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How to Save Seed Corn

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How to Save Seed Corn

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Overview

This year's crop was a success with cornstalks that towered over your head and an enviable harvest on the way. Rather than taking your chances with next year's crop by purchasing more corn seed, it's easier to save your own. This simple task makes next year's crop something to look forward to. The hardest part about saving seed corn will be finding places to store all those ears of corn from the ample crops you've grown.

Step 1

Select corncobs that you intend to save for seeds and allow them to remain on the stalk to dry as long as possible. If you're worried about birds, tie a paper bag over them and secure it with a string.

Step 2

Harvest your chosen corncobs after the rest of your crop. Leave them on the stalk for an extra two or three days.

Step 3

Remove the corn from the bags and peel back the husks to expose the corn kernels. Leave the husks attached and bunch them together or braid them.

Step 4

Tie a string to the corn husks and hang the corncobs upside down in a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight.

Step 5

Allow the corn to dry out completely; this can take two to three months. The corn kernels will be hard to the touch when they are ready.

Step 6

Hold the corncobs over a container and use your hands to brush the seeds away from the cobs.

Step 7

Visually inspect each kernel to ensure that they are intact and bugs haven't gotten to them.

Step 8

Store the seeds in jars or sealed bags that you have labeled with the date. Keep the jars or bags in a cool, dry place.

Tips and Warnings

  • Hybrid corn and corn that has been cross-pollinated will not be as fertile. This method is only truly effective for non-hybrid corn.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper bags
  • String
  • Container for storage

References

  • Weekend Gardener: How To Save Corn Seed
  • Cognition: Saving Seed of Open Pollinated Sweet Corn Varieties
  • How to Save Seeds: Vegetable Seed Saving Handbook
Keywords: save corn seed, save seeds, store corn seeds

About this Author

Melynda Sorrels spent 10 years in the military working in different capacities of the medical field, including dental assisting, health services administration, decontamination, and urgent medical care. Awarded the National Guardsman’s Medal for Lifesaving efforts in 2002, Sorrels was also a nominee for a Red Cross Award and a certified EMT-B for four years.