saving corn seed

My corn cobs are looking plump but I want to keep some for seeds. Could I break a cob in half to eat it and save the seeds of the other? It's just that I don't have too many plants and I read somewhere that I need at least 25 to keep up the viability. But I also want to test the product. :-)
I will overlook the fact that these 25 plants come from about 2 or 3 corncobs themselves.
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Loki [ Brevity is the soul of wit. W.Shakespeare ]
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Loki said:

The whole cob needs to mature on the plant until the seeds are dry. At that point, they can be stored for planting or processed for corn meal. And they won't be plump anymore, but dented or wrinkled.
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Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

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On Fri, 05 Mar 2004 04:58:00 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@someplace.net.net (Pat Kiewicz) wrote:

Indeed. Here is a nifty site for seed-saving:
http://www.seedsave.org/issi/issi_904.html
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Pat Kiewicz wrote:

I disagree. If Loki wants to eat part of the ear of corn, I am sure that would work. I would open the husks, snap out maybe 2/3 of the ear then use something like a twist tie to reclose the husks. I wouldn't want the birds finding the rest of the cob as the remaining seeds mature.
Steve
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il Fri, 05 Mar 2004 07:46:09 -0500, Steve ha scritto:


So it's about keeping the cob on the plant untill dry then? I've often wondered how long seeds need to actually grow before they can be saved and be viable. I mean as soon as a fruit is edible, maybe the seeds are viable, and the same for corn but needing drying as well.?
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Loki wrote:

Yeah, you'll have to keep the corn on the cob until the seeds mature. Mature corn seeds are hard and nearly dry. We eat fresh corn at a much earlier stage, when it is still young and tender. Many fruits have mature seeds when the fruit is ripe. Tree fruits and melons come to mind. On the other hand, cucumbers are a fruit that we eat when still green and the seeds are still soft. A fully ripe cucumber isn't something most people would want to eat.
Steve
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il Fri, 05 Mar 2004 20:41:19 -0500, Steve ha scritto:

Makes sense.
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I have to disagree with your disagreement ;-). Breaking a portion off a cob will leave the exposed end of the cob portion left on the stalk open to all sorts of molds and/or bacterial infection. A more practical way would be to eat some whole cobs and leave some others on the plant to dry. However, there will still be several caveats, e.g. this will only work with a non-hybrid, open pollinated sweet corn. Plus, since corn is wind pollinated, unless there is no other variety of sweet corn within a minimum of 1 mile of the stuff you want to save, it'll be a crap shoot as to what characteristics the corn from your saved seeds will have. You could easily eat some of the cobs of corn you have grown and find them delicious so you let some cobs remain on the plant to dry for seed. Depending on what pollen fertilized your original cobs, after all your work of saving and planting, you could have altogether different tasting corn. This is particularly true in an area like the one in which I live, where corn is a very popular cash crop and there are thousands of acres of many different varieties grown. At least, if Loki attempts saving his/her own corn seed, it will be an interesting learning experience.
Ross
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Ross Reid wrote:

I have to disagree with your disagreeing with my disagreement...
Just kidding. ;-)
Let me just tell my experiences on this subject.
1. Some years, including last year, I had some birds get into my corn. Some of the ears were stripped open and 90% of the corn was eaten. Last year it was some Indian ornamental corn that peeked into early. I got the birds going and they learned to open the other ears on their own. I've had them get into sweet corn in other years. I don't pick the ears that are mostly eaten. At the end of the season, even though the cobs are destroyed and do have some mold on them, the seeds at the stem end that the birds didn't reach, matured just fine. I still think if Loki were to do as I suggested, taking care to close the husks back up, there would be plenty of good seed.
2. Four years ago, I left a few ears of Seneca Horizon corn (yes, it's a hybrid) unpicked. It is my early variety of corn and we moved on to the better, later varieties. Purely for the fun of it, I saved the seeds. I planted it to see what I would get. To my surprise, it was fine. Little if any difference from the original seed. I planted the same batch of seed the next two years as well. Last year was the 3rd year, the seed was getting old and produced too many runts. Time to buy some new seed, since I didn't bother to save more seed (partly because I started growing that Indian corn next to it).
3. I fully agree with your last part, above.
Steve
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il Fri, 05 Mar 2004 21:12:17 -0500, Steve ha scritto:

It's all very useful information either way. :-) I learn and enjoy. I am just glad our birds are numbskulls and so far only decimate my tomatoes at ground level and haven't discovered corn stripping. Maybe my neighbour's thrown out bread is spoiling them.
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il Fri, 05 Mar 2004 20:24:31 GMT, Ross Reid ha scritto:
[snip other posters]

Which is why I have a nice tall row of jerusalem artichokes as a wind barrier. ( I hope.) However the several gales we have had may've brought more pollen through. I have plain yellow corn that I'm trying to maintain, as I don't want that sweet yellow and white one. My neighbour's corn is all dead and brown while mine are still growing, so hopefully the pollen times didn't match. It's now autumn so I'm hoping they can keep growing long enough to mature before it gets too cold. I've still got seeds from last year anyway. Next time I may even get to plant them earlier. <hah!>
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Loki wrote:

One thing you can do, if you suspect cross pollination may have occurred, is look closely at the seed before you shell it off the cob. If you see any that are a different color, kick them out. Even pollination by another yellow corn might be visible as slightly darker or lighter seeds. By the way, do you live in Tasmania or something? Just trying to figure out where the season is that short in the southern hemisphere. ;-)
Steve
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il Sat, 06 Mar 2004 12:21:06 -0500, Steve ha scritto:

Thanks for the tips.
I'm not sure why our NZ season is so bad. Most days we have had heavy cloud cover, like today :-(. The grass should be brown, the air hot and dry. But no. Rain, more rain and clouds and wind is what we got this summer. Why my neighbours corn is brown and mine still growing I don't know, unless she killed them, or the wind did. (mine are more protected and huddled). I also planted late since I had to do it again once the first strike was so feeble. Our autumn has officially started too. (1 march)
It's a wonder anything is still growing, including my jalapenos.
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il Fri, 05 Mar 2004 07:46:09 -0500, Steve ha scritto:

Neither would I :-)
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il Fri, 05 Mar 2004 04:58:00 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@someplace.net.net (Pat Kiewicz) ha scritto:

You would say that wouldn't you... :-( It's what I did last time but i was hoping.
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