How do YOU know when it's time to pick corn? I've been reading lots of different ways to tell but just like melons, I'm afraid it might take some practice to get it just right. Unfortunately, unlike melons, I don't have nearly as much room for error with the corn.
I planted ferry-morse golden cross bantam hybrid (I think that's it) on 6/14 just as an experiment. It's supposed to be 88 days to maturity. The first silks starting forming about 2 weeks ago and just as soon as they did, I started hand pollinating (I've got ~15 stalks crammed right on top of each other but still wanted to be sure). A couple of times a day, I'd run my hand along a tassle and collect some pollen and sprinkle on the silks. Digging around in there searching usually shook things up enough to really get some pollen flying too. It stormed really bad a couple of times during those few days that the silks were popping out right and left so I'm not sure if that helped with pollination or just washed everything away.
Anyway, I'm a little suprised but I have quite a few ears of corn growing and some of them look respectable right now. I read yesterday that they should be ready to pick about 3 weeks after silks form (that seems really fast!) but the ferry-morse site says about 6 weeks after silks form. 6 weeks would be about 85 days from planting which is right at what the seed packet says. I also read that you know it's time when the silks turn brown. A couple of the first silks that formed (theoretically, the ones that should have been pollinated the best and have the potential to be perfect) are completely dried up and brown already. It just seems WAAAAY too early to pick them but I don't want to leave them too long if they're ready now. How can I tell? If the silks are already all brown and all this early, does that mean something went wrong with those ears? Or could the sun and heat have just taken a toll on the silks while the ears inside are still growing well?
Any tips or advice are appreciated!