Corn is a point of some contention in our family, one of the few subjects that we don’t agree upon wholeheartedly. I like corn; it’s tasty when it’s really fresh and sweet, it’s fairly easy to grow, and it makes good biomass for the compost. Heck, I just like the way it looks in a garden. Emily, however, is quick to point out that is has one of the worst dollars-per-square foot returns of anything we plant, is time intensive, and uses up a lot of garden space that could go to growing something else. This year, I planted two full beds of it- one was sweet corn (which she does admit was pretty tasty to eat) and the other in popcorn.
Now, you have to know, that I have tried popcorn before. I excitedly planted some in Guatemala, thinking I could leave a legacy to the kids who were always eager to eat popcorn at our house. However, we had to leave before it got harvested, and I never did find out if it worked or not. I assume it got harvested, mashed, and turned into tortillas like every other corn in those parts. I can see them now, shaken their head at how small the kernels are and wondering what I was thinking.
With that in mind, I was excited to see our popcorn stand actually grow this year. When the weather turned foul, I harvested all the ears so they could dry indoors. I put most of the ears in one of the ventilated plastic bins I made for the potatoes, and I hung a few cobs from the rafters of the shed, as a nod to the way our Mayan neighbors always did it.
“Someone’s snacking on your corn,” Emily said a few days later as she came in from the shed. A quick inspection revealed that mice had discovered the suspended cobs and had made a meal of them (much like they do in Guatemala. Huh.). I cleaned up the mess, saw that the lid was secure on the bin, and went about my business.
In the next few weeks, I occasionally noticed corn scraps on the floor of the shed, and assumed that I’d missed some in the corners and the mice were scattering it around. Today, however, I decided to clean more thoroughly and discovered this: a mouse-sized hole in the back of the corn bin.
What was I thinking, that mice can’t chew through plastic? I feel kind of silly, and my popcorn supply is entirely gone. They ate it ALL. I guess I will miss homegrown popcorn yet another year. Note to self: next year, use metal storage bins for grains.