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  • Did that Cocoon Just Walk Away? June 19, 2015
    I love when something in my garden is being chewed on.  It means I am providing habitat and food for some species.  Needless to say, I got quite excited when I was down by the gate recently and I spotted a particular Sawtooth Blackberry (Rubus pensilvanicus) plant that looked all lacy. I have hundreds of […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • The Box Turtle In The Garden June 17, 2015
    There is a precious, little animal inside that shell, his head sticking out of the house on his back, like an old man. They come out during wet weather. If it is raining, I can pretty well count on finding one trying to cross the road, no matter where my travels take me. I’ve made […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful photo […]
    Brenda Clements Jones
  • Finding butterflies in my wildlife garden June 16, 2015
    The month of June is already shaping up to be a productive time for the butterflies that are supported by my beautiful wildlife garden.  As I was weeding and watering my veggie garden, a lovely Clouded Sulphur butterfly gracefully glided onto a patch of clover at my feet and deposited a single egg.  I bring […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to […]
    Judy Burris
  • Pollinator Week: More than Bees and Butterflies June 12, 2015
    Next week, June 15-22, 2015 is National Pollinator Week.  As we all know “butterfly gardens” are the rage. Of course everyone will set out to create a garden haven adding nectar and larval host plants to encourage the fluttering beauty of butterflies.  When bees join in the gardeners are thrilled as well, and often they […] We love hearing from you! Please c […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Hop to it in the Garden June 5, 2015
    As springtime turns toward summer things are really starting to hop around here. Literally! Seems that this week I cannot walk a single path in my beautiful wildlife garden without tripping over one of our amphibian friends. Southern Leopard Frogs (Lithobates sphenocephalus) of all shapes and sizes startle me as I peruse the native plant […] We love hearing […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • A Dozen Dragonflies May 29, 2015
    This time of year it is always a playground of critters at my place. Especially noticeable in recent weeks is the return of the numerous species of dragonflies that grace my place. Having a pond is key to encouraging reproducing Odonata. Don’t have room for a pond? As long as there is a similar water […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Bird Population Soaring May 22, 2015
    Spring 2015 is once again proving to be a banner year for bird broods in my beautiful wildlife garden.  Bluebird brood #2 has successfully hatched and 4 healthy mockingbird babies located in a holly shrub not 15 feet away joined them this past week.  It is dizzying watching the two sets of parents feed the […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to s […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Monarda Madness May 21, 2015
    The first Monarda blooms of 2015 opened up this week, kicking off a series of great blooms from now until late summer.  Every year I learn to appreciate this genus of native flowers so much more until I feel that I might just be on the edge of monarda madness because last year I actually […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautifu […]
    Ellen Honeycutt
  • Twinleaf May 19, 2015
      A very early wildflower, Twinleaf, Jeffersonia diphylla, is native to eastern North America. It is a plant that I must remind myself to hunt for, well before I’m used to finding wildflowers blooming. Here in the mountains of central Virginia, that crucial time is late March into early April. Each flower only lasts for a very […] We love hearing from you! P […]
    Brenda Clements Jones

#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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