The harvest of sweet corn for the fresh market can begin when the grains are milky. At this moment, the grains are already yellow, only those on the tip of the ear may still be unripe and white. The content of dry matter is aprox. 25%. To test if the plants are ripe, 1 – 2 grain rows are scratched with the thumbnail over the whole ear length. The base of the oldest grains at the ear setting should still be creamy and liquid. Maturity can be recognized by the dying off of the stigma pistils. At that moment the ear fills the husk leaves completely.
At an average day temperature of aprox. 16°, the harvest of one set lasts about 5 – 6 days. This period can be reduced to 1 – 2 days when the temperature rises to more than 30°. As not all plants ripe at the same time, we recommend to harvest the crop 2 – 3 times.
To achieve complete and undamaged ears for the fresh market it is recommendable that they are manually harvested. Mechanical harvest methods can be applied, but the cob stem may be crushed with the consequence of premature mildew