What is the best type of popcorn to grow in Maine?
I want to challenge myself and my sons, together with their families, to grow popcorn this spring. Any suggestions on the type that will grow best in Southern Maine? Also, what would the best variety to grow in a container on a deck? We don’t have large garden spaces so are limited in that regard.
Viña Lindley, Food Systems & Home Horticulture Professional, Waldo County
That’s great to hear that you’re going to give popcorn a try! Popcorn varieties take a long time to mature and some years if we have a lot of wet weather it can be tricky to get it to fully mature and dry out but if the weather cooperates it’s such a fun thing to grow, especially with kids! Look for varieties that will mature in under 110 days, including drying down to about 20% moisture in the kernels before bringing in. One of our specialists recommends Strawberry, Cherry Berry, Perdue 410, Gourmet Mushroom and Top Pop as some varieties to try. I have also had good luck with a variety called Dakota Black but I would encourage you to look for any variety that is labeled as “compact” which will be better suited to growing in containers. Many seed descriptions will tell you how tall the mature plants are, so look for a shorter variety, taller ones will tend to fall over easily in containers. Corn is also very thirty and so choose a large container for growing that won’t dry out too quickly and plan to water them 1-2 times a day. Good luck!