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  • Happy Holidays 2014 December 19, 2014
    I’ve done Christmas theme posts in the past including “In the Wildlife Garden, Naughty or Nice?” (2011), “Revising the 12 Days of Christmas” (2012-NPWG),  “The Color of Christmas in the Garden“ (2013), “A Berry Merry Christmas“ (2010) to name some. In keeping with what has become a tradition of sorts, this year will be no […] We love hearing from you! Please […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Pest Free? December 18, 2014
    Pest free is a very desirable trait in plants according to the nursery trade. I watched a large cockroach race across my counter today and I certainly wanted to be pest free at that moment! Pest is just a derogatory term for bugs, of course, and I don’t feel that all bugs are pests. Do […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful […]
    Ellen Honeycutt
  • Holiday Giving for Wildlife Gardeners December 17, 2014
    As we celebrate the holiday season with family and friends, put up our Christmas trees, bake delicious holiday goodies, and buy presents for our loved ones, I also like to give a little back to wildlife by working to create more wildlife habitats in our gardens and communities. There are many ways you can give a […] We love hearing from you! Please click her […]
    Carole Sevilla Brown
  • Is “Drink Your Tea” in Your Garden? December 16, 2014
    Male Towhee Look low and listen for the rustling of leaves! You will often wonder what animal might be coming your way, especially in the fall when fallen leaves blanket the ground. Be patient and you might see the beautifully marked Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) using its two-footed backward hop to turn over leaves to […] We love hearing from you […]
    Joni James
  • Snuffleupagus: In the Garden Stuck on You December 12, 2014
    The great reptile hunter was at it again.  I saw my dog Chili lying in the grass, alert and stretching out her paw like she was batting at something.  And, of course, she was.  Meet Timmy the turtle (named after a pull toy I owned as a toddler…ahhhh memories!). Timmy is actually a three striped […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the b […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Itzy and Bitzy…New Spiders for Me December 5, 2014
    The Groundsel Bushes (Baccharis spp.) a.k.a. Saltbush have been a-buzz.  By far the most visited of all shrubs in my Florida native plant garden this week.  Various wasps and ants and beetles have been mining the leaves for tasty morsels of the Groundselbush Beetle (Trirhabda bacharidis) larvae and/or aphids or scales. I was surprised that […] We love hearin […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • From the New York Botanical Garden December 4, 2014
    Recently I attended a symposium at the New York Botanical Garden called, The Changing Nature of Nature in Cities. I was especially curious to hear Emma Marris, author of The Rambunctious Garden speak, and I wasn’t disappointed. I promised last month to write about the symposium’s content. Honestly, I’m still digesting the message from the […] We love hearing […]
    Jesse Elwert
  • Virginia Pine December 2, 2014
    The holidays. They’re here. They’ve got me thinking of pine trees, and pinecones. And I’m wishing for snow. I’ve had a tiny bit of snow already, but I’m ready for more. This is Virginia pine, Pinus virginiana. I live in a cabin, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in central Virginia. There are plenty of Virginia pine up […] We love hearing from you! Please click h […]
    Brenda Clements Jones
  • Thanksgiving December 1, 2014
    I hope everyone had a beautiful Thanksgiving weekend with their families. I found these photos in my archives and thought they would be perfect for the season.  I love to do “set-up” shots to highlight seasonal themes . . . colorful gourds being some of my favorite subjects.  My brother built an arbor this year […] We love hearing from you! Please click here […]
    Judy Burris

#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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