The Best Time to Pick Corn – An Expert’s Advice

Corn is one of the most widely-grown and important crops in the world. It’s a staple food for many cultures, but it can also be used to feed animals, make bioplastics, fuel cars, create plastics, and so much more. For those growing corn, understanding when to pick it is key for maximizing yields and enjoying its best flavors. But picking corn correctly is not always an easy task. In this blog post, we will discuss what you need to know about when to pick corn, including optimal harvest time, factors that impact harvesting, indicators of ripeness, preparation tips, harvesting techniques, storage options, and common challenges with picking.

What Is The Optimal Harvest Time For Corn?

The optimal harvest time for corn is between 18 to 20 days after silking. Silking occurs when small hairs appear on the top of the ear – these are the first sign that the kernels are forming. Once these hairs have appeared, you should check the ears every few days until they reach their peak sweetness and starchiness. This typically takes about 18-20 days from the time of silking, depending on environmental conditions and variety.

Factors That Impact When To Pick Corn

There are several environmental factors that can affect when to pick corn, such as temperature and rainfall. High temperatures can cause the ears to mature faster, while cooler temperatures can slow down the maturation process. Additionally, too little or too much rain can lead to fewer or smaller ears.

when to pick corn

Indicators Of Ripeness In Corn

Knowing when to pick your corn can be tricky, but there are some helpful indicators of ripeness. First, look at the color of the husk – if it’s brownish-yellow or yellowish-green, then it’s probably ready to go. Secondly, feel around the base of the ear and see if the kernels feel full and plump. Finally, snap off a kernel near the end of the ear and examine it – if the juice inside is milky rather than clear, then it’s ripe and ready to harvest!

How To Prepare For Harvesting Corn

When preparing to harvest your corn crop, there are several steps you can take beforehand to ensure maximum yield. Make sure you’ve provided enough space between rows for easier access during harvest season; leave at least three feet of space between each row for larger equipment. Also, remove any weeds or other plants that may be competing for nutrients before harvesting begins. You should also test soil quality before planting to determine any potential nutrient deficiencies or excesses that could hinder growth.

Harvesting Techniques For Maximum Yields

To maximize yields during harvesting season, make sure you’re using the correct tools and techniques. Begin by removing the husks of each ear and tying them together in bunches of four or five. Then use sharp pruning shears or scissors to snip off the stems without damaging the cobs. Once all of the ears are harvested, spread them out on tarps or other flat surfaces in a single layer and let them dry in direct sunlight for two to three days. After they’re completely dried out, store them away in airtight containers or bags.

Corn Storage And Post-Harvest Care

Once you’ve picked your corn, it’s essential to store it properly in order to maintain freshness and quality. Store freshly-picked corn in a cool area with low humidity (around 40 degrees Fahrenheit). Do not refrigerate it as this can cause it to become mealy or tough. You should also keep it away from fruits and vegetables as ethylene gas emitted from these items can hasten spoilage in corn. To extend its shelf life even further, wrap each cob individually in plastic wrap before storing them in an airtight container.

Common Challenges When Picking Corn

Picking corn isn’t always straightforward. Some common challenges include identifying signs of ripeness and controlling pests. As discussed above, there are certain indicators that tell you when corn is ripe and ready to pick – however, sometimes these signs aren’t easily visible. Additionally, bugs like aphids and borers can attack corn stalks and reduce yields if not managed properly. Spraying insecticides during flowering periods can help protect against infestations.


Understanding when to pick corn is critical for optimizing yields and achieving the highest quality possible. There are many factors that can influence when it’s ready to harvest, including weather patterns and pest management strategies. Knowing how to identify indicators of ripeness and proper preparation methods can help ensure successful harvests year after year. With careful planning and attention to detail, you’ll be able to enjoy delicious sweetcorn from your own backyard!

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