Saving corn seed- how many plants, etc.
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.