Sweet corn is generally ready to harvest 50-55 days after the plant silk emerges from the husk.
The growth rate between emergence and tassel growth is generally 45-75 days. The silk emerges an average of 4-8 days following tasseling. Pollination will occur within the next few days depending on conditions and can last up to a few weeks. Maturity levels are reached 50-55 days following silk emergence.
What to Look For
You can visually inspect your corn to see if it is ready to harvest by looking for the following clues:
- A corn ear that is ready to harvest will have brown dry silks.
- The entire corn ear should feel firm.
- The top of the ear should have full kernels right up to the tip.
- The individual kernels should be in the milk stage.
The Milk Stage
Corn is ready to harvest during the milk stage at which time the juice of the corn resembles milk. To test if corn is ready for harvest pierce a kernel with your fingernail making note of the emerging liquid. Clear liquid signifies that the ear is not yet ready to harvest. A milky substance means it is at its perfect maturity, and a tough kernel means that it has past its optimal harvest time.