looks decorative, not like a row crop.

6/19/2012 2:32:56 PM

One fun way to excite kids about seeds and gardening is to grow a pet TickleMe Plant from seeds and watch in amazement how the leaves come together and the branches droop when Tickled. Just search pet TickleMe Plant or find it here. http://www.ticklemeplant.com

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