Corn Maze Ideas: Growing A Corn Maze In The Landscape

Corn Maze Ideas: Growing A Corn Maze In The Landscape

Many of us fondly remember getting lost in a corn maze when we were kids. Little did we know how much effort went into making an afternoon of fun! Growing a corn maze isn’t just about growing corn. It takes a lot more than growing the crop to build a successful corn maze business. For one thing, a DIY corn maze grower needs ideas, and good ones at that, to attract customers. Read on to learn the ins and outs of how to grow a corn maze.

Corn Maze Ideas

You need to have a great idea for a design when it comes to creating your own corn maze. A corn maze is often comprised of two components: a picture in the design of the maze and a challenge. The difficulty of the challenge depends upon the clientele you want to attract, while the design will depend on field size and cutting method.

If you are artistic and engineer minded, you can design a DIY corn maze yourself. For the rest of us, there are companies that actually specialize in designing corn mazes. The professional corn maze designer will assist you with how to fit a particular design into your acreage, provide the right challenge for your clients, and assist with all the particulars of running a corn maze from parking and signage to ticket sales and maintenance.

How to Grow a Corn Maze

If you have garden space of note or some acreage, a DIY corn maze may be in your future and you’re not alone; agritourism is a booming business for many farmers.

Once you have a design and a business plan for how to run a corn maze, it’s time to plant the corn. Interestingly, while corn is normally planted in the spring, corn for a corn maze is planted for growing late in the season. Late season silage is the best type of corn to plant for a maze because you want it to stay green while the kiddos are running amok. Sweet corn is usually sown in the spring, harvested, and sold. Then in early July the field is re-tilled and re-planted with the silage.

Corn seed for a maze is cross planted – north and south and then east and west. This will result in a thick, lush planting that intersects at right angles. Seed should be sown ¼-1 inch deep (1-2.5 cm.) in rows spaced 36 inches (91 cm.) apart. Once the seed is sown, overhead irrigation to provide an inch of water per week should be implemented. When the corn is three to six inches (7.6-15 cm.) tall, it’s time to cut the design.

Additional Considerations When Growing a Corn Maze

If a professional company has been hired to complete the corn maze, they will use a modern GPS system that geo-references the field and then sends an image that looks like a road map to the tiller driver. If this is truly a DIY maze, the grower and a few friends might use weed whackers to cut paths into the corn field. In either case, the paths are cut while the corn is still short, and it takes another couple of months for the stalks to grow head tall or taller.

Paths need to be kept mulched or straw covered to make walking easier as well. When the design has been cut, it’s a good time to get out the word about the upcoming venture. Marketing a corn maze will make the difference between just putting in a lot of hard work and profiting from that work.

Lastly, creating a corn maze can be a lot of fun, but before you even begin, have a budget laid out that includes not only the cost of the seed and maintenance for growing the field but also path maintenance, parking improvement, signage, promotion, advertising costs, labor, tickets or wristbands, employee uniforms, public restrooms, and liability insurance.


Corn Maze

Get lost in our 7-acre Corn Maze at Chatfield Farms. The pumpkin patch is closed for the season.

Chatfield Farms Location

Wind your way through seven acres of corn. The maze can be viewed from two 15-foot tall illuminated bridges. Visitors under the age of 10 can explore the corn mini-maze.

In an effort to reduce waste, printed maps will not be available at Corn Maze. Here is a map of Corn Maze.

Dates & Hours

Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays Sept. 18 - Oct. 31
General Admission tickets are not available Friday–Sunday during Corn Maze
Only one trip allowed through the maze.

Last entry at 5:30 p.m.
Events close at 6:30 p.m.

Admission

$12 Adult
$10 Adult Member, Student*, Senior (65+), Military*
$8 Child (ages 3-­12)
$6 Member Child
Free for children 2 and under (no ticket required)
*Student and military pricing available by calling 720-865-3500

You must purchase a ticket online for a specific date and time to visit. Tickets will not be available onsite.

Ticket purchase subject to availability, membership does not guarantee ticket to event.

  • Please practice social distancing – staying at least six feet away from visitors not in your party.
  • Municipal requirements for masks will be enforced.
    • Visitors will not be allowed entry without adequate masks covering their mouth and nose, which must be worn at all times by adults and children 3 and over, except while eating or drinking.
  • Halloween masks and costumes are not permitted on the premises.
  • Here are details on what to expect upon visiting Chatfield Farms.

Check out the Free Touchless Photo Opportunity, brought to you by Xcel Energy. Capture your memories in fall-themed décor that can be shared on your social channels or emailed to family and friends. Experience available every Friday 1-5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. (weather permitting)

Pumpkin Patch

The pumpkin patch is closed for the season.


DIY Corn Maze – How To Grow A Corn Maze Of Your Own - garden

Creating Your Own Corn Maze: Does and Don’ts

As a haunted attraction owner since the age of 15 when I started Spookywoods in 1985 I have always been looking for ways to improve our attractions. I learned through years of experience of what works and what it is not justified to invest our time and money into. I have tried to find a ways to increase the limited time window to make revenue outside the weeks in October on our farm. Being I’m limited to only 3 calendar events per year due to our county permit laws in NC I wanted to find something that would complement the haunted attraction and we could operate in the months of September, October and November.

I had seen articles on corn mazes in the national news making huge designs cut out in the corn fields. I found this to be very interesting and something that might fit well with our haunted attraction. Having many years of experience running a haunted attraction we already had figured out the many things you also need for running a corn maze. We have great relationships with local media in TV, Radio, and sponsors. What I had no clue about was the knowledge of planting corn or the means to cut a design into it. As I researched the concept of corn mazes I discovered there is more than just finding your way through a maze. We decided to make our maze a game to find check points throughout the corn field. The amount of check points is important as to not make the game to easy. In our 10 acre corn maze we only use 6 check points that each has a map of your location. Attached to each check point is a paper punch that is used to punch a game card to track your progress. The game card is a great location to promote your haunted attraction with a coupon and for sponsorship deals. Each paper punch cuts out a unique shape as not allowing you to cheat. These punch stations have evolved from a simple map on a piece of plywood to a park quality Plexiglas enclosures. We have found these enclosures to be the only way to prevent the maps from being stolen by cheaters. Keep in mind as you start to develop your sponsorship proposal you can use these punch stations as a great way to sell sponsorships. Now you don’t just have a number for each punch station, but a name like the “Sprint Wireless Punch Station”. Bridges in the maze are another great attraction for the customers to find, even though we don’t require a punch on the game card for the bridges, they are a sought out location for the amazing views they can provide into the maze.

Now that you got the game plan for a maze, you have got to have land to plant the corn. We have found that at least a 5 acre area for a small maze is a bare minimum. We have tried the concept of two 5 acre mazes, but this method ended up being more of a management issue than it was worth. I have researched just about every corn maze in the country and found that bigger is not actually better in the cases of corn mazes. The reason for not going to big for us was the time it takes to solve the maze. The size we have found to work best is a 10 acre maze that takes about 2 hours to solve. It is important that the game is challenging, but not to the point of being stressed out. Our motto is “Lost, Laughing and Lovin It”, not “Hot, Tired and Hating It”. We employ one “Corn Cop” per punch station in the maze to patrol the corn to help our customers with directions as requested. Also having staff near by is a safety precaution for people that are couch potatoes and not used to walking for miles. Keep your drink machines close by the exit of the maze as fully stocked at all times, trust me.

Now if you don’t have the knowledge and equipment to plant corn hire a farmer that does. We found a local farmer that plants several hundred acres of corn a year. When I approached the 70 plus year old farmer and told him I was looking for help in planting a field of corn to make a maze out of, he said “People pay to walk through corn? You got to be playing a joke on me?” Once you have a farmer on your team he can assist you in making sure the land is in good condition for corn to grow. The region of the country you live in will dictate the type of corn you plant. There are more types of corn than I could imagine. The characteristics you are looking for in a corn plant is one that it has strong stalk strength, broad leaf, can withstand drought conditions and be bug resistant. If you can irrigate your corn field then the drought resistant may not be so important. Your farmer should now what type is best for your area, but it is important to realize you are not growing corn to eat, you want it to be green and healthy in September and October. So, for the Southeastern part of the US , here in NC the best time to plant is late June or early July. I have made a deal with my farmer to plant the corn and he can harvest it in mid November once we are done with the attraction. It is important to realize that opening a corn maze while the temperatures in your area are above 80F that your customers may experience heat exhaustion. This comes from the corn blocking the air flow and creating a dangerous condition in the heat of the summer. Even tough the corn may look healthy we don’t open until September once the heat of the summer is starting to diminish here in NC. Also is highly recommended that everyone take water with them into the maze. We even require the students from schools to enter the maze only after having a snack as a precaution. The business of a corn maze is not only fun but can be a work out for little legs.

The next thing you will need is either the knowledge on how to cut your maze out or hire a company to do it for you. I tried our first maze attempt in 2000 by doing it myself, I found out the hard way I was not the man for the job. I found out quick I would rather spend my time doing the marketing for the maze than cutting it out. I have talked to maze owners around the country that claim they can do it much cheaper on their riding mower than hiring a firm to cut it out. However, I have decided that my time and the quality of the maze design is worth the expense of having a professional cut it out. Our mazes are created using latest GPS technology and are very intricate in design. You may not think the design is important while walking through it, but when you show an aerial photo on TV or website of your maze, I would rather have an impressive maze that gets attention from the public and sponsors. When you get front page color photos like this one in your local papers it sells itself.

So once you got the team to plant your corn and the knowledge or firm to design and cut out your maze you need to market the maze to the customers. Actually you need to market your maze long before you even plant the corn. On the surface we thought we could attract the typical haunted house patron to our corn maze. The first year we offered a combo ticket with our haunted attraction. Big mistake! The haunted house patron wants to get scared and when they entered the corn at night and no one was trying to scare them, they either damaged the corn trying to scare each other or demanded their money back saying no one scared them. It was a lesson learned very quickly that we had to separate the two attractions. Granted that having the maze open on Friday and Saturday nights was a big draw for youth groups, it still did not warrant being open at night due to the incredible damage being done to the corn by people goofing off and cheating. Even though we have the entire maze taped on each side of the path with 4” yellow survey tape that did not stop the damage. Not to mention our parking lot can only hold about 540 cars so I would rather have the parking space for the haunted house patron paying us $25.00 than the corn maze patron paying us $8.00. 2006 marked our 7 th year running the Maize Adventure Corn Maze and the first year we stopped being open at night. Hours of operation are Saturday and Sunday from 1pm to 6pm for the public. We have found that we get the same amount of people to show up and not much damage to the corn. For the guest looking for a scare in the corn we have our haunted corn field that is 2 acres as part of Spookywoods, but it is fenced in completely and not a maze, but a one way walk.

We have increased our haunted house attendance every year and I contribute the corn maze as a major factor in introducing our farm to a new audience. The families that visit the farm during the daytime with their children are now coming back at night with other parents for a scary, fun time. Our customers are not just the young teenagers anymore, I see the adults coming back with a corporate group or friends. This group demands a quality show and has the money to pay for it. So, my advice is hook them with a family attraction first then scare them at night.

Tony Wohlgemuth, Owner
Kersey Valley, Inc.
www.maizeadventure.com: [email protected]
336-431-1700

Find Pumpkin Patches, Corn Mazes, Halloween events for kids, Hayrides, Spooky haunted houses, Pick Your Own Farms where you can pick your own pumpkins and more. Are you looking for the best places you can take your entire family to pick your own pumpkins, go on a hayride, face painting, zip lines, pumpkin carving, to even finding haunted houses then you've found the best website for finding all thinks pumpkins, corn mazes, and attractions that feature Halloween fun!


Halloween Attractions helps you find farmers who produce Halloween events that feature pick your own pumpkins, hayrides, corn mazes, and places to go that kids will enjoy this Halloween. You can locate pick your own pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and hayrides simply by clicking on the state you live in or you are visiting. Some of the pumpkin patches today are massive events which feature multiple events not limited to just picking your own pumpkins, rather everything related to children and Halloween. Find a pick your own pumpkin farm, hayrides, zip lines, pumpkin festivals, corn mazes and yes even haunted houses for you to visit this Halloween season.

Halloween Attractions will even rate the best pumpkin patches, haunted houses, and Halloween events for you to visit. Are you ready for some spooky fun this Halloween? We also provide other forms of Halloween information such as free pumpkin patterns, treat or treating safety tips, to how to find home haunted house. If you own a home haunted house please create an account. Our blog will feature all sorts of awesome fun videos of Halloween events and photos from around the web of people having fun this Halloween at pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and hayrides.


Costs - Maze Operation

Signage

On-farm signage provides parking or directional information needed to help move customers safely and efficiently through your farm. Corn mazes often have signs with clues on how to escape the maze or interesting agricultural facts. Signs are also an effective marketing tool to promote other aspects of the farm operation. A maze operator can create durable signs with a computer, printer, and laminator. If an employee does the work, those labor hours should also be included in costs. Other sources for signage include internet-based companies and local printers. The sample budget assumes the self-production of signs at a cost of $12 each. If you wish to use roadside signs to direct customers to your farm and corn maze, first check with state or local authorities that may have jurisdiction over roadside signage and review any applicable right-to-farm provisions 2 . The costs of roadside signs vary greatly depending on the size and quality of the sign.

Total cost of signs = (number of signs) x (cost per sign)

________ (# of signs) x ________ (cost per sign) = ________ Est. Total Cost of Signs

(Enter value into Budget Worksheet Cell 'f')

Apparel for Employees

To facilitate farm branding and identification of employees, it is suggested that farm staff wear clothing that includes a farm logo or corn-maze logo. The cost of 20 printed t-shirts and 10 printed sweatshirts can range from $400 to $700.

Total cost of apparel = (number of apparel items) x (cost per unit of apparel)

________ (# of apparel items) x ________ (cost per unit of apparel)

= ________ Est. Total Cost of Apparel

(Enter value into Budget Worksheet Cell 'g')

Promotion and Advertising

Effective promotion and advertising are paramount to the success of a corn maze. These costs are highly variable. A broad rule of thumb suggests that promotion and advertising comprise 10% to 30% of total operating costs. Promotion costs and strategies will also vary over time, especially as the use of information technology and social media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook) to reach customers continues to grow 3 . An operator of a new corn maze needs to generate awareness within target markets (achieve market penetration) whereas an established operation may seek to keep existing customers or differentiate itself from new competitors. Newspaper ads, promotional literature, websites, newsletters, radio, billboards, and social media sites can all be effective tools. Be strategic by choosing advertising media that target the customer base most likely to visit your corn maze. Consider also whether you have the time and expertise to be an effective marketer, or whether it is more cost effective to hire an outside professional. A five-acre corn maze might spend between $5,000 and $10,000 (or more) on promotion and advertising per season. Our sample budget assumes three separate promotional advertisements are purchased at $3,000 each.

________ (Cost of promotion/advertisement 1) Description:

+ ________ (Cost of promotion/advertisement 2) Description:

+ ________ (Cost of promotion/advertisement 3) Description:

+ ________ (Cost of promotion/advertisement 4) Description:

+ ________ (Cost of promotion/advertisement 5) Description:

= ________ Est. Promotion & Advertising Costs

(Enter value into Budget Worksheet Cell 'h')

Wristbands/Tickets

To ensure patrons have paid, operators generally use hand stamps, tickets, or wristbands. Wristbands are a good method, especially if you have more than one agritourism attraction (e.g., hayride, pumpkin picking, etc.) and the operation is structured as "pay one price." Vary wristband colors on different days of the week. Wristbands can be bought in bulk for as little as $.02 per band.

Total cost of wristbands = (number of units) x (cost per unit)

________ (# of wristbands/tickets) x ________ (cost per unit)

= ________ Est. Total Cost of Wristbands/Tickets

(Enter value into Budget Worksheet Cell 'i')

Parking Area Improvements

Customer parking should be safe, convenient, and adequate for the number of visitors expected at the farm. It is important to note that the construction or improvement of parking areas may be subject to local standards or may need to meet certain requirements in order to be eligible for right-to-farm protections. Generally, parking areas must be easy to navigate and provide for safe traffic circulation. They should be kept free of slip, trip, and fall hazards as well as combustible materials (e.g., avoid having customers park in areas where crop residues may be a fire hazard). Directional signs guiding customers to the entrance of the maze should be posted in the parking lot. If a maze operates after dark, adequate lighting should be provided to illuminate the parking area. A flat open field can be used for overflow parking (e.g., a close-mowed hay field). In addition to mowing, operators may opt to make additional improvements to parking areas (e.g., grading, fencing, cones, barriers, hay, stones, lighting, etc.). Consider both labor and materials costs required to create an adequate parking area. In our sample budget we assume no improvements are needed.

________ Est. Cost of Parking Area

(Enter value into Budget Worksheet Cell 'j')

Public Restrooms

Temporary restrooms can be rented on a long-term basis for approximately $3.50 per day with a minimum of a two-month lease. The number of restrooms provided depends on the maximum number of patrons you'll host at a given time. For example, expect to provide at least two or three public restrooms for a five-acre corn maze. Check local municipal regulations on requirements regarding portable restroom use. Hand-sanitizing facilities may be required as well.

Total cost of restrooms = (number of rented restrooms) x (# of days)

________ (# of restrooms) x ________ (cost per restroom/day) x ________ (of days)

= ________ Est. Total Cost of Restrooms

(Enter value into Budget Worksheet Cell 'k')

Liability Insurance

Prior to developing a corn maze, consult with your insurance agent for appropriate coverage levels and rates for your operation. A corn maze should have a risk management plan which includes, at minimum, safety inspections and adequate insurance. Our budget assumes an additional policy cost of $1,500 however, your insurance costs will depend on your farm's unique circumstances.

________ Est. Cost of Additional Insurance

(Enter value into Budget Worksheet Cell 'l')

Infrastructure Improvements

Temporary or permanent infrastructure may be required for the operation of a corn maze. Structures or improvements may include tents, pole barns, maze overlook structures, ticket booths, lighting, parking barriers, or picnic tables to better accommodate visitors. Some building improvements are considered capital investments and can be depreciated over time. In the sample budget provided, we assume no additional structures are needed.

________ (Cost of Improvement 1)

+ ________ (Cost of Improvement 2)

+ ________ (Cost of Improvement 3)

+ ________ (Cost of Improvement 4)

+ ________ (Cost of Improvement 5)

= ________ Est. Improvement Costs

(Enter value into Budget Worksheet Cell 'm')

Land Charges

In our sample budget, land charges are factored into the cost of producing corn on the farm. Therefore, it would be unnecessary to charge the operation again for the land, especially if the land has been used in corn production and the corn is sold. On the other hand, if someone were to purchase or rent land for the sole purpose of starting a corn maze, land costs need to be budgeted.

________ Est. Cost of Land

(Enter value into Budget Worksheet Cell 'n')

Hired Labor

Many corn maze operators employ friends, family, neighbors and local students on a seasonal basis to staff corn mazes and ancillary functions. The sample budget includes five employees and a manager. The budget assumes two employees are needed to direct traffic and parking, one employee is needed for ticket sales, and two employees are needed in the maze itself. The sample budget reflects a wage rate of $8 per hour for employees and $20 per hour for a manager, inclusive of applicable payroll taxes.

The sample budget assumes a six week corn maze season, with the maze open to the public during three days per week. Employees will need to work prior to, during, and after the maze's hours of operation. The budget assumptions are as follows. Employees are requires to work Friday evenings (six hours), Saturday afternoon and evening (eleven hours), and Sunday afternoon (six hours). The labor budget therefore reflects five employees working 23 hours per week for six weeks (690 hours total). Manager hours include 30 hours per week for six weeks (180 hours total).

Cost of seasonal labor (non-managers) = (# of hours/week) x (# of weeks) x (avg. wage rate)

________ (# hours/week) x ________ (# of weeks) x ________ (avg. wage rate)

= ________ Est. Labor Cost, Non-Managers

(Enter value into Budget Worksheet Cell 'o')

Cost of seasonal labor (managers) = (# of hours/week) x (# of weeks) x (avg. wage rate)

________ (# hours/week) x ________ (# of weeks) x ________ (avg. wage rate)

= ________ Est. Labor Cost, Managers

(Enter value into Budget Worksheet Cell 'p')

Corn Maze Receipts

Choosing a maze admissions price requires consideration of a number of factors, including the consumer demand for a corn maze in your area, local competition, and the amount of profit you wish to generate. Consider the prices charged by other corn mazes in the region, but also consider what other corn maze operations offer. Some farmers offer additional agritourism products all for one price. For example, a nearby farmer may charge $12 as the fee to enter the corn maze, take a hayride, and pick a pumpkin. If you offer only a corn maze, you'll want to price accordingly.

The worksheet allows for analysis of the impact of different price points and customer volume assumptions on the total net returns from the corn maze. Consider also any additional revenue you anticipate will be earned from the corn maze (e.g., will you charge a parking fee?). In the sample budget provided, the corn maze operator charges $7.50 per person and has 7,200 paying customers during the season, which generates $54,000 in total receipts.

Total corn maze admission fees = (number of expected visitors) x (admission fee per person)

________ (# of visitors) x ________ (fee per visitor) x ________ (of days)

= ________ Est. Total Admission Fees

(Enter value into Budget Worksheet Cell 's')

Corn Revenues

In addition to corn maze receipts, corn maze operators can harvest and sell the corn after the maze closes. Corn maze operators report a yield reduction of approximately 20% from a corn maze (i.e., due to lost planting area, crop damage, late harvesting, etc). Our sample budget assumes that 100 bushels of corn per acre are harvested and sold for $5 per bushel.

Total revenue from sale of corn = (number of bushels) x (price per corn)

________ (# of bushels) x ________ (price per bushel) x ________ (of days)

= ________ Est. Total Revenue from Corn

(Enter value into Budget Worksheet Cell 'w')

1 See for example, Rutgers University crop budgets at farmmgmt.rutgers.edu or Penn State University budgets at extension.psu.edu/agronomy-guide/cm/sec12.

2 Some states have tourist-oriented directional signs (TODS) programs through which eligible farms may purchase signs for placement on highways.

3 Be mindful of the importance of word of mouth (person-to-person or through social media) to the success of your agritourism business. Ensuring that customers have positive experiences that they share with friends and family generates free advertisement. Keep the farm visually appealing and safe, and maintain high customer service standards for all employees to enhance the visitor experience.


Corn vs. Maize, What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between corn and maize? Not much! Corn and maize are both terms that reference the same cereal grain. Corn is primarily used in the North American english vernacular, whereas maize is used in the British english vernacular.

Though the two words are often used interchangeably, they can have substantially separate applications. Maize is rarely used in reference to food products that are made from maize grains, while corn is frequently used for food items. Corn is not a preferred term for scientific, formal, or international use, whereas maize is mainly used in its place in these applications.

The words corn and maize both refer to what is perhaps the world’s most important food crop, the typically yellow or white kerneled fruit that comes on a cob that is protected by a husk. The two words are often used interchangeably and are, for the most part, different terminologies that are used to describe the same subject. However, words evolve over time and often hold different meanings in different regions of the world.

What is Corn?

Corn is a cereal grain grown from the seed of a plant in the grass family. What we know as corn today was developed over years through a selective breeding process. Today, corn is one of the most important food crops in the world and it provides more food energy and carbohydrates than any other food crop. Corn is cultivated on more land area than any other commercial food crop on the planet.

Corn is also used as a filler for plastics, and an important ingredient in the production of insulation and adhesives. Corn is also used to create explosives, various chemicals, paints, dyes, and solvents. The pharmaceutical industry uses corn in the development of various medicines. It is loaded with carbohydrates and nutrients like vitamins A, B, and C. Including corn in your diet can lower the risk of diabetes and hypertension. The antioxidants present in corn are believed to improve eye health. Corn can be made into flour or syrup and it is also commonly used to feed livestock. Corn can also be transformed into ethanol, which can be used as fuel for automobiles. Corn can even be processed and used to make plastic.

The word corn carries different meanings in different geographical regions. In the 17th century, the word corn was used to refer to the primary crop in the particular area. In England, corn referred to wheat, and in Scotland, corn meant oats. In areas of Germany, corn referred to rye. In the US and Canada, corn refers to maize, and the two words are used interchangeably to reference the same thing. When used to refer to food products that are made from the grain, the word corn is preferred over maize (Ex: corn starch, corn flour and corn meal). In the US and Canada, the word corn only refers to maize, and is not used to reference other common grains.

The use of the word corn to refer to the primary crop of the region has faded over time. Folks in England no longer use the word to refer to wheat, and Germans no longer use it in reference to rye. However, the word corn is used to refer to the harvested fruit in culinary applications whereas maize is used to refer to the crops in the field prior to harvesting and is used in formal, scientific, and international contexts.

What Is Maize?

When Christopher Columbus made a pit stop on an island near northern Antilles, the indeginous Tahino people on the island shared their primary food crop with him and his crew. Their primary food crop was what we now call corn, but the Tahino farmers called it “mahiz”, which, in their language, means, “source of life.” The Spanish brought samples of the grain with them, and eventually the name mahiz evolved into maize.

Maize is an accepted scientific term and an international term for corn, as it clearly references only the one particular grain and cannot be confused with other food sources. The word corn, on the other hand, can suggest different meanings based on context and location. The word maize is also commonly used by research institutes and agricultural groups like the FAO and CSIRO. Maize is not used as commonly as corn in modern language, but it is important due to its use in scientific and international applications, as it cannot be confused for other grains, like the word corn.

Differences Between Corn and Maize

A more simple way to distinguish the two terms is to look at how they are used in reference to the maturity of the grain. Maize is used to refer to the food crop, especially prior to harvesting. A farmer is growing maize, and will eventually harvest maize to sell on the market as corn. Maize can refer to what is grown in the field, whereas corn refers to the harvested product, or the food at the market or on your dinner plate.

Another easy way to think about the differences between the two terms is this: All maize is corn, but not all corn is maize. Depending on where you are, corn can reference a variety of different grains, but maize is always referring to the same crop, which we commonly call corn.

When corn is being discussed in a technical or scientific setting, the word maize is used instead of the less precise and more general term corn. In the study of genetics, for example, corn is always referred to as maize. In America, Australia, and New Zealand, corn can be used in reference to the plant that cobs grow on, the individual kernels that are found on the cob of the popular crop, and the cob itself. Yes, you read that correctly, corn produces ears of corn. Corn is indeed corn, both on the cob, and off.

As if the difference between corn and maize wasn’t confusing enough on its own, there are also corn mazes. Corn mazes are intricate and confusing pathways cut into a field of corn for entertainment purposes. Corn farmers create corn mazes to increase revenue and entice people to visit and spend money at their corn farms. Corn mazes can be found all over the world, usually in autumn around Halloween. In the UK, they are called maize mazes, which is hilarious, and at the same time, also makes perfect sense.


How to Build a Hedge Maze

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Although hedge mazes are common in formal gardens, anyone with a little patience and planning can construct one. A living maze adds creative interest to a back yard. It is a place where you can escape to reflect, read or just be in nature. The maze can be as elaborate as you desire and include benches, solar lights, garden art, reflection pools and fountains. Its design is limited only by imagination and available space.

Pick a location for your hedge maze. The area should be fairly level, have good soil drainage and be large enough for the maze you want to make. Measure the area, and write down all of the measurements.

Draw a map of the future maze area on graph paper to scale by using the measurements you took previously. Use each square on the graph paper to indicate 6 inches or 1 foot. Include obstacles such as trees, shrubs and gardens on the graph paper.

Draw an outline of your hedge maze on the graph paper. Include the maze's walkways, sitting areas, dead ends and turns. Make all walkways 2 to 4 feet wide for the best results. Include the maze's hardscape and natural elements, such as benches, fountains and gardens.

Outline your maze plan on the maze site by using wooden stakes and string. Pound the stakes into the ground at the end of each hedge row, in each corner, on both sides of walkways and around every turn. Run string along the stakes, and adjust the stakes until the string lines are straight. The string and stakes serve as temporary hedges.

Plant a shrub every 18 to 24 inches along the stake and string lines, and remove the stakes and string as you plant. Use a kind of fast-growing evergreen shrub that is appropriate for your region's climate and that will be 4 to 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide at maturity.

Unroll landscape fabric along all of the walkways in the maze. Push landscaping stakes through the fabric and into the soil on both sides of the walkways. The fabric will prevent weeds from growing in the maze.

Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of gravel or stones on top of the landscape fabric. Rake the gravel or stones to make the surface level. Place decorations such as benches and fountains in desired locations in the maze.


Watch the video: Maybury Farm Corn Maze