Is the corn ready? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

This is kind of silly, but we still live in the 'burbs and are trying to do a compost pile. Well, to our surprise....3 cornstalks are growing right out of the edge of the pile! Two are small, but the one is very tall (over 6 ft) and has corn cobs on it! Not sure how many, but when would we pick them? I can hear y'all laughing at us "city folk", but we really are trying to learn! Thanks for any help. Kathy in Va

-- Kathy (, August 17, 2001


Hi Kathy! I started out learning in the city as well! It all helps. We have since moved to an acreage and had a huge garden this year! Just do not be disappointed if you have bugs in the corn. I have heard that they are ready to harvest when the silk turns brown. I opened some corn when I lived in the city and had these huge worms on them. (I am guessing corn ear worms, but I didn't want to look closely at the time) I was really disapointed. Maybe you will be lucky though. I have also heard that when they start to show silk that you can use mineral oil on them and that will make the bugs think twice about getting into the ear of corn. Lack of development in the ear could be due to lack of water. Hope this helps. If you do not want to eat the corn, save it for seed! :o) ~Brenda~

-- Brenda (, August 17, 2001.

mostly a corn stalk gets 2 ears on it.If you want to save it for seed ,leave it on the stalk till brown and dried. And no question is ever to be laughted at, we all had to start somewhere. If you need help, ask, there are a great group here to help. what one doesn't know someone else will. best of gardening

-- Lexi Green (, August 17, 2001.

The problem is corn needs to be in (blocks or rows of at least 4 rows wide )to insure proper pollination.If it doesn't pollinate the kernels won't develope.It will more than likely end up with very few kernels on the cob.....

-- Steve in Ohio (, August 17, 2001.

If you want to pick this corn for roasting ears, feel the tip of the cob within the shucks. If it's pointed, it's either not ready or you got poor pollination and the kernels on the end aren't developed completely. On the other hand, if it's rounded, somewhat blunt, the corn is usually ready for eating as "green corn" or boiled with butter and salt. If you want to feel then judge how accurate your guess is, pull the shucks back a little to see what you have. Good luck.

Oh, about being laughed at--we all had to start as beginners some time.

-- marilyn (, August 17, 2001.

That reminds me of the lonely corn stalk we had growing near our basement bulkhead doors. The lone seed fell there when I was setting a chipmunk trap in early Spring. Anyway, corn won't develop unless it pollinates,which is done via wind, and it doesn't pollinate unless grown in at least four rows. When you check corn to see if it's ripe, it's best not to open the ear because then bugs will get in. We can tell by feeling it--it takes practice!

We had lousey germination with our early corn this year, which I chalk up to a cold spring. Some of my corn is ready but it's late and we won't have any extra to freeze this year.

-- amy (, August 17, 2001.

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