We begin thinking about the maze each year the first part of June. First, we must select a good field to use for the maze. It’s important to rotate the crops since corn takes a lot of nitrogen out of the soil…so we try to alternate between corn and pumpkins each year in the fields. Before they plant, the ground must be worked a couple times to makes sure it’s good and ready to be planted. As with most things in farming, weather is a big factor in when the ground can be worked.
Doing the maintenance on the planter to get it working before going out to the field.
The corn maze is planted with seed corn…it’s different then the kind of corn you eat in the summer. We use this type of corn because it gets taller and is very durable. After we are finished with the maze in the fall, the corn can be harvested and sold as well. Why is the corn seed pink? The seeds are coated with a special chemical to prevent them from rotting before they germinate.
The seed goes into the buckets on the planter. It can plant several rows at a time. Some larger corn mazes use a gps positioning system to plant the corn exactly where they want it. We use a different method here at Tuttles as we do not have that sophisticated a planter. We use a John Deere planter and plant one set of rows going one direction in the field. The rows are carefully measured to make sure they are the same distance apart. Then they go back through the field and plant another set of rows of corn perpendicular to the first set. This makes the corn grow in a X pattern.
When the corn is about knee high we go out into the field and cut the stalks out where we want the maze to be. Each section of corn planting is counted so we are able to count of the exact number of rows that we need to cut out to make the pattern that will become the corn maze.
It is very important that the corn be planted evenly in each row. Mike is walking behind the planter to make sure that each hopper has sufficient seed.