Saving corn seed- how many plants, etc.

gregbakerJuly 22, 2008

Hi everyone,

I've been saving my own seed for most of the items in my garden, but not corn. Would like to start (open-pollinated, of course), but not sure I can grow enough plants to avoid inbreeding depression. While the written information I've found consistently stresses the need for many plants, I do find some inconsistency in the exact number- (all paraphrased)

"...at least 200 plants, save seed from at least 10%..."

"...at least 200 plants, save seed from every plant..."

"...at least 100 plants, save seed from at least 1/2..."

"...200 will work for awhile, but 300+ is necessary for the long term..."

Have been doing some early planning for next year's garden, and here's the deal: assuming 12" spacing, 24" between rows, I can do ~120 plants without cutting into space for other vegetables & while maintaining my 3-year rotation scheme.

Haven't settled on a variety, though it will be "multi-purpose"; a few ears here & there for fresh eating, the rest for cornnuts & cornmeal. Black Aztec is a leading candidate, though I'm still scouring the web for others.

I would appreciate any advice or experiences from those of you who save your own corn seed, especially if your plant population is similar to what mine will be.

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