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  #1  
Old 09/09/06, 09:18 PM
MWG MWG is offline
 
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OK you corn experts!!!

As I sit here munching on microwave popcorn surfing the net and dreaming of what I am going to plant next year, I suddenly realized that I could pop something I grew myself! But, is it really that easy?

So, I have a couple questions...

1) I guess there has to be a better popping corn than others...? Which do you think is best? I would perfer non hybrid if possible. Does all corn pop?

2) I am also guessing that you have to dry it before popping it? Is there a secret to drying it? Should you husk the corn before drying? Do you dry it in the sun, cellar, garage? What is the process between picking and getting ready to pop?

3) This might sound like a stupid question, but does the colored corn pop white, or the color that it is? I think this is called Indian corn... Purple, red and brown popcorn would be neat during Thanksgiving!


Thanks in advance for your help!

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  #2  
Old 09/09/06, 09:31 PM
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Popcorn is a separate kind of corn, not the same as field corn or sweet corn.

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  #3  
Old 09/09/06, 09:32 PM
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It's been too many years since I raise a patch of popping corn to remember the specifics but I do recall letting it dry on the stalk just like field corn. I know that popping corn has to retain some moisture or it will not pop but much more than the fact it was great fun to pop it right on the cob has gone from memory... It was a lot of fun....

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Old 09/09/06, 09:35 PM
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Hmm, on the cob? How did you do that? Oven? Fire? Sounds cool and I would like to know more. I bet my 2 yr old would love that!


Leave it on the stalk to dry? I tried that with some of my corn this year but it rotted? on the stalk? Got really bloated and looked like it was covered in mold? Did I do something wrong?

So there is a difference? Do you buy popping corn?

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Old 09/09/06, 09:42 PM
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What kind of corn were you trying to let dry? Field corn dries nicely on the cob, it's not unusual here if somebody doesn't get all the corn off in the fall to go out and combine in March when the frost is still heavy enough to hold the combine up. The corn will have dried more by then unless there was enough snow to knock it down. Sweet corn doesn't really dry very well, mostly just molds.

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Old 09/09/06, 09:57 PM
MWG MWG is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaleK
What kind of corn were you trying to let dry? Field corn dries nicely on the cob, it's not unusual here if somebody doesn't get all the corn off in the fall to go out and combine in March when the frost is still heavy enough to hold the combine up. The corn will have dried more by then unless there was enough snow to knock it down. Sweet corn doesn't really dry very well, mostly just molds.
Golden Batam and Sunshine. Both types just rotted. They are sweet corn... Field corn is what you feed your animals right?

I didn't really mean for them to dry. I thought that you could go out and pick it as you needed it... yea, I wasted a lot of corn this year, but lucky for me as soon as I figured out that I messed up I plowed it under and planted again. I have new corn in the garden now and should be able to pick it ALL AT ONCE and freeze what I don't eat. Man, you just can't beat corn that you grow cooked the same day you pick it!

Me, the wife and my 2 yr old ate 16 ears for dinner one night!
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Old 09/09/06, 10:01 PM
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Yep that's field corn.
We usually plant sweet corn in 5 or 6 different batches so there's some ready for most of the summer.

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  #8  
Old 09/09/06, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by DaleK
Yep that's field corn.
We usually plant sweet corn in 5 or 6 different batches so there's some ready for most of the summer.
Is there a secret to spacing? Seems the closer they are together the better they grow.

Any recommendations to a seeder / planter? I did it by hand this year and don't think that is really the way to go....
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  #9  
Old 09/09/06, 10:10 PM
 
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I haven't raised any since my kids left home but you just plant popcorn seed. Let it dry on the stalk and pull it like you would field corn that you were going to feed to livestock. When you want to pop some corn , grab an ear or two and shell it. You will think you had bought it at the store, it's real popcorn.

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  #10  
Old 09/09/06, 10:28 PM
 
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Field corn is for livestock etc. It dries down on the stalk, needs to dry down to about 25% moisture to keep on the ear, or 14-15% moisture to store as kernals. Like to plant it at close to 30,000 plants per acre under good soil/ fert conditions. Strong stalks.

Sweet corn stays soft, will shrivel down wrinkly if you can get it dry - pretty much only for seed. For human eating with butter, picked when tender. Probably plant it at 19,000 or so per acre? Weak stalks.

Pop corn is different yet, probably plant similar to sweet corn, but let it dry on the stalk, harvest as ears, and let it dry into the winter on the ear. Then you shell it off without harming the kernals. There is an 'ideal' moisture content where it pops the best, but I don't know much about raising it. The neighbor does, it works well as soon as you learn the tricks of how & how long to store/dry it.

--->Paul

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  #11  
Old 09/09/06, 10:35 PM
 
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I think u can also pop milo

There will be alot of hulls with home grown popcorn. Dont know if its the seed planted or what? Distance in spacing will not make a difference in taste, just in yield and weed control. I havnt planted any for near 20 yrs. Planted alot at the time. Got a 2 row planter that has popcorn plates for it Id plant it thick as the yield is so little for the ground used. Mark it on your calendar and in 100 to 120 days its ready, for the most older varietys. Make sure youve got fertilizer enough for the growth of popcorn. It takes alot, and it takes alot out of the ground. I would think that weed free ground in popcorn will make it taste better than weed infested as the corn would be starved for the nuitrants that the weeds was getting, not to mention moisture needed to grow that the weeds was sucking up

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Old 09/09/06, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by rambler
Field corn is for livestock etc. It dries down on the stalk, needs to dry down to about 25% moisture to keep on the ear, or 14-15% moisture to store as kernals. Like to plant it at close to 30,000 plants per acre under good soil/ fert conditions. Strong stalks.

Sweet corn stays soft, will shrivel down wrinkly if you can get it dry - pretty much only for seed. For human eating with butter, picked when tender. Probably plant it at 19,000 or so per acre? Weak stalks.

Pop corn is different yet, probably plant similar to sweet corn, but let it dry on the stalk, harvest as ears, and let it dry into the winter on the ear. Then you shell it off without harming the kernals. There is an 'ideal' moisture content where it pops the best, but I don't know much about raising it. The neighbor does, it works well as soon as you learn the tricks of how & how long to store/dry it.

--->Paul
Thanks for the help, but now I have other questions...

30,000 per acre? 19,000 per acre? I think I would loose count while I was planting...? Is this a setting on a planter? How do you know how many you are planting? Could you recommend a planter? Something for 1-2 acres.


How in the world can I tell what the moisture content is? Is there a tool for this? Some sort of test?

Shell it off? Is there a tool for this or do you just cut it with a knife?

It sounds like you know your corn! Thanks for the help!
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  #13  
Old 09/09/06, 10:37 PM
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popping corn

I used to grow popcorn but got tired messing with it for eating.It took over 100 days and if the weather turned rainy and cold mine didn't dry well on the stalk.
I mostly grow the mini ears for fall decorations.The small colored hard shell would split from the little bit of moisture inside and the starch would explode out of the shell, a yellowish white delicious kernal!
Now I pick it slightly green so the husk stays peeled back and bundle in threes for drying for thanksgiving/halloween at Paps Punkin Patch.
With our short season there is no second chance for sweet corn.Last frost could be 1st week of June and first frost 1st week of Sept.So far it's only been down to 41.
If you can get golden nugget try it for freezing.It's quite good fresh, but the best I found for keeping flavor frozen!
Chas

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  #14  
Old 09/09/06, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by FarmBoyBill
There will be alot of hulls with home grown popcorn. Dont know if its the seed planted or what? Distance in spacing will not make a difference in taste, just in yield and weed control.
No, the first batch I planted resulted in a lot of the corn not sprouting. Those sprouts that weren't close to another stalk didn't do very well. The second time I planted it someone told me to plant three seeds in every hole. Seemed to do a lot better so far. There were some places again though that didn't sprout and it seemed that those stalks aren't doing as well as those that are close together.

I experiented in one patch and didn't plant them in rows, just threw out seed. That patch appears to be doing the best of all so far. I might have to knock the stalk down as I pick it to be able to get to it all, but it appears to be growning better than those in rows... but you are right, I can't get in there to weed it.
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  #15  
Old 09/09/06, 11:58 PM
 
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How deep are you planting? Corn generally grows pretty darn easy, it's just a grass really, plant it fairly shallow (1.5 - 2"), get it some water, have the soil over 55 degrees, and it should take right off.

--->Paul

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  #16  
Old 09/10/06, 12:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MWG
Thanks for the help, but now I have other questions...

30,000 per acre? 19,000 per acre? I think I would loose count while I was planting...? Is this a setting on a planter? How do you know how many you are planting? Could you recommend a planter? Something for 1-2 acres.


How in the world can I tell what the moisture content is? Is there a tool for this? Some sort of test?

Shell it off? Is there a tool for this or do you just cut it with a knife?

It sounds like you know your corn! Thanks for the help!
It's a setting on the planter, but I raise a bit more than you. The planters I know would not fit you. There are some nice little push planters, but I know nothing about them - others here will do better.

Pick a row width - 30" is real popular. Then plant so many kernals per foot. Maybe 5 kernals per foot? That will give you plants per acre. Just figure out square feet, & a lot of math....

With experience, one 'knows' about what the moisture is. Feel the ear, chew a few kernals, watch the milk line.... A moisture tester for grain will give you the exact moisture content - about $200 or so. For ear field corn, put a few ears in a bucket of water, if they float or not will tell you if they will keep in a crib - or a bit after the milk line disappears. To store 8000 bu of shelled field corn, you best have a tester......

Field corn or popcorn is _way_ too hard to cut off with a knife. You put the ear in your hand, twist it, or pick a row off with a thumb. Shell it. There are antique hand-crank corn shellers for field corn. Too rough on the corn for popcorn tho.

To store these grains, you need them quite dry. 25% or less moisture. You cannot possibly cut off the kernals like that. They will be hard.

Popcorn you need to handle _very_ gently. It _depends_ upon moisture trapped inside the seed coat to boil & explode. If the seed coat is scraped in any tiny way, that kernal will not pop - the steam will just escape.

Popcorn & field corn are very different than sweet corn. Sweet corn stays wet & sticky.

Sweet corn is best planted a row or 2 every few days. Then you will have corn coming ripe every week, a little bit over a long period of time. It's tough to plant it all at once - then you have a huge number of ears ripe all at the same time, can't do anything with that much.

Popcorn & field corn you _do_ want to get ripe all at the same time, so it is very even & similar & can be harvested all at the same time.

--->Paul
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  #17  
Old 09/10/06, 12:16 AM
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my ma and I raised some one time when I was in my early 20's. All we used was store bought popcorn to see if it would work and it did. After successfully raising and drying it out we learned that you could pop it right on the cob in the microwave. I don't remember how long we had to pop it but I do remember we would place a cob in a small brown paper bag and then place it in the microwave. I was very good.

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  #18  
Old 09/10/06, 07:07 AM
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I grow japanese hull-less popcorn. I like it alot. Smallish kernals, but, very light small hulls. I'm actually going out to start picking it today. Second year for me. I'm pulling it because there are some bugs and I want to make sure they don't continue damaging any kernals. Hand shucking is not a problem.

Earthway makes a nice push planter. Around $70- $100 dollars. Depth is adjustable and they come with different seed plates that drop seeds at optimal spacing. Ground has to be well tilled and fluffy for at least an inch. Otherwise, the unit (only weighs about ten pounds) won't actually dig into the ground.

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Old 09/10/06, 07:28 AM
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Also, I found the seed in my local co-op in the novelty section of seeds. Rather expensive $2 a pack for very few seeds.

First year only a few stalks grew (maybe 7 or 8), but, I got enough to pop one pan full and saved the rest for this year. One to two ears per stalk.

This year I've got about 6 or 7 dozen stalks and will do the same. I'm going to build my seed base each year by splitting it in half between growing and popping.

As far as moisture, I let the first crop dry on the stalk. Apparently hit the moisture right on [by guessing]. This year will be an experiment again since I'm pulling it for security. But I think if you shuck it when it's dry enough to easily hand shuck, the rest will take care of itself. I think it will dry to where it likes to be naturally as long as you don't seal it for awhile or use a dryer.

Also, very nearly every kernal popped...maybe only 5 or 6 old maids. Kinda brought a tear to my eye.....tasty home grown....near perfect pop....what more do you want.

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  #20  
Old 09/10/06, 08:34 AM
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GREAT! Thanks for the help. I have now figured out that I really don't know that much about corn, but I know more now than I did yesterday!

I found this site, they sell popcorn.

http://www.victoryseeds.com/catalog/...corn/corn.html

But now I have another question. You guys mentioned shelling it. What exactly is this? You mean husking it? (Removing the green outside?) Or is there something else?

Thanks for the Earthway suggestion. I think my wife just found my Christmas present!!!

As far as freezing corn, you just dip it in boiling water for 2-3 minutes and then drop it in a freezer bag, let cool and freeze?

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