Dent Corn Seeds - Cocke's Prolific


Zea mays

HEIRLOOM. Thought to be extinct for decades, this corn was rediscovered in Inman, SC by former Sow True Seed employee, Angie Lavezzo. After some historical digging and verification by Food Historian Dr. David Shields, we are very proud to be reintroducing this long lost variety to the public for the first time since 1951. This corn was stewarded by Mr. Manning Farmer on his land in the Dark Corner area of Inman, South Carolina for most of his 99 years. First grown by his uncle and his father, Mr. Farmer had been growing and keeping this seed pure since the 1940's and we are very grateful to him for it.

Cocke's Prolific was developed by John Hartwell Cocke, who was a proficient and prolific agriculturalist in the first half of the 1800’s. Many of his breeding projects made their way to his friend Thomas Jefferson who grew them, including the Cocke's Prolific corn at Monticello. While this corn was grown widely after it's introduction, the decedents of John Hartwell Cocke that we've spoken with report that it didn't reach legendary status until his enterprising Daughter, Lucy Cocke realized that she could market it as high quality horse feed. This made her a very wealthy woman and helped launch this fantastic corn into fame. It is now thought that all modern dent corns have roots in Cocke's Prolific gene stock as it was so popular as a parent plant. Modern hybrids and the odd shift towards primarily yellow dent corn contributed in this variety becoming almost completely extinct. What was once one of the most cultivated corns in the South because of its reliably high yields and excellent flavor is now back and ready for you to enjoy and save yourself. We hope you will join us in bringing this corn back into the spotlight it deserves. Produces at least two good-sized ears of heavy, white-kernaled corn, perfect for cornmeal and hominy. 

SMALL FARM GROWN by Bender Farms, Norlina NC 

Packet weight - 1/4 lb

Voted into the Slow Foods Ark of Taste for 2019!

  • Planting Information
  • How to Grow
  • Seed Saving
Average Seed / ozSeed / 100' RowAverage Yield / 100' RowDays to Harvest
904 oz200 ears110
Planting SeasonIdeal Soil TempSunFrost Tolerance
After Last Frost65-85°FFull SunFrost Sensitive
Sowing MethodSeed DepthDirect Seed SpacingSeeds Per Packet
Direct Seed1-2"3"240
Mature SpacingDays to SproutProduction CycleSeed Viability
8-12"7-10Annual4-6 years

Know when to plant. Depending on your region and the type of corn you are planting, you will need to plant seeds at a different time. Typically, the best time to plant is mid-May to late-June. Be wary of planting too early, since the seeds will rot if the soil is too cold. If you have a soil thermometer, check the temperature regularly and wait to plant until the soil reaches 65ºF.
Corn likes to grow in areas of full sun, so select a garden plot that is out in the open. Try to choose an area relatively free of weeds, as corn has a difficult time competing.
Corn prefers soil that is nitrogen rich and well manured. Add compost or manure to the soil two and four weeks before planting so that it has time to incorporate with the soil. 
Corn is wind-pollinated, so it is best to plant it in blocks rather than individual rows so that the pollen has a better chance of germinating. 
Plant the seeds every 3 inches along rows, with 24–36 inches of space between rows. Plant at least four rows so the wind can spread pollen between them.
Plant the seeds 1–2 inches below the surface of the soil.
Water the corn. Corn requires about one inch of water a week, and lax watering can produce ears with many missing kernels. Apply water to the base of the plants to prevent washing away pollen at the top of the plant.
Weed around young plants. Keep the corn weed-free until it is about knee high. After that, your corn should out-compete the weeds on its own.
As the saying “knee-high by the fourth of July” goes, your corn should be 12–18 inches tall by the beginning of July. The corn is finished growing about three weeks after it develops “tassels” - a dry, brown silk tail at the top of the ear.
The corn is ready to be harvested when the kernels are tightly packed and produce a milky fluid when punctured. This is called the “milk stage”. Eat immediately after picking for the best flavor and optimum freshness.

Corn- Sweet– Dent- Pop, Zea mays
Pollination, wind; Life Cycle, annual; Isolation Distance, 1-2 miles
Corn is monoecious plant, meaning it has separate male (tassel) and female (ears)parts on each plant. Select the earliest and fullest cobs on each plant for seed saving. If you are unsure if how much space is between you and your next possible corn growing neighbor, cover the tassel and ears with bags to protect from cross-pollination. Allow the ears to develop and dry out on the stalk for as long as possible. When ready to dry, pull back the husks and place in a rodent-proof area. Once full dried, carefully break off the seeds and store in a cool, dry place.