Old Corn Seed

chaoApril 30, 2009

A fellow gave me some corn seed that is several years old. Is there any thing I can do to get it to germinate. would it help to soak it before I plant it. If the seed float are they dead. A lady really wants to save this corn its been in their family over 100 years

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If it's been in the family for that long, it has to be open polinated corn. The expected taste won't be very good. I would place 10 seeds wraped in heavy paper towels, soak it in water and place in a warm place, like the top of your fredg. The number of seeds that sprout in a week or 10 days will be your germination percentage.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 11:29AM
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paulc gives good advice. A friend gave me an ear of white gourd seed corn two years ago and it was already a year old then. He got it from Williamsburg. I didn't know if it would germinate or not. I planted ten kernels in some potting mix and kept it moist to see what it would do. Nine of'em germinated. I have three thirty foot rows growing in the garden now that are about two feet tall. Don't know if it's any good or not, never eaten any. But, it'll be fun to grow with some Cow Peas planted in with it.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 12:14PM
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Taste is subjective, but these cultivars were designed for cornmeal, grits, stock feed. They are not sweet corn types.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 12:47PM
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Farmerdilla you are right it was the corn they used for meal and grits. One of the family has a Husband that is bed ridden and they already have Hospis coming to help.I felt it would be real good to get it growing for them .But I dont want to mess it up thats why I am asking for help if any body knows about trying to grow corn that is several years old. Would soaking help right before I plant It.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 3:21PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

The University of Wisconsin had a master gardening program and someone called Agriculture Agent Steve Huntzicker was reported to know something about old seed and make a presentation about them. I've no online information.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 4:00PM
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farmerdilla, Thanks, I kinda figured as much. I've got a friend who grinds corn for meal and grits. If it makes I'll get him to do some corn meal out of it. It's lookin' pretty right now.

chao, Hope yours does good too!!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 8:10PM
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shot(8 - GA)

Can anyone recommend an inexpensive corn meal grinder? There are so many on the market that it is mind boggling.

Kitchen Maid has an attachment for their mixer, but it is around $150. That's a lot of corn meal.

FARMERDILLA, my Hickory King is looking pretty good.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 10:14AM
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You can germinate old corn seed. I am growing Bloody Butcher that I saved in 1994. I expect about 10% germination. The key is to give the seed even moisture in a very good environment. What you have to guard against is having seed touching each other. This is because any dead seed will rapidly mold and cause the viable seed to die. Do not under any conditions plant in soil because old corn seed rarely has the vigor to break the soil crust. Here are some instructions that will work.

As per the above, put some seed in a moist paper towel in a ziploc and leave it for 3 days, then start checking daily. verify the number that germinate. Get a seed starting cell tray and fill it with very moist seed start mix. You cannot use those 'peat pellets' commonly sold in mart stores this time of year, you have to have nice loose seed start mix. When the tray is full of mix, insert up to 10 seed (you should know the germination percentage) into the mix in each cell, pushing the seed in to full depth but leaving the kernel just visible beneath the soil surface. Now give the cell tray a quart of water into the bottom to keep the moisture level high. Place the tray somewhere very warm, 85 degrees is optimum. Check the seed daily to see if they are germinating. When you see them sprouting, get them into full sun. Do not leave them in the tray more than 3 days after they germinate. Carefully transplant into well prepared soil.

Special note re refrigerator tops, Please be aware that many refrigerator tops are way too cold for seed to germinate properly. It is better to set them on a high shelf where heat rises that on top of a cold refrigerator.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 11:14AM
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I have a styrofoam cells that are 1 inch wide and 2 1/2 deep Could I use them.You put water in the bottom and it goes up. Like Parks Seed sells .Could I use Mells mix. Sorry to be such a bother fusion power.I dont know what a seed starting tray is. I have a small heating mat.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 12:50PM
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