Autodidacts Creating Culture

Six Gallons of Calico Corn Ready to Pop!

When Mr. Green Jeans wanted to plant corn on our urban farm, I kicked up a stink.  Here’s why and how it turned out.

Corn is over-planted and over-used in America–in my opinion.

It’s fed to pets, cattle, pigs, and chickens, primarily to fatten them.  

Corn syrup in sodas, juices, ketchup, salad dressings etc., equals addiction to sugar and obesity–another opinion.

If you are allergic to it, it’s really hard to avoid, as it’s an ingredient in many processed foods. 

Unless it’s certified organic, it’s GMO corn–which I avoid. 

In terms of growing it, not only is the plant a water-hog, but once ants invade it, the stalks fall over.  

Basically, I don’t see a point to go to the effort.  But I didn’t tell Mr. Green Jeans that, except I warned him about controlling the ants.   

I liked the idea of growing our own corn seeds for popcorn, because we could plant a variety that was different from anything we could buy.  Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks.  I handed him a Territorial Seeds magazine and he selected Calico seeds, an heirloom variety which produced colorful ears of corn (see top photo).

While the corn grew, so did my fondness for it.  Watering it wasn’t an issue.  Being an engineery-fellow, David rigged a pipe from our laundry machine to water it, in part with our biodegradable soapy water as well as with a drip-hose.  

We wondered if the effect of too much phosphates from the detergent made the corn grow taller (nitrogen makes the green parts of a plant grow).  

We wondered if something was wrong with it.  It was late summer before the tassels appeared and fall before the corn developed.  Based upon my research, I believe it was a slow-growing variety.

Eventually the corn stalks were like a team of green soldiers guarding the bay.

The culprit I mentioned above did invade once the ears of corn began to grow.  Aphids were attracted to a sticky substance on the inside of the leaves of the plant.  Ants were attracted to the residue the aphids left.  

David’s vigilance kept the pests under control.  Every night after work, he jet-sprayed the stalks individually with soapy water.  When a few stalks fell over, he surrounded the crop with two ropes placed at one third intervals around the stalks. 

In all, we have been rewarded by his efforts with about six gallons of organic heirloom popcorn.  

I love popcorn and I love David.  He made our urban farm farmy.  It was cool to see the corn plants grow so fast.  He said he might grow sweet corn and next year and I won’t worry about it.

Related Links

GMO corn

About popcorn

How to dry it

Aside:  when we were in Mexico there were protests against Monsanto’s GMO corn.

GMO corn suspended in Mexico

Happy Thanksgiving!

8 Responses to “Six Gallons of Calico Corn Ready to Pop!”

  1. patricia

    It’s so pretty, and there’s so much of it! Do the different colors show up at all in the popped corn?

    I love that Mexican anti-Monsanto sign!

    • Kristin

      Hi Tricia,

      That Calico corn is gorgeous!

      When it pops, the kernels are small and white. A drawback is that only half of the kernels pop from the batch we put into the pan, due to the low moisture content, which implies we dried it too long. The flavor and texture is better than what I buy.

      • patricia

        Do you use this technique for popping corn? Maybe the extra thirty seconds off the heat would encourage more kernels to pop. When I use store-bought kernels I get virtually no un-popped ones this way. I also use one of those bacon screens over the top of the pan, rather than a pot lid, and it makes the popcorn crisper.

        I use coconut oil–bet you do too!

    • Kristin

      Hi Kay,

      Funny thing is, we’ve never met in person and it seems like you know me. Of course I’ll worry (lol). The taste is splendid, just wish more of the kernels popped.

  2. Beauty Along the Road

    I like growing some flint or dent corn (organic, of course) for drying and storing into the winter. The chickens (and even the dogs) loved it while it was still soft and ate it right from the cob. Now, I have to soak it for them to eat. I may also try to grind it into flour this year….
    I love the dent corn because it grows really tall (8-10 feet) and the wind sizzles thru the leaves causing a sound similar to bamboo in the wind. I planted mine really late this year because of a very wet spring and so the corn harvest was pushed right against the first frost. Still, it did well.

    • Kristin

      Hi Annette,

      I haven’t heard of flint or dent corn. The height of it was similar to our Calico. It does have a stately presence and a nice sound. I like the idea of making my own corn flower for gluten green cornbread. I think the plan for next year is to grow hominy though. thanks for sharing what you’ve grown.


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