How to Make a Cornfield Maze

Ever feel like telling people to get lost? Say it and mean it when you make your own cornfield maze.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Wait until the corn reaches six leaf collars -- about three or four weeks -- and then mow along the painted path. Cut the plants on the path below their growing point -- the area of the stalk where the leaves and tassel initiate -- to prevent new stalks from growing.
  • Step 2: Walk through the maze as the corn walls grow to ensure it matches your design. Pick or hoe any weeds and mow down any new corn shoots that appear on the paths.
  • Step 3: String index cards with clues to solving the labyrinth or facts related to your design at points along the paths. Then, when the corn is too tall to see over, invite visitors to check out your amazing maze.
  • FACT: Farmers in Layton, Utah created an 8-acre cornfield maze in the shape of former U.S. President Ronald Regan.
  • Step 4: When the corn shows one leaf collar, stake and paint the maze on the field's surface with road-marking paint. Check weekly to make sure the paint is still visible as the corn grows, and repaint if necessary.
  • Step 5: In mid-May in the northern hemisphere, sow corn over the designated area; plant in rows and columns, like a checkerboard, to increase density. Use seeds that produce stable, 7- to 9-foot stalks for high, sturdy walls.
  • TIP: Many professional designers use GPS receivers and field-mapping software to plot mazes.
  • Step 6: Calculate the scale between the graph paper design and size of the cornfield, and measure out a plot of land for your maze. Place flags at the field's corners to mark the puzzle's perimeter.
  • TIP: If your maze is a public attraction, pick a location with accessible parking, restrooms, and amenities to accommodate visitors.
  • Step 7: Design the maze -- the labyrinth's size and the number of dead ends will determine its difficulty. Then, trace your design on graph paper to help transfer the concept to the cornfield.

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