Thursday, June 14, 2012

Planting popcorn

One of the things I've always wanted to do in a garden was plant popcorn. Today I did just that.

Oh, not without a little preparation, of course. The first thing we did was decide where to plant the popcorn vs. the sweet corn. You can't plant two different types of corn near each other because they'll cross-pollinate and produce something weird. Corn is wind-pollinated, so the two different types of corn have to be far enough apart that the wind can't blow the pollen from one type over the other type.

So we decided to plant the sweet corn in the barn corral, which is separated from the garden by several hundred feet AND a building AND is not on the same "flight path" as our prevailing wind, so we feel pretty safe.

Next thing to do was order some different seed popcorn. Last year I bought an heirloom variety that took 105 days to mature. I have no idea why I bought that particular type, since getting 105 days without frost is pretty challenging in our region. So I wised up and bought another heirloom variety that takes 85 days til maturity.

Next we took some of the big tractor tires we got in late May...

...and which Don cut in half.

He cut two of these monstrosities, and I managed to manhandle half of one into the garden.

It took four wheelbarrows to fill it to the top with composted manure.

Then I spread a layer of dirt over the manure. Corn is a heavy feeder -- it adores composted manure -- so by golly the popcorn should get all the fertilizer it needs this way.

Rinse, repeat with the rest of the tire halves. At about 150 lbs. apiece, they were a bear to move. Since they're cut in half, I didn't "roll" them so much as "squish" them into place.  By the time I got the tires placed and filled, I was a muck of sweat.  Took me about four or five hours of heavy labor to get everything ready to plant.

When the tires were ready, I soaked the seed popcorn overnight. (This allows it to germinate faster.)

Then I planted it in a rough grid eight inches apart, three seeds per hole.

Now for the waiting game. Let's see if this works!


  1. I love your tire garden Patrice and am following with keen interest. Just wondering if you drilled any holes in those huge tractor tires with the corn? It looks like they could hold a bit of trapped water in the bottom but then corn may not mind wet feet. Wishing you much success :-)

  2. Hi, can't tell from picture how tall your tire is but corn typically needs several feet deep for roots to grow. I guess it wouldn't be an issue if you just planted the centers. Good luck and hope it does well.
    Barb KL

  3. I'm going to miss popcorn during the apocalypse! LOL ;-)

  4. I planted popcorn in my garden. I ordered the seeds but only a few have come up. I am very dissapointed. Hope yours do better.