Popcorn is a fun and practical crop to add to the garden. It will store for several months after harvest and requires little preparation and maintenance. For more information on popcorn, click here.
VARIETIES: It is possible to select varieties based on personal color, flavor and size preferences. Varieties include Yellow, White Midnight Blue, Ruby Red, Mixed Baby, Turquoise and Strawberry. Each offers a certain flavor, hull color and differs in kernel size and shape when popped.
Before planting, incorporate 2 to 4 inches of well-composted organic matter and apply 1 to 2 lbs. of all purpose fertilizer per 100 square feet of planting area. For more information on soil preparation, click here.
- For a 100 foot row, 3 to 4 ounces of seed is required.
- Planting corn in short rows increases pollination and yield.
- Plant seeds 1 to 2 inches deep spaced 8 to 10 inches apart in the row.
- Popcorn generally matures in 85 to 100 days and may not be suitable for all areas of Utah.
Irrigation: Uniform soil moisture levels are very important for a high yield. Water requirements are most critical during tasseling, silking and ear formation. Drought stress at these times will decrease yield and kernel quality as well as cause an uneven harvest. Apply 1 ½ to 2 inches per week, especially during ear growth. For more information on watering, click here.
Fertilization: Popcorn has a high fertilizer requirement and responds well to nitrogen fertilizer. Nitrogen promotes stalk and ear growth and kernel quality. Side dress popcorn with ½ lb of nitrogen fertilizer per 100 square feet when plants have eight to ten leaves. Follow up with an additional ¼ lb when the silks appear. Place the fertilizer to the side of the row and irrigate it into the soil. For more information on fertilizing, click here.
Harvest: Popcorn is harvested when the kernels are completely dry and the husks are tan and brittle. When mature ears are ready for harvest, pick them from the stalks, remove the husks and place the shucked ears in a mesh bag and dry them in a warm, ventilated room. When the ears are properly dried, shell the kernels off the ears and store them in an air-tight container. Popcorn can be stored for several years if refrigerated.
COMMON PESTS AND DISEASES: Aphids, corn earworms, cutworms, rot and wilt diseases are common pests of popcorn. Appropriate insecticides, watering, removing infected plants and mulches are ways to regulate these problems. For more information on controlling pests and diseases, click here.