How to Collect Sweet Corn Seeds


Sweet corn, a dietary staple for centuries, is a rich source of vitamins, minerals and protein. This flavorful vegetable is classified in three unique types (normal sugary, sugar enhancer and super sweet) depending on the gene that controls the level of sugar within each kernel. For most varieties of sweet corn, it takes 50 to 90 days from planting to harvest of edible ears. For best flavor, cook and eat sweet corn immediately after harvest.

Step 1

Allow corn to ripen on the stalk. Seed corn will be ready to harvest 4 to 6 weeks after all edible corn has been harvested.

Step 2

Pull husks back to inspect ears of corn for signs of insect or worm infestation. Discard any infected specimens.

Step 3

Attach corn to hangers, by the husks, with clothes pins and hang them in a dark, dry, cool location to dry. Thorough drying can take from 2 to 3 months.

Step 4

Check ears of corn for off-color or smooth kernels. Remove these kernels before shelling, as these seeds will produce inferior plants when propagated.

Step 5

Shell seed corn into a large bowl by gripping the ear with both hands and twisting each hand in opposite directions to dislodge kernels.

Step 6

Store seed corn in an airtight jar, labeled with the corn variety and date of harvest.

Tips and Warnings

  • Make certain that there is no moisture in the drying area, as this can cause mold to form on the drying ears of corn.

Things You'll Need

  • Established sweet corn
  • Hangers
  • Clothes pins
  • Bowl
  • Glass jars with lids
  • Labels
  • Marker or pen


  • International Seed Saving Institute: Corn
  • Ecological Agriculture Projects: Saving Seed of Open Pollinated Sweet Corn Varieties
  • University of Illinois Extension-Watch Your Garden Grow: Corn

Who Can Help

  • Corn
Keywords: harvesting sweet corn, saving corn seed, drying ears of corn

About this Author

Deborah Waltenburg has been a freelance writer since 2002. In addition to her work for Demand Studios, Waltenburg has written for websites such as Freelance Writerville and Constant Content, and has worked as a ghostwriter for travel/tourism websites and numerous financial/debt reduction blogs.