SLC
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Is my corn ready to be picked?

I heard the silk has to be dark brown and run into the top, but I don't know for sure. See below - is it dark brown enough yet? I heard you can peel open the top and poke a kernel, but I am afraid to, because as you can see, there are tiny bugs and if I open it and it's not ready, they will for sure get in (if they aren't already!).

Any advice?

(Click each to enlarge)

Corn:
IMG_1027.JPG
IMG_1027.JPG (50.15 KiB) Viewed 642 times
Closeups:
IMG_1006.JPG
IMG_1007.JPG
Also, what are those bugs? Some are small and round but some are like the size of a pinhead. They are all in the corn silk. Is that bad? Do you think they are inside the corn already? One of them looks like a spider, gross. I don't spray anything on my garden - should I spray some organic bug spray? Is it needed?

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ElizabethB
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Re: Is my corn ready to be picked?

SLC - brown silk is usually an indication or ripeness. If in doubt peel back the husk and pop a kernel with your fingernail. If ripe it should POP and release corn milk. If it does not POP, replace the husk and let the corn sit for another couple of days.

Good luck.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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tomf
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Re: Is my corn ready to be picked?

It looks that way, yes.
The things I do are an evolution and I am always learning. My way is not the only way of doing things, and I may and will change the way I do things as I learn better ways. So any advice that I give is in that spirit.

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jal_ut
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Re: Is my corn ready to be picked?

Feel the cob, does it feel full and are the husks tight? Peel the husk back a bit and look at it. You want to look at it down a couple of inches as the tips sometimes never do fill out on some corn.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/- Plant a Garden

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applestar
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Re: Is my corn ready to be picked?

Yep appearance of silks do not seem to be very reliable test. After about 3-4, you can start to tell more-or-less by the feel of the kernels from outside the husk, but you can get surprised when you peel back.

If Japanese beetles, click beetles, Stinkbugs, etc. are in your corn, it's better to tape the husk back closed with masking tape or something if the cob is not ready, so they can't get at the kernels. If you see a round hole in the husk, you have a corn earworm in there.

Those black bugs might be aphids.
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imafan26
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Re: Is my corn ready to be picked?

I can usually tell by counting back the days from when the tassel appeared. Corn is usually just about ready to pick 10 days after the tassels appear in summer (Winter corn is a different story, slower growth.)
The other indication besides the brown silks is that the corn ear will have moved away from the stalk, so the ear will be at a less acute angle.
I do peel back my husks to check the corn, but I also feel the kernels through the husk to check if they feel full.
The silk in your picture looks like it can go a few days more, but not too much, if you wait too long the ears will be starchy.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

SLC
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Re: Is my corn ready to be picked?

Well, here is what happened. I couldn't stand not knowing, so I went ahead and peeled the husk back and poked a kernel, but the liquid was clear - not quite ready yet, BUT, since I figured those mini bugs would get in, I just picked it anyway - 2 ears. And here they are:
IMG_1030.JPG
I took a little bite of one, and it wasn't sweet yet, so I threw some sugar in the water and boiled 'em up anyway, added some butter and salt and they turned out awesome!

Mm, mm good!
IMG_1032.JPG
I went out to check again today and the silk was an even darker brown. I think maybe by Saturday-Monday they should be good to go, and then the next batch should be ready and the next batch, etc. (I planted 4 batches 2 weeks apart). So now I will have corn coming out my ears for like the next month! :-()

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lakngulf
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Re: Is my corn ready to be picked?

I will send up a few of my neighborhood raccoons and they will let you know if it is ready or not. They get it about four days before you want to pick it.
Nutin as good as a kitchen sink mater sammich

imafan26
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Re: Is my corn ready to be picked?

Sweetness can depend on the variety you chose. Golden bantam is not sweet, it is regular corn. This would be what I would give to the birds or you would dry them if you were into making your own corn meal.
There are sugar enhanced sweet and super sweets. They contain a se or sh2(shrunken kernal) genes for extra sweetness. These types of corn do not have the keepig quality of the regular corn and they are mostly hybrids so won't breed true, but they can be eaten fresh picked right off the stalk and they are harvested when the juices are in the milk stage. When the juice becomes thick, it is old and starchy. The earliest supersweets had to be cooked immediately to keep them from getting starchy, but the new ones can keep a day or two.
Mirai, Silver King (or Queen), Peaches and Cream, Honey N' Pearl, Illini Xtrasweet, XtraTender, etc.

Most temperate corn will need 14-16 hours a day to produce a good yield

For those of us who have short days we have a longer growing season but not the long day so I have been successful growing northern corn only in the peak of summer and only a few varieties produced well.

It is interesting to note that nearly all of the corn seeds you buy have probably had some of their ancestors grown in Hawaii as the seed corn industry is now the biggest agricultural entity having taken over some of the former cane and pineapple fields.

Golden Cross bantam, IlliniXtrasweet , UH number 9, HU number 10 (both are Hawaiian super sweet), Silver Queen, and Silver King are the varieties I have grown. Golden bantam is not sweet unless you add sugar to it, the others can be picked at eaten in the field and are very sweet. Silver queen and UH supersweets are tight husked so there is usually not much insect damage.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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jal_ut
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Re: Is my corn ready to be picked?

I have been planting Ambrosia Hybrid corn. It is a bi-color and is nice and sweet. Give it a try.

You can do a Google search for "Ambrosia Corn" to get a description of it.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/- Plant a Garden

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TheWaterbug
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Re: Is my corn ready to be picked?

imafan26 wrote:I can usually tell by counting back the days from when the tassel appeared. Corn is usually just about ready to pick 10 days after the tassels appear in summer (Winter corn is a different story, slower growth.)
Did you mean 10 days after full silk?

When I grow corn I get tassels weeks in advance of silk, and then after I get silk it still takes quite a while to produce edible corn.
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

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