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Harvesting the Popcorn

October 13th, 2011

Last week my mom and I started clearing out the pottager that we share. The popcorn was the first thing to go, as it was ready to be harvested. This year I planted ‘Amish Butter’ popcorn from Southern Exposure. I also planted ‘Genuine Cornfield’ bean, a special variety of shade tolerant pole bean to grow up the corn.

I was hoping to harvest the pole bean seeds to reuse, but they had just started to bloom and there were only a few small green beans on them. I picked the few beans and the plants were added to the compost pile, along with the corn stalks. The beans grew well in the shade of the corn, they just didn’t have a long enough season or the weather wasn’t right for them this year

All the ears of popcorn were harvested and thrown in the attic for a week to dry a little more, they were already fairly dry at harvest. A week later, I shucked them and laid them out on racks to dry further.

We got some pretty nice looking popcorn. It was interesting to see the difference in size and quality of the ears. Some were beautiful and perfect, while others were tiny. I’m not quite sure what happened here, perhaps I should have thinned the corn more, or maybe a little more fertilizer should have been applied since corn is a heavy feeder and they were planted in a new area of the garden. Next year I plan on experimenting by spacing them a little farther apart and planting clover underneath them as a nitrogen fixing cover crop.

All-in-all I’m happy with our harvest. Mr Chiots and I occasionally enjoy popcorn as an evening snack and it’ll be nice to know I grew it myself every time we pop a batch. I hope this popcorn is as good as the strawberry popcorn we grew two years ago. With the amount we harvested, we should have enough popcorn for the next two years.

Do you grow corn in your garden? popcorn, field corn, or sweet?

13 Comments to “Harvesting the Popcorn”
  1. kathi cookk on October 13, 2011 at 6:30 am

    So cute! Once it’s dried do you store it on the cobs or remove it?

    Reply to kathi cookk's comment

    • Susy on October 13, 2011 at 8:41 am

      Usually on some cold evening in late Nov or Dec, Mr Chiots and I don our heavy leather gloves, put on a movie and chuck all the popcorn into big glass jars.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. Karylle Lynch on October 13, 2011 at 7:15 am

    Wow those are beautiful popcorn photos!
    My dad used to plant popcorn when we are still living in our old house with a big backyard. And I love the smell of sweet corn with butter in the morning. My mom loves to cook it for breakfast and even made extra for our school snacks.

    Reply to Karylle Lynch's comment

  3. Jennifer Fisk on October 13, 2011 at 7:58 am

    I have grown sweet corn in the past but it takes up precious room and is a very heavy feeder. It does provide a good environment for the squash to grow so perhaps next year after some major tree removal.

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

  4. Allison on October 13, 2011 at 8:16 am

    We tried Peaches & Cream sweet corn this year, but it didn’t do too great for us :/

    Reply to Allison's comment

  5. Kristen @ More Than Mulberries on October 13, 2011 at 11:01 am

    My kids love getting popcorn on the cob from the local farm stand! I don’t think we have the room to grow corn so we keep a small garden and leave the corn to the farmer up the road!

    Reply to Kristen @ More Than Mulberries's comment

  6. Sincerely, Emily on October 13, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Oh what perfect timing.I was getting a post together last week about popcorn and I have been searching to buy organic popcorn (already to pop) but have had a hard time finding any and realize I just need to try to grow it myself. I will check out your link for seeds. Your popcorn harvest looks wonderful! THANKS! Emily

    Reply to Sincerely, Emily's comment

  7. itchbay on October 13, 2011 at 11:48 am

    This was my first year growing corn, and I was only mildly successful. The spot I picked seemed like a good choice in May, but it turned out the stalks didn’t get quite enough sun. I only got one good row of corn stalks, and from those, I only got about 8 small-ish ears of corn.

    Funny thing, though, the second row of corn I planted did come up, and did grow slowly. Now they’re about 2′ tall and making flowers. They’re like adorable mini-corn plants.

    Reply to itchbay's comment

  8. Sayra L Adams on October 13, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    We grew some corn, only had about 8 good ears. The corn wasn’t fully formed, bad weather!

    Reply to Sayra L Adams's comment

  9. goatpod2 on October 13, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    My Dad is going to try growing field corn next year for feeding the deer and our animals.


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  10. KimH on October 13, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    I used to grow corn when I had a large garden.. It usually did pretty well.

    Since we’re speaking on corn, I’ll share the most awesome corn tip I ever learned.
    If racoons are a problem to your corn as they were to mine till I learned this from an old-timer, this is a great tip for you.

    Once the ears start filling out and its close to harvest (a couple, 3 weeks) sprinkle baby powder at the base of the plant and up the stalk. Do NOT sprinkle it on the ears themselves or on the tassels. I would do this for about the last month up till harvest.

    Coons dont like their hands to get dirty.. and the powder will make them batty. They’ll leave your corn alone.

    I used to have a garden in a large community garden and after I learned this trick, everyone around me couldn’t figure out why I had corn & why the coons hadn’t decimated mine like they did theirs. I shared my tip with a few others and the next few years after, more & more people were able to harvest some corn.

    Reply to KimH's comment

    • Susy on October 13, 2011 at 7:15 pm

      Great tip, I’ll have to keep that in mind!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  11. Rick on October 13, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    We tried popcorn for the first time this year and it did OK. Our ears were all fairly small. We planted it in a far away corner of the yard to keep it from crossing with our sweet corn and it didn’t get watered quite as faithfully as it should have. I think that is why we had the small ears. But we popped some last night and it was delicious!

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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