How to Dry Corn for Seed

Overview

Growing next year's garden crop using the seeds in this season's corn field is easy and can be a fun experiment for novice gardeners or families. Gardeners can save the seed from corn plants that are non-hybrid. Hybridized corn varieties may not produce fertile seeds. Check your seed packet to determine whether the corn you're growing is hybrid or non-hybrid, then plan to harvest seed accordingly.

Step 1

Choose the ears to use for drying early in the season, once your corn plants have developed ears. Pick the strongest and best-developed of the early ears to dry for seed.

Step 2

Slip a brown paper bag over one ear, then cover another ear with a second bag. The bag needs to be long enough that you can fit it over the entire ear and tie off the bag at the bottom to keep out pests. Tie the bag closed at the base of the stalk using twine. Do not use a plastic bag.

Step 3

Leave the bag on the corn cob for the entire growing season. When the other stalks begin to dry out and turn tan colored, you can remove the corn cobs you've bagged.

Step 4

Pull the bag off the ears. Then pluck the ears off the stalk. Bring the corn cobs indoors and strip away the husks to expose the kernels.

Step 5

Hang the corn cobs indoors, using twine tied to the stem end to hang them. Do not hang them outdoors where rodents or birds can eat them. Allow the corn cobs to hang until they are fully dried out, which can take one to two weeks.

Step 6

Take the corn cobs down. Pull the kernels off. They should easily come loose. Store the seed kernels in a plastic bag in your refrigerator through the fall and winter months until you can plant the seed.

Things You'll Need

  • Brown paper bags
  • Twine
  • Sealable plastic bag

References

  • Weekend Gardener: How to Save Corn Seed
Keywords: corn seed, seed saving, dry corn seed

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.