I love munching on an enormous bowl of popcorn within the evening. But it’s even better when the popcorn comes from my very own garden! Growing your own popcorn allows you to experience a spread of colors: Dakota Black, Neon Pink, multi-colored Cherokee, or classic yellow Tom Thumb. As you would possibly expect, the flavor of freshly grown popcorn is superior to anything you’d get from a store.
Growing Popcorn Corn
Popcorn should be planted a bit like other sorts of corn. Wait until the soil has warmed to 70 degrees and every one danger of frost has passed, either in spring or very early summer.
Depending on the variability, it can take just 60 days or up to 120 days to mature, so if you reside in a neighborhood with short summers choose a faster-maturing variety like Tom Thumb, and confirm your plant early enough to reap before your first frost.
If you would like to plant before your season normally allows, warm up your soil beforehand by using black plastic mulch, and protect your seedlings with floating row covers until the weather is mild enough for the corn to survive unprotected.
It is best to sow your popcorn seeds directly within the garden as corn doesn’t transplant well.
Test your soil to ascertain if any fertilization is required. Popcorn may be a “heavy feeder” and wishes much nitrogens and other nutrients to thrive.
Spread an in. of compost over the bed and incorporate it with the soil.
Plant the seeds at a 1-inch depth, spaced at every 8 inches both within and in between rows.
Water well, and every week or two later you ought to see sprouts shooting up.
Tips to Growing Great Popcorn
Corn has very shallow roots and wishes good loose soil without rocks or other debris within the way. Pull any weeds before you plant. Once the seeds are within the ground, don’t weed your garden until the corn is several inches tall because the sprouts appear as if grass and you would possibly pull it alongside the weeds!
Corn needs close contact with other corn so as to self-pollinate efficiently and produce good cobs, so it’s best to dedicate a whole bed to your popcorn rather than intercropping them with other veggies. If you simply want to plant a partial bed, do so during a block-arrangement, not in rows, for the simplest pollination.
Keep your corn patch watered and weed-free throughout the season.
Fertilize mid-season with a high nitrogen liquid fertilizer like Peaceful Valley Grow.
When the corn stalks are knee-high, mound up some extra dirt or compost around the base of every stalk to assist stabilize them and to hide any exposed roots.
Harvesting Your Popcorn
Your popcorn is going to be able to harvest when the husks have dried and therefore the kernels are plump, well-colored and glossy.
Remove the husks and dry the cobs fully during a cool, well-ventilated place for a minimum of a month.
Your kernels won’t pop if they’re too moist.
Test if they’re ready by shelling and attempting to pop several kernels; if they don’t pop or if the popped corn is chewy or jagged, try again after several more days of drying.
Remove the kernels from the cobs once they’re fully dry. Our hand corn sheller makes this task easy.
Pick out any pieces of husk or silks from the stored corn kernels – these will burn if it’s included when popping the corn.
Store the kernels in an air-tight container until you’re able to pop them, preferably within the refrigerator to stay them as fresh and bug-free as possible. If stored well, they ought to retain their popping quality for several years.
Popping Your Popcorn
To pop your homegrown popcorn, you’ll use an air popper or pop them on the stovetop. the simplest method for stovetop popping has been thoroughly studied and perfected by America’s Test Kitchen. Here’s how they are doing it:
In a large saucepan, heat 3 Tablespoons of high smoke point oil, like peanut or canola, on medium.
Add only three kernels and canopy.
When the third kernel pops, it’s hot enough to feature the remainder of the popcorn.
Remove the pot from the stove, pour in 1/3 cup of kernels, and canopy again. Wait 30 seconds then return the pot to heat.
Once you hear them start to pop, shake the pot over the warmth, and also crack the lid just a touch, therefore, the steam can escape and not make them soggy – but not enough for a popped kernel to escape!
When the popping slows right down to every 1 or 2 seconds, remove from heat and pour during a bowl.
Ideas on Toppings for Your Popcorn
Butter and salt is usually a crowd-pleaser, but why not try making your own gourmet toppings? Travel the planet in your kitchen: make it Japanese-style with flavorer and crumbled dried seaweed, Hawaiian-style with butter and furikake (a Japanese seasoning) mixed with little rice crackers, or coat half with cheddar powder and a half with caramel then toss them together for Chicago-style popcorn. Drizzle with caramel, dark and chocolate to form zebra popcorn, or try your favorite seasonings from the spice cabinet like cinnamon-sugar, sriracha, flavorer, wasabi, or nutritional yeast. And in fact, there are many delicious recipes online for other goodies you’ll make from popcorn too. Grow your own popcorn to enjoy all year, create your own signature flavor, and grow organic for life!