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  • Seed collecting for school gardens October 20, 2014
    If you’re already thinking about next year’s school garden, this is the time to pick up your seeds: they are cheaper now than at pretty much any other time of the year. When I say “pick up” seeds, I mean it literally. Go out to your fading garden and get them. Collecting seeds takes only a […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beauti […]
    Stacey Evers
  • Inviting Dragonflies to Lunch in the Garden October 17, 2014
    I noticed someone enjoying a bit of lunch in the garden recently.  It was an Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly (Erythemis simplicicollis) and based on the coloration, a male. Males become pruinose blue with white claspers and a green face.” More often than not when I come across an Eastern Pondhawk in the garden it is one […] We love hearing from you! Please click […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Desert Ants are Dynamic October 11, 2014
    June was National Pollinator month, and many folks decided to help insect pollinators by planting flowers. Now for some not so popular insects that are also highly beneficial for the garden, but few people welcome them – ants. Indeed, some people are of the belief that the only good ant is a dead ant. While […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to […]
    Jacqueline Soule
  • Strays in the Garden October 10, 2014
    Hear the word stray and most likely you think of a dog or cat running the neighborhood while some irresponsible owner is oblivious to the whereabouts of their pets. My area?  We get a different category of strays.  Next door currently has a stray chicken hanging around.  A couple of weeks ago, a gang of […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • The Baby American Goldfinch in the Garden October 9, 2014
    Recently a fellow writer published a noticeably well researched post about the American Goldfinch. I was surprised to learn from reading this informative piece that this- early fall- is the American Goldfinch’s breeding season, and they only have one brood per year. A couple days later I was working at a clients home and saw […] We love hearing from you! Ple […]
    Jesse Elwert
  • Sassafras October 7, 2014
    You know the question, “If you were a tree, what tree would you be?” My quick answer would be, “A sassafras tree.” I’ve had a cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in Virginia, since 1992. During that time I’ve hiked my mountain up and down, getting to know all the things that grow here. I […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful […]
    Brenda Clements Jones
  • The Lowly Carpet Beetle October 6, 2014
    The scientific name for this tiny insect is the varied carpet beetle (Anthrenus verbasci).  Carpet beetles are pests in the home and in natural history museums.  The adult beetles eat pollen and nectar, but their larvae feed on biological fibers from carpets, clothing, feathers, plus insect and animal collections. Carpet beetle larvae hatch from eggs […] We […]
    Judy Burris
  • Gardening Change of Attitude October 3, 2014
    YIKES!  Another year flew by and this article begins my fifth year as a writer here at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. Four years in the tank…every Friday since October 8, 2010.  Mother Nature has provided so many interesting encounters to share in my  208 articles.  I begin article 209 with how things have molded my gardening […] We love hearing from you! Please […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • In This Fifth Season of Subtle Changes … October 2, 2014
    Autumn is coming. The Cottonwoods will turn bright yellow first, then the willows, and then the Sycamores later.  Even as late as Thanksgiving, Sycamores will turn orange, and their large palm-like leaves will begin their descent to the canyon floor throughout December.  As holiday shoppers woosh along winding canyon roads en route to malls in […] We love he […]
    Kathy Vilim

#GardenChat

P-O-P Corn

The laziest man I ever met

put popcorn in his pancakes

so they would turn over by themselves.

W. C. Fields

Fresh popping corn bought from a local farmer each autumn has become a tradition for our family. Each Thanksgiving Day as we eagerly await the impending feast to be set upon the table, we idle away the time hulling colored popcorn kernels from dried cobs. It’s a chore that takes time and effort, especially because we don’t have the handy gadget that makes quick work of it, but it’s one we enjoy. It’s less like a burden and more like bonding as our family gathers around the popcorn bowl centered on the table; the warm and cozy kitchen permeated by the lingering scent of herbs, turkey and fruit pies.

This season our youngest son chose heirloom popcorn varieties ‘Strawberry’ and ‘Dakota Black’ to try growing in our home garden. Unfortunately the ‘Dakota Black’ was promptly devoured by a young bunny soon after it sprouted, along with our heirloom ‘Jarrahdale Blue’ pumpkin plants. The ‘Strawberry’ popcorn, however, was planted in a border outside of the garden proper, near the heliopsis and pear trees. It was only a small patch, but it did quite well.

Planted as all of our corn is, I left it pretty much alone the entire season. (My benign neglect wasn’t by choice, we had a crazy summer.) Thankfully the weather cooperated in July and August and the gardens had plenty of rain alternating with hot, sunny days as the corn tassled and the ears grew. September brought cooler temperatures and less rain, coaxing the corn stalks to dry a lovely golden brown… a sure sign it’s time to harvest!

After plucking the ears from the plants we peeled the husks back and were delighted to see small cobs of red popcorn shaped very much like large strawberries. After completely removing the husks, it’s necessary to further dry the popcorn while it’s still on the cob. Ours are in mesh bags that are hanging in the garage. It will take several weeks until the kernels are slightly shriveled and can be easily removed from the cob with a little pressure. I’ll pop a few kernels every now as a test until I’m sure they’re ready. To store the kernels, put them in a glass jar (like other seeds) and keep them in the refrigerator.

I don’t think we’ll be storing our small stash of popcorn for long and we’ll definitely be taking another family trip to the farm stand for more… after all it is tradition. Happy gardening!

Kettle Corn

  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 c. popcorn kernels
  • scant cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt

Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot. Add the popcorn kernels and sprinkle the sugar on top. Stir quickly and cover with a heavy lid. As the popcorn pops, shake the pan to keep the sugar from burning onto the bottom. Remove promptly from the heat when the popping stops, after 3-4 minutes. Turn into a bowl and toss gently. Enjoy!

9 comments to P-O-P Corn

  • Love the idea of growing pop corn. I will have to take a look at ordering seeds for next year. Thank you for listing their names! What a wonderful idea and I’m sure my kids would love it as well.

  • Lisa Gustavson

    I love the ‘Strawberry’ variety because the plants are only about 4 1/2′ tall… that makes it easy to tuck in a small patch just about anywhere in our yard! Have fun growing some next season and please let me know how it turns out! :-)

  • The community plot I took over had some popcorn growing in it. I was dubious about how it would taste but it was great. I didn’t have strawberry though, mine was a yellow corn variety. I will try growing again next year for sure.

  • I have never had fresh popping corn (especially the Strawberry variety). Thanks for sharing your insight.

  • Thanks Lisa – that’s awesome! Its never occurred to me to make my own popcorn – I’m going to have to try it out. How does it taste? Is it very different to the kernels we buy in the stores? (I’d imagine so, like everything else we grow of our own). Thanks for brilliant tips!

  • I love popcorn! We have picked it at a local farm fall festival. I know corn can be hard to grow. What size plot did you plant of your strawberry popcorn? Did you get a big yield?

  • I love those adorable little strawberry cobs- totally going to grow those this year!

    Thanks!

  • this is awesome! I love popcorn…and my kids all love kettle corn…I think I will be trying this!
    so glad I found your blog. You are a very sweet person. Bren has told me how kind and talented you are…I hope we can be new friends!

  • Awesome! Just planted and will bookmark this for harvest. Thanks!!!

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