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Growing Popcorn

If there’s an inherent addition in my family, it’s popcorn.  Start at the top of the bowl and eat until you hit bottom.  That’s how it goes.  My father went so far as to buy the top of the line popper, special popcorn salt, and yes, even figured out to how keep buttered pop corn fresh until the next morning (hair of the dog).

As part of an effort to grow more compost crops we decided to try growing the family addiction this past spring.  Growing popping corn, as it turns out, is pretty darned easy.  Here’s what we did:


We started seeds in redwood flats and transplanted them out into the garden when they were a couple inches tall.  We planted them in the Grow BioIntensive method of hexagonal plantings and were able to get 15 plants in 15 square feet.  You have to plant corn in a block in order to assure it will pollinate (it does so via the wind) – at least 3 rows by 3 rows (more is even better).  Our block was 4 x 4 with one unusable corner.


As the plants grew, we layered on organic matter (corn is a heavy feeder and needs plenty of nutrients to grow).  Drip irrigation delivered slow and stead water to the roots without any evaporation.


Once the plants towered overhead, we noticed bright crimson silks on the stalks.  Each silk strand is attached to a kernel of corn, and each is pollinated by the wind as it blows the pollen off the tassels on top of the plant.


As the plant matures the tassels and silks dry out, leaving ears of corn ready for consumption.  At this point, all we had to do was wait for the popping corn to dry out.

To be continued… (Learn how to harvest here)

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