Garden + Gardening + Gardening Tips & Advice

Harvesting - Corn, Sweet and Popcorn

Fast Facts

Planting to Harvest The earlier varieties ripen in 60 to 80 days. Later varieties require 80 to 100 or more days.
Average Yield One ear per plant with two if plants have plenty of room, water and fertilizer.
Recommended planting for a family of five 400 feet
Recommended Uses

Tasty cooked on cob, boiled, broiled/grilled or steamed.

When removed from cob, is suited to boiling, steaming, stir-fry/saute, braise/stew, bake, pressure cooked or microwaved.

Suited to side dishes, stews, soups, casseroles, frying (parched corn), etc.

Additional Information

Harvest Recommendations

Corn should be picked in cooler weather - in the morning or in the evening. About 3 weeks after silks first appear corn is generally mature. Make sure the silks turn brown, dry, and the ears feel firm. Check kernels on the end of the ear to make sure they are firm and milky.

Give each ear a squeeze to determine if the ears are full, rounded, and firm. With experience, the gardener will recognize ears that are ready to harvest. Pulling back leaves or splitting a slit in leaves to look at corn exposes inside to insect invasion.

Corn tastes the best when it is picked as close to cooking and eating time as possible. Standard varieties should be cooked and eaten soon after picking. The more quickly it is cooked after harvest, the sweeter it will remain. The sugars start to turn to starch 20 to 30 minutes after picking.

Once corn is picked, it should be husked and placed in boiling water as soon as possible - the flavor will begin to change within 20 minutes of picking.

Storage and Preservation Methods

Storage: the supersweet and sugary enhanced varieties will hold their flavor longer, both on the stalk and after picking. These varieties should be cooked and eaten within 12 hours.

Corn can be stored if left in the husk, but loses some of its sweet flavor.


Corn, Sweet and Popcorn


Plant on the north side of the garden because corn plants are tall and will shade other garden plants.