growing popcorn

peoniesandposiesOctober 28, 2012

Has anyone ever grown their own popcorn? If so, was there any special growing or harvesting instructions you'd like to share. How about the seed variety that you used? I'd like to grow some next year.

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I tried it a few years ago now, and my results weren't all that great. I just used whatever seed they had at the local feed & seed store. The seed was good. I got decent ears. 4 to 6 inches long, yellow, 1.5 inch diameter or so. But the kernels were small and didn't pop as well as in store bought popcorn. Many of them burnt before they popped. And I use an air popper. I tried popping some directly on the ear in the microwave in a brown paper bag like I read about somewhere and that was terrible.

So I'll be buying it from the store from now on.

Your mileage may vary. Corn is one of those things that I have yet to figure out. This year I had a tremendous crop of Silver Queen I planted in July, absolutely when you're not supposed to plant corn. But it worked. Every other time I've done it in the spring, it didn't. Not as well, anyway. You never know...

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 4:39PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Have you read through the discussions on growing popcorn over on the Vegetable Gardening forum here? I know there have been some threads about it on that forum.


    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 4:44PM
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I have never grown popcorn but I just wanted to add that my
all time favorite is 'Baby Rice'. Sometimes hard to get but worth the effort.

Can anyone comment on their results of growing this variety?

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 2:25PM
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I agree with chrisb, i grew it as per instructions. It grew well and i put it in the popcorn machine with great excitement. I think about 5 half popped and the rest went black an didnt pop. Its fun to try these things but i dont think ill bother again.


    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 2:41AM
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moosemac(Z5 NH / Z3-4 ME)

I grew Strawberry Popcorn for ornamental use but ended up using it for popcorn. The kernels are tiny hence the popped kernels were small. The hulls were evident when it popped. The plus was the flavor was very rich not as bland as commercial corn. Guesstimate about 85% of the kernels popped using the oil poppiong method.

It was fairly prolific with 3-4 ears per stalk and I planted them 4-6" apart. The yield of kernels is not stellar because the ears are very small and the kernels are tiny. I planted 6 - 16 foot rows and had enough popcorn for myself and DD but then again we don eat it very often.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 2:42PM
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Popcorn is picky. You need to harvest while the corn still has moisture, but not too much. Commercial field harvested popcorn is usually harvested at around 18-20% moisture content and then hot-air dried quickly. You can hand-harvest corn any time it's mature (around 30-35% moisture), but it can take weeks to dry it out properly.

Your ideal final moisture content for quality popping corn is 13-15%. The corn needs to be held in a container that won't let it dry out beyond this or take on more moisture.

Unfortunately, you need a grain moisture tester to accurately find all of these ranges. While it's not an excessively expensive device, it's generally overkill for the hobbyist.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 3:00AM
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I service chopping equipment for several multi million dollar dairy's. They use a small scale and a microwave to determine moisture. They gather a sample, weigh it, microwave it for a set time, then weigh it again. They use a simple formula to figure out the moisture content. It looks simple for field corn, should work for pop corn the same. Check with your state extension for the math of it all.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 8:29PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

I knew people in my youth who grew agricultural field corn for serious and they all preferred the strawberry popcorn for their home use. It was too long ago and if I ever knew why I have forgotten.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 1:26PM
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chervil2(z5 MA)

The moisture test would be interesting to do with popcorn, since it may pop while doing the test!

Here is a link that might be useful: testing moisture

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 8:48PM
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