How can I reuse or recycle sweetcorn plants?

Tina has asked a very timely question:

what can I use sweetcorn plants for?

I like to eat or use as much of my plants as possible, before composting the rest. There must be a million uses for corn plants, but can I find any? help!

We’ve already covered the empty cobs, after the lovely juicy kernels have been nibbled away. (Some suggestions: dip them in peanut butters or some solid-at-room-temperature oil and cover with seeds to make quick bird feeders. Dry them for use as kindling when starting fires. Give them to guinea pigs or chickens to nibble/play with.)

But what about the rest of the plants? Can the strong, tall stems be used for anything? The paper-y wrapping that protects the head? Any reuse options other than just composting it?

Would love to hear your ideas for this! :)

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10 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle sweetcorn plants?”

  1. Bobbie says:

    Use the husks to make a recipe of tamales. Yummy, one of my favorite Mexican foods.

  2. Bellen says:

    Husks can be used to make wreaths; husks and silks can be used for ‘corn husk dolls’ as decorative pieces or Christmas ornaments; gathered stalks used for fall & Halloween decorations – you’d pay good money for these at a garden center; leaves, and I suppose husks, can be woven into hats for sun protection or braided into natural rope for use in the garden and of course decoration; stalks are not very strong once they are dry but probably could be used to make a one season wattle fence; I think I read, in one of the Little House on the Prairie books, that dried corn husks and leaves were used to stuff mattresses and/or pillows – maybe using oilcloth or recycled heavy plastic it could work for outdoor cushions.

  3. Melinda says:

    Cows, sheep, goats love cornstalks and husks. Corn is a grass, after all. I save mine to take to a farm and toss to the animals. Check with the farmer to be sure it is welcome and how/where he wants the food presented.

  4. bookstorebabe says:

    can the leaves/husks be used in making homemade paper? I know I’ve read of folks adding shredded plant material to their paper pulp mix before, don’t know about corn leaves.

  5. stella says:

    The husks make a great bedding/play material for out pet rats – put it into one area of their cage and watch them rearrange it into a comfy nest

  6. My brother-in-law gives us loads of husks and we use them for entertainment for my daughter’s rodent collection (yes, she has loads!).
    They all seem to like them, and i grab some paper hand towels from work for under the husks so they have a variety of materials to make their bedding how they want to :o)


  7. Nicky says:

    I used the thick leaves to protect my rose over winter instead of buying fleece. It’s had the added effect of keeping the soil so toasty that the surrounding tulips are already doing well, too!

  8. Kim says:

    I use the leftover sweet corn that we don’t eat to feed the squirrels. They love it just as good as sweet corn!

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