16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Saturday, May 20, 1911: Oh psh aw, this is hardly worth writing. I planted some popcorn this morning, and was kept busy nearly all afternoon.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
A 1911 book called How to Grow Vegetables by Allen French describes how popcorn (and sweetcorn) were grown a hundred years ago. The book says that the same methods were used for both types of corn. According to the book :
Being very tender it is not planted till all danger of frost is over. The warmest and “quickest” of all soils should be chosen. The ground should be rich, and well supplied with quickly available fertilizers.
Sow— If the ground is cold or wet, sow thickly in the rows.
Thin—Twelve to eighteen inches apart, according to height of variety.
Culture—Preserve the surface mulch, and keep down the weeds.
Fertilizer—Any good general fertilizer, liberally applied, as corn is an exhaustive crop; should be rich in nitrogen for a sandy soil. Dress once with nitrate of soda or liquid manure when the plants are up.