I don't know What they meant by planting ear corn but not shelled corn. All corn has to be shelled from the cob to be planted. If you have access to shelled field corn from a farmer try planting some seeds after the chance of frost is over, usually around memorial day, and see if it germinates or just plant some kernels in paper drink cups now and sit them on a window sill and see if it germinates. I planted a field of sunflowers one year from seeds that were sold for birds feed instead of expensive seed that were meant for planting. It grew fine.