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How and When to Harvest Corn

The days it takes to harvest corn can vary depending on the specific corn variety you are growing and the weather conditions during the season. Corn comes in different maturity types, ranging from early to late maturing. Depending on these factors, the days to harvest corn (or days to maturity) can typically go from around 60 to 100 days or even longer. So, When to Harvest Corn, and How to Know They Are Ready to Pick? I am often asked when is the best time to harvest corn, and in today’s article, we will 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 clarify that the dates may vary depending on the agro-climatic conditions in each area and 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 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), when the grains will be ready for harvesting.

As 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 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 and 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.

This is why 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, and How to Know They Are Ready to Pick? 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 fully matures, just when the kernel is full but not yet hardened.

Harvesting for baby or sweet corn takes place approximately 20 days after flowering and 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 the temperature is cool and the ears are not hot.
  • Harvest the ears with their wrappings and keep them that way until 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 perfect (tender and soft) condition.

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 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 is ready to harvest.

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, are ready, and 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, 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.

Pick and Store Corn

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

Final Thoughts Regarding Picking Corn When Is Ready

In conclusion, knowing when to harvest corn and when corn is ready for harvest is a matter of keen observation and consideration of several key indicators.

As the ears of corn develop, their size, color, and texture change, offering valuable readiness indicators. The progression of the silk color, the feel of the kernels when squeezed, and the appearance of the husks are all vital clues to assess the maturity of the corn.

By watching these aspects and considering the variety you grow, you can confidently determine the optimal moment to harvest your corn. Pay attention to these factors to ensure you harvest corn at its peak sweetness and tenderness. This ensures you enjoy your corn crop’s best flavor, texture, and overall quality.

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.

harvest and store corn after picking
How to Store Corn After Picking? There are several ways to store corn after harvest. The most common is in the refrigerator.

About Henry Morgan

Henry Morgan is an agronomist horticulture founder of The Garden Style Company and The Garden Style Website. He previously worked for Mondelēz International as an Agronomist Engineer specializing in agricultural products management in highly populated areas. In 2000, Henry started working with farmer-producers in agricultural businesses selling wholesale fresh produce and retail plants in Van Buren, Arkansas. Nowadays, Henry lives in California, where he offers expert consulting services for organic vegetable gardening. As a science writer working with his wife, Julia, Henry shares his passion for gardening and farming, trying to reach and teach as many folks as possible.

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