The Q&A Archives: Harvesting Corn

Question: This year for the first time I planted several rows of corn. To my dismay I realize that I don't really know when the ears should be harvested? The silk on some of the ears has dried, but as I live in the desert I was not too concerned as the ears seem to be still growing. How do I tell when my corn is ready for harvesting?

Answer: Corn takes a long season to grow, even in hot climates. Some gardeners start checking for ripeness three weeks after the silks appear. If you don't remember when the silks appeared, you can feel the ears through the husks to see if they seem full, with well-developed kernals. Or, you can pull back part of the husk and check for ripeness by piercing a kernal with your thumbnail. If a milky juice squirts out, they're ready to harvest. If not, pull the husk back up and wait a few days. Then check again.

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