Rice and pearl are the two types of popcorn. Rice kinds feature elongated kernels, while pearl kinds feature round and smooth kernels. Besides the difference in the size of the kernel, you can get popcorn varieties in multi-colored, blue, red, yellow, and pink ears.
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People grow popcorn for its exploding, delicious seed. When you heat the kernel, it will convert the moisture inside to steam and turn the seed inside out. The quality of the result will depend on the conditions of growing, harvesting, and storing.
Popcorn is a whole grain variety and high in fiber. In addition, it is high in simple carbohydrates that will fast (and temporary) raise serotonin levels. This will help you relax and improve your mood.
Keep in mind that you should get rid of the extra fat and salt to air pop the corn if you plan to eat it for health reasons. So, why not consider growing your corn in your own garden?
From bright yellow, good-looking kernels, to multi-colored rainbow corn, there’s definitely a variety to suit your needs.
Best way of growing popcorn
Home gardeners have an option of different varieties. Make sure you choose a variety that can mature in your region. Use several short rows to sow seeds directly in your garden.
This will make sure you get the best pollination. Follow label instructions to thin. Never plant popcorn and sweet corn in the same garden. Cross-pollination with popcorn will reduce the sweet corn’s quality.
It is best if you weed, fertilize, and water frequently. In addition, know the best time and season to start growing. Any serious stress, such as water shortage, will significantly cause a reduction in the quality of the popcorn and yields.
Important information before growing popcorn varieties
Popcorn growing is similar to growing ordinary sweet corn. It is best if you plant and grow the seeds in the garden the same way you would any other corn type. Let the ears to mature completely, and wait to harvest until you see brown color on the husks.
But there is one thing to be cautious of: You should not use the same garden to grow both sweet corn and popcorn. The reason being, these two varieties can cross-pollinate.
This can lead to the worst of both worlds; sweet corn that’s of poor quality and popcorn yields with a high ratio of unpopped kernels. Popcorn variety will mature in roughly three months. This means you will have lots of time after planting to choose the ideal movie to go together with the harvest.
The best popcorn varieties to plant
- Snow Puff popcorn
Snow puff is an F1 hybrid that produces high yields of sweet, tasty, white corn. This will expand to a huge size when popped, ideal for movie nights. The kernels of this variety contain very thin husks. Snow puff grows eight-inch ears on seven-foot stalks, and it needs full sun to flourish.
- Robust yellow hulles hybrid popcorn
This variety is easy to pop thanks to its thin husks. This Native American corn is popular for its exploding, tasty kernels, which are perfect for making tasty popcorn. You can plant the seeds in the garden just like any other type of corn.
Let the ears fully mature, and you’ll get a natural and easy snack. If you grow this variety in the dark, it will produce lovely shoots as well. When you grow it in full sunshine, robust yellow hulles hybrid is a highly productive variety. It produces long ears of corn on tall stalks—the maturity period of about 110 days.
- Heirloom popcorn
This cultivar will preserve perfectly, so you will be able to continue enjoying your corn all through the cold season. Heirloom popcorn will require complete exposure to flourish. Also, it takes the bright yellow 8-inch ears 3 months to attain full maturity.
- Shaman’s blue popcorn
A champion in taste and appearance categories, shaman’s blue is a great popper that produces sweet, white, big popcorn. Shaman’s blue is highly nutritious thanks to its dark blue kernels, which have more antioxidants (namely cyanidin and anthocyanin) compared to standard yellow varieties.
It originated from Peru’s Andes Mountains, where it was traditionally ground into flour. Currently, this variety is grown in Southwestern US and Mexico.
These are the areas it has become trendy thanks to its highest quality and disease resistance flour. Shaman’s blue will grow perfectly in full sun and grows well in hardiness zones 3 to 12.
- Carousel popcorn
This is an open-pollinated popcorn that features small colorful kernels, popping up crisp and tender, with little husk. The carousel’s kernels come in an array of colors, which include but not restricted to: white, yellow, mauve, red, purple, deep blue, cream, peach, pink, lavender, blue, and some have faint striping.
The attractive range of hues makes this heirloom carousel popcorn the best for decorations during fall. In addition, you can ground the corn for cornmeal. It takes about 110 days until the harvest of dried ears.
A packet has about 125 seeds of this variety. Although this variety is usually called an ornamental cultivar, it’s actually suitable for eating. This heirloom produces vividly multi-colored tiny ears with a length of four to five inches. You can either pop, display for decorative, or dry the cobs.
- Glass Gem popcorn
Sometimes you will come across a plant that will perfectly combine utility and beauty. One of the most eye-catching and best examples is the glass gem corn. This corn is the best example of the fascinating outcome that you can attain through selective breeding.
The colorful corn is due to human activity working together with nature. The variety is the best when it comes to rainbow crops. It produces breathtaking kernels that are available in an array of transparent, multicolored colors of red, yellow, blue, and everything in between.
Carl Barnes, an Oklahoma farmer, chose this variety for various reasons. He started growing varieties of heirloom as a means of reconnecting with his heritage.
You can dry the stalks and ears of this variety for decorative use. Growing this variety would be the best way of getting the children fascinated with gardening.
The kernels are ideal for grinding into cornmeal or popping. Glass gem reaches maturity with 80 days, and it is best to grow in Zones 3 to 11. It flourishes in full, warm sunny weather.
- Heirloom strawberry popcorn
These plants are small, having a height of only five to six feet. They have buff-colored foliage that bears two or so tiny dark red-brown or dark red-purple ears measuring two-three inches. The shape of the maroon ears resembles strawberries, which will certainly thrill the children.
The outcome, once you harvest and dry, will delight kids of all ages. The reason being, the kernels pop and magically change from red to white color.
Growing strawberry popcorn variety
It is a fun activity to involve kids when it comes to growing this variety. Remember that strawberry popcorn, similar to all corn, will cross-pollinate with other varieties you’ve planted close by.
For this reason, it is best to keep this variety at least 25 feet from other varieties of sweet corn you are growing. Sow the seeds of this heirloom crop in full sunlight in compost-rich, well-draining soil after all threat of cold has passed for your region.
You can either plant the seeds in a clump or circle or several rows to help make it possible for pollination. You should space the seeds eight inches apart. During the growing season, it is best to feed with an all-purpose veggie fertilizer twice.
In roughly 100 days, this cute magenta red corn will be ready for harvesting. Let the ears dry on the stalk for 30 days if using them as an ornament. If you prefer popcorn, allow the ears to dry for an extra 30 days after you pick.
You can create a colorful fall harvest design using the stalks and a mixture of dried cobs, gourds, and pumpkins.
It time you grew your own popcorn
With such appealing varieties to decide on, growing your own popcorn is the best decision you will ever make.