growing popping corn

While visiting the St. Paul's Farmers' Market in Minnesota, I bought some fresh popping corn (by fresh I mean harvested less than a month (or maybe 3 months?) before sale, or so the seller told us). It is very very good--the end result is puffy, light, and crispy popcorn. It pops much better than Orville Redenbacher's, Jolly Time, or other commercial brands.
Time for my question, has anyone ever grown their own popping corn? It's obviously too late for this year, but I'd like to expand my garden and try to grow some next year. If anyone has had some success with this, which kind (I've done some research, and there are several types http://www.crookham.com/pop.html ) might grow best in small gardens tended by neophytes? Would it be possible to save a few kernels of the stuff I have and try to plant them next year?
Also, if I were to try to grow sweet corn and popping corn, I obviously could not plant them close together or there might be some cross-pollination, right?
BTW, I have some teeny tiny cantaloupes on my cantaloupe plants (they're actually musk melons, I've learned) and I harvested some of the teeny tiny tomatoes (according to the little info card, they're supposed to be 5-6 oz, but mine are only about 1 oz each) from my surviving two tomato plants. It's kind of fun, this gardening thing. I only hope it stays hot enough for the cantaloupes to develop and ripen. I planted them a bit late, you see, so they may end up dying in infancy due to frost (I'm in Winnipeg, Manitoba--zone 3a, I think). Poor babies.
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Pop corn is as easy to grow any corn. It is very susceptible to cross pollination so it has to be isolated either by time or space. All of the commercial varities are hybrids, but older open pollinated varieties are available from mail order companies like Shumways.
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I've grown Baby Rice for the past two years, and have had great results. It is quite easy to go, and is some of the best popcorn I have ever had, especially when it is used as soon as it has dried sufficiently to pop. I definitely think it is worth it to try.
I don't grow sweet corn, so I'm not sure how careful you have to be about isolating the two. Best of luck with it, though!
-Michelle
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Where do you get Baby Rice? Thanks

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Baby Rice? Sounds like a strange name for corn! I'll so a search on Jungs and Shumways and see what I can find!
Thanks!
rona
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"Rice" popcorn has been around at least back to the 1900's. It was often listed under Japanese nmes like Japanese hulless, seems I remember one named Tom Thumb. Major characteristic was a small ear with prickly pointed grains. Grains were about the same size as rice which may be the source of the name. Very tender, but small, The big yellow popping corn (South American Dynamite and the like) began dominating the market around WWII and their hybrid descendants continue today.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com writes:

If you can find it other than at Shumway, you might want to try that. My experience this spring with Shumway was not particularly good. Having not ordered from a seed company before, I'm not sure it if was typical of all seed companies, but I cannot imagine that it is or none of us would have gardens.
Glenna
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May I ask what kind oof problems you had with them? Was it with the seeds or with customer service? I've never ordered seeds from anywhere (I have purchased cat grass seeds from a local gardening store, but have not planted them, yet), so I don't really know what to look out for.
rona
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On Sun, 24 Aug 2003 23:25:37 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@pmug.org (Glenna Rose) wrote:

I certainly do. I've been ordering seeds from various suppliers for many years (maybe about 30 years now). I've never really had a problem. Never had a late shipment. Only ordered once from Shumway (this year) and received the correct seeds promptly.
The only seeds I've ordered which did *not* have a good rate of germination were Golden Beets from Pinetree and they very clearly state in the catalog that the Golden Beets have a low germination rate. Fair enough.
It's true, however, that I start almost all seeds indoors - I find that I get *tremendously* better results by starting the seeds indoors (controlled conditions: no weeds, no driving rains beating them up when they're tiny, etc.) and then transplanting the young plants. I direct seed green beans outdoors, and that's about all. I even transplanted carrots and beets this year.
Local suppliers cannot begin to match the number of varieties available from seed companies. Local suppliers almost *never* have the varieties I want.
Local greenhouses/nurseries (selling started plants) most certainly never have the varieties I want. What a difference there is to the plants I start from seed and those from nurseries! Just no comparison at all.
Pat
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bought by Jung a couple of years ago and moved from Graniteville SC to Wisconsin, Hopefully any problems would be due to the change in facilities and staff. They have specialized in a wide variety of the older open pollinated cultivars which are readily available from any other single source. They do seem to be restricting their selections already, Few mailorder companies offer much selection other than the tomato specialists.
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On 25 Aug 2003 16:51:20 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (FarmerDill) wrote:

Baker Creek specializes in heirloom seeds, all open pollinated:
http://www.rareseeds.com /
Victory Seeds also carries heirlooms, all open pollinated:
http://www.victoryseeds.com /
Pinetree Gardens has a pretty good selection too, not all open-pollinated though.
http://www.superseeds.com
Pat
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On 25 Aug 2003 16:51:20 GMT,since it's all about me snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (FarmerDill) professed:

<gasp!>
I didn't know that. I feel like I've lost a neighbor!

<www.seedsavers.com> has a good selection of all openpollinated vegetables and herbs. Part of their mission is to preserve the old varieties. And as a repeat customer, I think the service is top notch.
Pam
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snipped-for-privacy@meadows.pair.com writes:

One of our local major suppliers carries Territorial seeds, among others, and will special order for a customer if anything TS carries is not on the rack. It can't get much better than that, variety and in-person service. :-)
Lesson learned this year: Order in December or January so the seeds will be here by April. <g>

I would totally agree with that as a general statement. I'm fortunate enough to live within 15 miles of a greenhouse which provides superior plants and deals chiefly in heirlooms. Their plants are better than anything I could hope to get started. We are also fortunate to have someone in our garden club that loves starting plants and provides some good starts for us (and grows the out-of-the-ordinary). But plants purchased anywhere else are short of perfect or even close.
At our local farmers' market, they sell but are way down on the far end. I always chuckle at the people who buy from the vendors farther north; it's a shorter walk and the plants are 50 cents each cheaper. There is, however, a very obvious (even to the most novice gardener) a tremendous difference in the plants for the 50 cents more. Their plants always look like they have been grown with the tender loving care that they have been. The husband has a passion for tomatoes and the wife has just as great a passion for peppers so they have an unusually large selection of each at the beginning of the season. Their herb selection is outstanding as well. I truly hope they plan to keep their nursery going for many decades to come.
There certainly is nothing that can compare with the satisfaction of starting your own. However, that doesn't seem to be my long suit, most likely because of the relatively constant care seedlings require. To plant the plants, mulch, cage when appropriate, lay down the watering system and then simply turn on the water from time to time is about my speed. <g> If I water the garden a day late, no harm done, but if I water the seedlings a day late, it's not a good thing at all . . . poor little babies. It's a good thing we have our own babies when we are younger; I question how much energy I'd now have for all the dozens of little things each day and how often I'd be down on the floor playing blocks and cars. LOL
About the suppliers, it is important to always remember that one experience (good or bad) is not reflective of a particular vendor/supplier. We all have horror stories about businesses that otherwise provide excellent service; it is a fact that everyone has a bad day and businesses are no exception to that rule. I'll just order from someone else next season and likely not from only one supplier which would have been prudent this year. It's good to learn stuff!
Glenna
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