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.
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...
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.
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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...
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?
Hi, This post is old but still very useful.
On the issue of the 100 plants to generate the seeds, I've heard tell that the Mexicans etc sow their corn in fields with wild corn growing nearby , in order to regenerate their stock. Maybe it would be possible to do some really internation cross pollination by exchanging seeds between countries?
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