Growing Corn and Saving Seed
If you want to start growing corn by planting heirloom varieties and save the seed from year to year, the biggest challenge is preventing cross pollination from other corns. We generally plant 3 varieties of corn in our garden, 2 of them heirloom, and the garden simply is not big enough to separate the varieties sufficiently.
I have found, however, that this is not a challenge if I choose my varieties and planting times carefully. We plant heirloom Early Sunglow sweet corn, which is a 55 day corn, my heirloom dent (flour) corn, and a hybrid sweet bi-color corn all together and at the same time.
If you look carefully at the above photo, the corn in the foreground is the Early Sunglow. It has already tasseled and pollinated itself. In the background is the bi-color sweet corn and it is tasseling and pollinating now. On the right you can see the dent corn and it is just beginning to tassel.
In this way, we “protect” our varieties from cross pollination and can save the seed.
Fortunately, the field corn across the road is not tasseling yet, so we should be safe this year. Next year they will plant soybeans there, so next year should be another good year for saving seed corn.
Careful planning, and watching out for neighborhood “invaders” is all it takes.