Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bucket Garden

I was so disappointed with my very sad corn crop this year. I attributed it to the weird weather ... or to the fact that I grew the crop in buckets, and perhaps the corn just didn't like the buckets.

When I chose seeds for my space, I intentionally picked a seed that would bear several, smaller ears per stalk, and I intentionally picked a seed that would produce "field" corn as opposed to "sweet" corn. Sweet corn is that stuff with which we are all familiar that's so yummy on the cob dripping with butter. Field corn, by contrast, is not meant to be eaten on the cob, but rather is grown to be processed into corn meal or popped, like popcorn.

The problem is that I've never seen "field" corn, and so when I harvested my tiny ears of blue corn, I just figured it was another bust year. The kernels were minuscule, and I figured, not properly formed. I harvested them, but I didn't have any idea what I was going to do with them.

This weekend, Gar came over and we were chatting about the birds in her yard. She was telling us how the blue jays love the corn she sets out, and so I thought that I would shuck the corn I harvested and that's been sitting in a 1/2 bushel basket drying since mid-October, and then, I would put it outside for the birds. After I took off the dried shucks, I thought, why not see if I can get the kernels off.

Oh, wow! The tiny dried kernels looked just like popcorn!

And so I did ... pop it!

And if you've never had fresh - like really, REALLY FRESH - popcorn, it's so totally worth finding some. It's WAY better than movie popcorn, and cooked in oil with just a little added salt, it didn't even need butter.

So, now I know, and next year, we'll continue the three-sisters experiment ... more blue corn, more blue squash, and ... does anyone know of a blue pole bean?


  1. Heehee, a nearby tourist=trap pumpkin farm also grows popcorn. I'll have to get some.

    I don't think they're really blue, but the crazy-@$$ green beans that Mrs. Fetched's mom grows are called "blue half-runners." She's grown them for decades, and they've more than adapted to our hot dry summers — they seem to thrive on drought and weeks on end of 95+ degree heat. One of those phrases you dread hearing from her: "I only planted three rows of green beans." OMG, that means a bushel a day for about a month! :D I've seen zucchini planted in the next row die of embarrassment.

    I don't know if they'd grow well in a cooler environment though, like I said they seem to have adapted to summers with attitude.

  2. No direct experience of truly blue beans, though I've heard of Blue Coco, I think...About half the pods of Cherokee Trail of Tears beans are purple in their fresh stage. They wither/dry to black or tan, and the dried beans are black. They have a shiny purple color if you harvest them as fresh shell beans. The beans are all the same color, regardless of the color of the pod.

    My three sisters definitely needs refinement next year.

  3. Wow, and not to mention that your corn is really pretty too! I have some popping corn seeds... maybe I will plant them next year.

  4. I only know of cranberry beans, but I do know of blue potatoes...

  5. Cool! I would have never thought to try growing popcorn. I tried corn a couple years ago and it just wasn't worth the effort for the amount of space I had to work with.
    What about blue lake beans? I know, not technically blue, but the name fits.

  6. Popcorn is on my 'to grow' list next year (it's a long list).
    Three sisters beds just don't seem to do well in the UK though. This may come as a surprise to everyone, but I think we just don't get long enough/hot enough summers.
    As to the beans, the best I can offer is violet-coloured French Beans.