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How to save sweet corn seed?

 
Jeanine Gurley
pollinator
Posts: 1399
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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Can someone tell me how to save sweet corn seed? This is organic seed that I purchased from peaceful valley. I've tried looking this up but I'm only finding results for field corn.
 
Joe Braxton
Posts: 320
Location: NC (northern piedmont)
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So far as I know, corn is corn. You just let the cobs mature, dry, and then harvest. I've taken field corn before it hardens and it tastes good roasted. If I'm full of it y'all let me know........
 
Ray South
Posts: 51
Location: Northern Tablelands, NSW, Australia
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Yes indeed, corn is corn. As Joe said, just let it mature and dry down on the plant. If it's wet and you're worried about seed rotting while it dries down you can pick it from dough stage on, shuck it and hang it somewhere dry to finish maturing and drying down completely. Dough stage - pierce a kernel with your finger nail and squeeze. If the interior is gooey and thick like bread dough then you're at dough stage. If it's milky (some say this is the best eating stage for sweet corn) it's too early to harvest for seed.
By the way, corn suffers from inbreeding depression which appears quickly if you save from too few plants. What 'too few' actually is seems open to debate but I've never seen a number less than 100. Don't despair though if you can only save from a few plants. Just go ahead and do it. You'll get reasonable crops for a few years. When you notice your crop getting weaker and production dropping you'll know it's time to buy fresh seed.
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Yip, apperently inbreeding depression happens really fast in corn. The usual minimum number of plants I've read is about 200.
That's a lot of corn!
I wouldn't let it put me off, but if the corn gets more pathetic each season, you'll know what's up...
 
Jeanine Gurley
pollinator
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Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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Thanks for the replies. Sounds like I just need to enjoy eating what little I have and plant a lot more next year with some saving in mind.
 
Nina Jay
Posts: 85
Location: Southern Finland, mean annual temp +4 C, rainfall 700 mm, growing season 180 days, clay soil.
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Thank you for the questions and the answers, I was wondering about the same thing. And one other thing: it seems the only sweet corn seed available in Finland are the different commercial F1 varieties in small sachets. Has anyone tried collecting the seed from these hybrids, is there any point in trying to do so, do you think?

It is always doubtful and depends on the summer whether corn ripens in Finland, the growing season is so short. Anyway the crop is not likely to be very big so the temptation to just eat everything straight away is great But on the other hand, my aim is to grow food for nothing and imported corn seeds are expensive in those little sachets.
 
Lloyd George
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yeah, you definitely want to dry your corn seed on the cob...

the answer to the inbreeding depression is simply to infuse new genetics every few generations..say..every second season, buy out a package or two of fresh seed, and mix it well with your existing seed before planting...seed exchanges are great for this...
 
Jeanine Gurley
pollinator
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Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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Thanks for all of the tips. My corn didn't do well this year so I will try again next year. Hopefully I'll be better prepared.
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Lloyd George wrote:The answer to the inbreeding depression is simply to infuse new genetics every few generations..say..every second season, buy out a package or two of fresh seed, and mix it well with your existing seed before planting...seed exchanges are great for this...

Jeanine, apologies: this is a hijack
I'm pretty curious about this stuff...I wonder, if I plant potentially inbred seed from several sources, I suppose it's a bit of a 'lucky dip' that some will still have genetic strenth in an area where another is weakened?
 
Afghani Nurmat
Posts: 24
Location: southern germany
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@Nina Jay
I know it`s a little late, but you might want to take a look at these:

http://www.victoryseeds.com/corn_yukon-chief.html

http://sustainableseedco.com/heirloom-vegetable-seeds/ce-k/corn-heirloom-seeds/heirloom-sweet-corn-seed/luther-hill-sweet-corn-seeds.html

These are open pollinated and adapted to northern climates; that is very early maturing and cold resistant.

in case the links are not ok, because commercial the strain names are luther hill and yucon chief. both sweet corns.


take care,
afghani
 
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