Lee Valley Tools    Gardening Newsletter
   Vol. 5, Issue 5
   October 2010
   Corn Mazes: A Fun Autumn Excursion
"Dames of ancient days / Have led their children through the mirthful maze…"
The Traveller by Oliver Goldsmith, 1764

  Corn maze
   A maze visitor treks through the stalks

A maze leads us in all sorts of unexpected directions. Twisting and turning, sending us around corners and in circles, it requires us to think logically to find our way out. When put that way, a maze might not seem like much fun. But anyone who has ever made it through a corn maze in the autumn knows it's all fun and games.

What precisely is a corn maze? Exactly as it sounds — twists, turns, corners and dead ends made up of corn plants tall enough to get a little lost in. As the autumn leaves begin to turn lovely reds, yellows and oranges, visitors flock to farms and pumpkin patches to get all turned around.

Planting and Design
Growing corn that will be cut into a maze is a little different from growing corn for food production. Corn grown for a maze is usually planted two to three weeks later than corn grown for other uses. This helps ensure the stalks stay strong later into the growing season. This is important because many of the farms that feature corn mazes aim to stay open and attract as many visitors as possible until late in the harvest season, and usually until Halloween. Also, corn planted later generally keeps its green foliage longer. The greener leaves have more moisture content, which helps decrease fire potential.

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