Can You Grow Corn From Popcorn Kernels?

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Corn From Popcorn Kernels

While the short answer to this question is a resounding yes, there is a bit more to it than that. Corn can be grown from popcorn kernels, as germination is possible as long as the kernel is healthy. They may not be meant for this purpose but that does not mean that they cannot be used as such.

Before getting started, make sure that the kernels have not been cooked, boiled, or roasted. Otherwise, the planter is only going to be wasting their own time and effort. To learn more about the following tips and common questions, please be sure to read on.

Corn Can Actually Grow From The Same Popcorn Kernels That Are Made For Human Consumption?

Unless the kernels have died or they have been tampered with (as described above), they can be used to grow corn. Be prepared, though. It is going to be a matter of trial and error. For example, if the kernels have been treated with radiation to kill germs before being shipped, this means that they are not going to be usable. The radiation will have killed all of the living cells within the kernels, making growth impossible.

The Difference Between Popping Corn and Sweet Corn

Do not make the mistake of planting popping corn and sweet corn in the same garden. The Purdue University Center for New Crops and Plant Products advises against this because both plants could begin to shed pollen at the same time. If so, this will have a negative effect on the quality of the sweet corn. The harvesting techniques for each also differ greatly.

Sweet corn will be harvested when kernels have reached their peak level of tenderness. Meanwhile, popping corn is harvested when the plant has turned brown. This can be confusing because it is counterintuitive to most gardeners. The moisture in each ear must be less than 25 percent. If there is any added moisture, the popcorn is not going to pop in the proper fashion.

How To Germinate Popcorn Seeds

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In order to properly germinate the popcorn seeds, a gardener must follow the proper steps. For starters, the watering process is of the utmost importance. If there are hot and dry spells, the popcorn will need to be watered regularly. Since popcorn plants have a shallower rooting depth, growers could end up noticing new roots that are developing just above the soil at the plant’s base. However, these roots are just for stabilization purposes and do not offer water or nutrients to the plant.

The soil must be soaked thoroughly on a weekly basis unless the grower resides in an area where the kernels will receive an inch of rain each week. Sandy soil should be damp up to 10 inches down, while clay soil will be damp up to six inches. As soon as the ears have started to mature, there is no reason to keep going. The watering process is complete at this time.

Additional Gardening Tips

The more that the grower knows before planting the kernels, the better their chances of being able to grow full stalks of corn. Controlling weeds is a major aspect of this equation. Using a hoe or hand tool on a regular basis is the best bet, as this allows growers to stop weeds before they even have a chance to become a problem in the first place. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

It is also important not to cultivate too deeply or the plants themselves could be damaged before they have a chance to become full stalks. The good news is that the corn plants formulate canopies of leaves once they are finishing the growth process, which will keep new weeds from being able to form. Organic materials are also a great choice for mulching, as a means of preventing weed growth.

Are There Insects To Look Out For?

The European corn borer and the corn ear worm are the most common insects to look out for in these instances. If an ear has been husked and chewed-up kernels are found, please be sure to strip the good kernels away before tossing out the rest. Pay close attention to the amount of activity in the garden for best results. If the corn is not being attacked, it is probably safe to assume that they won’t be much of a problem.

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Meanwhile, those who are left to tangle with the insects have options available. In order to achieve the best results, get started once the corn has begun to produce silk. It is recommended for growers to use labeled insecticides. In these cases, it is best to locate products that contain one of the following ingredients: bacillus thurngiensis, permethrin, or carbaryl. The insecticide should be applied every four to seven days, although the shorter end of that timetable is best for the hotter months.

Silk emerges more quickly during the summer and growers should be keeping a close eye on the growth. That makes it easier for them to treat the silk as soon as it makes its initial appearance. Once the silk starts to show up, the grower has roughly seven to ten days to treat it. If the aforementioned insects are given the chance to enter the ear, the larvae will have to be handpicked by the grower by pulling the husk back on the ear tip.

For the best possible results when growing corn from popcorn kernels, it is important to choose a trustworthy source for said kernels. While there are many who may not see the issue with choosing any kernel that they come across, there are all sorts of pitfalls that will take place in these instances. By ordering wholesale popcorn kernels from an experienced company, these problems tend to fall by the wayside.

Those who take the time to do so will have much better results. Never make the mistake of taking a chance on a company that lacks the proper experience. Whether the kernels are being purchased for personal consumption or farming-related purposes, choosing a trusted source is everything.

 

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