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  • Growing Nature Loving Kids April 23, 2014
    Teaching kids to love nature, and providing lots of experiences in nature, whether in your own wildlife garden or by visiting local parks and nature centers is one of the best gifts you can give them. The fact is that we will want to protect what we know, and learning about nature and wildlife from […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all t […]
    Carole Sevilla Brown
  • Seeds Planted by Ants April 22, 2014
      What an amusing thought. Seeds that ants will harvest and then plant. It actually does happen. There are some seeds in our world of Nature that have fleshy parts, called elaiosomes. These elaiosomes are lipid-rich and are very attractive to ants. The ants harvest the seeds, take them to their underground homes and feed the […] We love hearing from you! Ple […]
    Brenda Clements Jones
  • Birds, violets and butterfly eggs April 21, 2014
    Spring has finally arrived here in northern Kentucky.  An exploration of my brother’s yard this Easter weekend revealed all kinds of goodies!  The lovely violets are in full bloom.  We picked, washed and froze some of the flowers in ice-cube trays to use later in glasses of lemonade for a pretty splash of color.  These […] We love hearing from you! Please cl […]
    Judy Burris
  • Springtime is Chicken Run Time April 20, 2014
      Springtime in the sage brush habitat of the North American and Canada’s prairies come alive, after a long winter sleep, to some very serious business. Lekking! Grouse gather on their ancestral lekking grounds to dance the ritual of the eternal spring.  The desire to dance is strong and necessary to the survival of all […] We love hearing from you! Please c […]
    Liz Deluna Gordon
  • Birds Who Tease: Purple Martins April 18, 2014
    Bluebird babies fledged this week from their nest high up in the Purple Martin house. Next day, the Purple Martins (Progne subis) arrived. I guess it was a sublet and the lease was up for the bluebirds. Purple Martins are a picky bunch. They zoom round and round and round some more. They peer into […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all th […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Fireflies in the Garden April 17, 2014
      Fireflies in the Garden, a Poem by Robert Frost Here come real stars to fill the upper skies, And here on earth come emulating flies, That though they never equal stars in size, (And they were never really stars at heart) Achieve at times a very star-like start. Only, of course, they can’t sustain […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all […]
    Kathy Vilim
  • Loblolly Pine Wildlife Value April 16, 2014
    Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) is a native tree of the southeastern United States. Often growing in wet woodlands, Loblolly Pine provides great habitat and value for wildlife. The native range of Pinus taeda covers eastern Texas to northern Florida, and all of the southern coastal states up to Delaware. Pinus taeda Botanical Description Pinus taeda: This tree [ […]
    Carole Sevilla Brown
  • For The Love of a Tree April 12, 2014
      Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.  ~Chinese proverb       You may remember last year I wrote about the plight of our ash trees.   It was just about this time, in early spring, that we were saying goodbye to 4 of our mature ash trees […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful photos and let u […]
    Donna Donabella
  • Squirrelly Squirrels in the Garden April 11, 2014
    Squirrels are a normal occurrence in a great many beautiful wildlife gardens.  Up until this year, suprisingly my yard was not one of them. Perhaps not so surprisingly after all.  When I purchased my plot back in 2006, it was pretty much clear cut sans a smattering of long leaf pine trees.  Squirrel have a […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to s […]
    Loret T. Setters

#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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