I have wanted to grow my own popcorn since learning that popcorn is a special variety of corn. I’d always assumed that popcorn and corn were essentially indistinguishable, but not all corn can be popped. I believed that one kernel was just a drier and harder version of the other. Then my world popped like a hot kernel of corn in oil, and I wanted to grow my own popcorn. What else are gardens for except growing your own favorite foods?
Well, the popcorn plants did not appear quite as quickly as I can demolish a bowl of popcorn. To be sure, I made some mistakes that doomed dreams of eating my own popcorn year-round. Some people may wonder whether the pollination of the corn was adequate. My bees, however, swarmed the corn, and the frenzy of bee activity was delightful to observe during my walks through the garden at night to squelch squash bugs. What seemed to have happened was that the green beans choked out the growth of the corn. The dried heads of corn were difficult to remove from the stalks because of the thick growth of the green beans, and several of the heads were not fully formed or bereft of kernels altogether.
In fact, my bountiful harvest of popcorn kernels was a measly 1/2 cup of popcorn. This means I have just enough popcorn to pop one batch of popcorn (1/3 cup per batch!) and then have seeds saved to try to grow a more bountiful harvest of popcorn in next year’s garden. In the meantime, I’ll keep buying that gigantic bag of popcorn kernels grown by a local Kansas farmer (probably more economical, but much less fun!).