A BOOMCHICKAPOP® Gardening Quiz by Teresa O’Connor

From backyard prep to harvest, our friend and master gardener, Teresa from Seasonal Wisdom  knows what’s best when it comes to keeping a fantastical popcorn garden. Check out this fun gardening quiz to see how green your thumb is.

The answers are below, but try not to peek. Your fairy snackmother will see. Good luck!

1.  What is most important for healthy vegetable gardens?

a)     The latest hybrid plant varieties

b)     Well-draining, fertile soil made with lots of organic matter

c)     A scarecrow to keep away birds

d)     Attractive containers

2.  What types of organic matter can you add to garden soil to improve its texture, add valuable microorganisms and help plants fight diseases?

a)     Compost

b)     Manure

c)     Worm castings

d)     All of the above

3.  Which one of these vegetables grows well in partial sun, 3 to 4 hours a day?

a)     Corn

b)     Tomatoes

c)     Lettuces

d)     Squash

4.  Which plant should not be grown until after the last frost date?

a)     Radishes

b)     Corn/Popcorn

c)     Peas

d)     Arugula

5.  What is crop rotation?

a)     A new type of organic fertilizer

b)     A mechanical tool used in agriculture to prepare soil

c)     The process of rotating crops annually to prevent pests and pathogens

d)      When plants rotate while growing in hot climates

6.  What should you do if you see bees in your vegetable garden?

a)     Grab the pesticide

b)     Stay indoors with the windows shut

c)     Scream for joy

d)     All of the above

7.  How can you help corn and popcorn to self-pollinate effectively?

a)     Plant vegetables in one long row

b)     Sow only one or two plants in the yard

c)     Plant corn only once every five years in the garden

d)     Plant vegetables in “blocks” of short rows

8.  When should you harvest popcorn?

a)     As soon as the corn husks form on the plant

b)     About two weeks after sowing seeds

c)     When the husks are completely dry and the kernels are hard

d)     Whenever you want

9.  What’s the best flavor with which to top your popcorn?

a)     Olive oil, coconut oil, butter

b)     Raw honey or maple syrup

c)     Cinnamon, cumin or cayenne

d)     All of the above

 

ANSWERS:

1.  B. Soil doesn’t seem very exciting, but the quality of your garden soil determines the health of your vegetable plants. Never underestimate the importance of soil.  Improving your soil regularly is one of the best things you can do for your garden

2.  D. All three are good soil amendments. Add a couple inches of organic matter to your garden beds in spring and fall to build a fertile, loamy soil for your vegetables to thrive.

3.  C. Lettuces are cool-season vegetables, which grow well in 3 to 4 hours of sun, preferably in the morning.  Corn, tomatoes and squash require full sun or at least 6 hours of sun daily

4.  B. Corn and popcorn should be planted about a week after your last frost date, when the soil temperatures are 60 degrees F. or higher. We don’t want those puppies getting cold!

5.  C. Crop rotation is one of the best ways to grow an organic vegetable garden.  When vegetables grow in the same spot year after year, they experience more diseases and pests. That’s why it’s a good idea to rotate “crops” so vegetables from the same botanical family don’t grow in the same place more than once every three years.

For instance, if you grew tomatoes in that raised bed last year, don’t grow family members such as peppers or potatoes there this year. Instead, rotate them to other garden spots for a couple more years. Let’s face it…who wants to live with the same family members anyway?

6.  C. Be happy if you see bees in your garden! Unlike wasps, bees are the most important pollinators of food crops. Without bees, we wouldn’t have many of our favorite foods, such as blueberries, avocados or onions.

Provide a nice home for bees by avoiding pesticides in your garden. Grow flowering, nectar-rich plants such as sunflowers, asters, lavenders, lupines and sages to attract bees.  When gardening, wear white or light colors. Avoid wearing dark colors or heavy perfumes, which may aggravate or excite bees. No one likes aggravated or excited bees!

7.  D. Grow corn and popcorn in blocks of short rows to improve the self-pollination process and increase your yield.

8.  C. Wait until the husks are completely dry and brittle before harvesting, typically after 85 to 110 days depending on the variety. Dehusk the corn ears, and store kernels in mesh bags in a dry, cool, well-ventilated place. Popcorn kernels have high moisture content at harvest, so allow them to dry. After a couple weeks, try popping a few kernels. Keep trying a few kernels every week until they pop well. When the popcorn is properly dry, store it in a sealed jar

9.  D. All of these ingredients – and so many more – can be used to flavor popcorn.  Be creative and have fun. Stay tuned to GrowSomeBoom.com for more ideas on flavors and recipes.

Now, go check on your popcorn, will ya?

Learn more about Teresa and her growing adventure with BOOMCHICKAPOP® here: http://www.seasonalwisdom.com/2014/04/grow-popcorn/