How and When to Harvest Corn

When to Harvest Corn? Many times, I am asked when is the best time to harvest corn and in today’s article, we are going to see the two key moments to harvest corn. Also, I explain how to know when corn is ready to harvest.

Before we start giving information about the corn harvesting season, we must make it clear that the dates may vary depending on the different agro-climatic conditions in each area and each crop year.

The rains, or the lack of them, and the more or less high temperatures, favor that the corn harvest is advanced or delayed.

Read on if you want to know when to harvest corn, whether it is for dry grain, baby corn, or sweet corn.

When to Harvest Corn

When to Harvest Corn? Corn usually reaches physiological maturity around November (Northern Hemisphere), at which time the grains will be ready for harvesting.

As already mentioned, these dates can vary depending on the agro-climatic conditions of the crop year, influencing the planting date and the development of the grain.

In years with very dry summers, the corn harvest was brought forward to the end of September.

The same differences can occur between different growing areas, depending on the conditions in each.

It is important to know that when to harvest corn is not an exact science, that the weather, the planting season, and the development of the crop can cause the harvest time to be advanced or delayed a few weeks.

It is for this reason that giving specific dates does not make much sense, being much better to learn to make a visual inspection of the ears, to make sure that they are in the optimal state for harvesting.

when to harvest corn
When to Harvest Corn? There is no exact date for the corn harvest. Harvest will depend on several factors such as weather.

When to Harvest Sweet Corn

When to Harvest Sweet Corn? In this case, the corn is harvested before it is fully mature, just when the kernel is full but not yet hardened.

Harvesting for baby or sweet corn takes place approximately 20 days after flowering and, therefore, usually coincides with August or September, depending on the growing conditions.

Tips For Harvesting Sweet Corn:

  • Harvest sweet corn early in the morning or late in the afternoon, trying to ensure that the temperature is cool, and the ears are not hot.
  • Harvest the ears with their wrappings and keep them that way until the moment of consumption.
  • Transport the ears immediately to a cool place protected from direct sunlight.
  • Consume as soon as possible, or process for canning.

How to Know When Corn is Ready to Harvest

How to Know When Corn is Ready to Harvest? The ideal time to harvest corn is usually between 100 and 150 days after planting, when the corn ear is in an ideal condition (tender and soft).

This time can vary greatly depending on the type and condition of the seed, as well as the area where it was planted and its weather conditions.

When the crop is destined for the food industry, the aim is to achieve optimum drying of the grain (moisture content below 15%), either by drying it in silos or by postponing its collection for a short period. The latter option is the least advisable since the effects of the weather or pests can worsen its condition.

how to know when corn is ready to harvest
Corn ready to be harvested.

How to Harvest Corn

How to Harvest Corn? Harvesting corn is simple, to do this we grab the corn ear with one hand, and with the other, we hold the stalk and pull it down, once down, we give a little twist with the hand and ready, and we have harvested! If possible, it is advisable to harvest the corn in the morning.

If you have never tried sweet corn in your garden, I recommend that you do it, it is a dish that is great to accompany or to eat on the grill, and with these tips, you can harvest it at the most optimal time for it.

Once harvested keep the corn ear in the refrigerator until consumption, more or less three days and if you see that you are not going to consume them, you can freeze them but as more delicious are freshly harvested on the grill!

When the corn ear is ripe and ready to be harvested is the moment when it contains the highest amount of sugar and also if we leave it on the stalk without harvesting the ear will lose this sweetness as the sugar turns into starch.

How to Store Corn

How to Store Corn? You should store corn in the refrigerator for several days. Something a little more durable is to store it in pickled form, which lasts 3 months, or to dry it, which lasts 9 months. For something more durable, you should freeze, which lasts between 8 and 12 months, or canning, which lasts between 3 and 5 years.

If you want to know more about the corn plant, we recommend our articles about How to Grow Corn and How Long Do Corn Take to Grow.

how to store corn
How to Store Corn? There are several ways to store corn, the most common is in the refrigerator.
About Henry Morgan

We are the Morgans, Henry, and Julia, both agronomists from the University of Michigan, where we met. We are experts in putting our hands in the soil and developing organic foods and improving production processes for decades. Likewise, we have worked for companies such as Mondelez International, BASF, Monsanto, etc. currently in our role as science writers for as well as advisors in promoting large scale food growing in urbanized areas. In this website, we share what we are most passionate about, gardening and farming. Enjoy and see real photos on our website.