How to Harvest Sweet Corn & Leave the Husk


Given the right conditions, sweet corn is simple to grow in the home garden. Three varieties of sweet corn--yellow, white and bicolor--offer a wealth of health and flavor benefits throughout the growing season. Sweet corn, originally a Native American dietary staple, has flavored tortillas, polenta, corn meal, cereals and salsas for centuries. Whether steamed, grilled, sauteed, canned or frozen, sweet corn is at the peak of flavor and freshness when used straight from the garden.

Step 1

Watch corn stalks for the silking process to begin. Silks are the long, translucent strands that develop at the end of each ear of corn. From the first appearance of silk, it takes at least five days for pollination to be completed.

Step 2

Wait 18 to 22 days after silking begins to start harvesting sweet corn from the stalks. When ears are firm, husks are green, and silk begins to turn dark brown, harvesting can begin.

Step 3

Remove ears from corn stalks by grabbing the husk-covered ear and pulling it downward, then twisting and pulling it quickly from the stalk, generally in one motion.

Step 4

Remove harvested corn stalks immediately, by cutting or pulling them out of the ground, and cut them into 1-foot lengths for composting.

Tips and Warnings

  • Refrigerate harvested corn immediately if you are not going to eat it right away. Warm temperatures cause the corn's flavor and texture to deteriorate rapidly after the harvest.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife (optional)
  • Gloves


  • University of Illinois Extension-Watch Your Garden Grow: Corn
  • Department of HorticulturalScience North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service: Sweet Corn Production

Who Can Help

  • Home Cooking in Montana: Corn Parfait...or Corn Puddingo
Keywords: harvesting sweet corn, sweet corn varieties, garden fresh sweet 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.