Most of the sweet corn is gone now. Either consumed fresh, canned, and frozen as whole kernel corn or corn on the cob. I have mentioned already that we left a half row of the open pollinated variety Golden Bantam to dry in the field for seeds for next year. We had continued to watch the patch for either deer or coon damage. Everything was going fine ...we had a plan.
Then came Marlowe the 70 pound puppy with a corn fetish. Who knew? O Wise One walked out in the hay field behind the garden to find a collection of evidence left behind, namely shucks and cobs. Looked like we had been hit by a HERD of coons. Change of plans.
So we picked what was left in the field. It is not completely dry but well on it's way. Now we could hang the corn from the shed rafters but then we would have to watch for bird and rodent damage. Not to mention the dog would probably find a way to climb the ladder to it! Can ya tell I am a little exasperated with that dog? We needed a different solution.
I found this small collection of old corn seed saving racks in an old farming book online. Printed off a copy and gave them to O Wise One! I bet he hates when I do that and hand him a picture and expect him to come up with that in a hurry. You can see the page below...
Saving the Seed Corn
Here is a handy device for preserving select ears of seed corn. It consists of a wide board fastened between two supports nailed to the edges. The board stands upright on one end and may be as long as desired. Drive heavy spikes through it from the opposite side and stick an ear of corn upon each spike. This allows for the passage of air, and the ears can be examined without removing them from the rack. It is much to be preferred to expensive wire racks, as each nail may be numbered and a record kept of the ears in this way. This rack was designed at the Idaho experiment station.
Rack for Seed Corn
Here is a simple arrangement for keeping choice ears of seed corn. Take a 2-inch square timber for the upright, and make a solid base by boring a hole through the two base pieces, then drive the timber into it. Drive 4-inch spikes through the upright at intervals of 6 inches from four sides, and stick the ears of corn on these spikes by thrusting the same into the butt of the cob. Numbers may be placed above each spike, so that records can be kept of all of the corn. The corn should be placed on this rack as soon as picked and husked, and may be left there until planting time if the rack is placed in a dry room where rats and mice cannot get at it. A large post strongly mounted on a heavy pedestal may be used in a manner similar to the small upright described above. The bigger the post and the larger the number of spikes used, the greater the capacity of the rack, of course. It is a good plan to make the pedestal heavy and strong in order that it may not be tipped over too easily.
Drying and Keeping Seed Corn
Never let it freeze before it is dry. Farmers have had seed corn exposed to a temperature of 30 degrees below zero without injuring its vitality, and have had it ruined at 10 degrees above zero. We would not recommend kiln-drying for the general farmer, as this is only practicable where a grower is in the seed business. A very convenient way is to take four pieces 4 x 4, 6 feet long, set them up in a square, and nail laths on them two and two opposite. Leave a 6-inch space between the laths, so the corn will have plenty of ventilation. Lay your corn on this to dry, and if thoroughly dry it can lay there all winter.
But by gosh he rooted around in the scrap lumber pile and came through for us.
And the remaining corn seed is now finishing it's drying process tucked in the corner of the pantry. Once it completely dries then we will take it off the cob and put it in bags and it will go in the freezer. But for now it is safe and out of the way. It may not be the prettiest solution but for a good solution in a hurry it worked.
For those of you new to saving corn it is a pretty low tech skill. Mother nature really does it for you. Heat from the sun, little moisture and corn just naturally dries out. All you really have to do is keep the darn dogs out of it. It is also pretty universal.
Either for food or seeds it is really the same process
Simplicity at it's best
Anyone else out there dry corn and save the seeds and want to share your process? My grandpa always hung his over the wood stove : )
Blessings from The Holler
The Canned Quilter