Since the fall harvest season makes up a huge part of who we are and what we do we spend some time talking about it. People ask us many questions about how we create some the designs. From a produce market and pumpkin patch with a corn maze we have grown into a winery and now a craft brewery. This summer’s weather has been very challenging. In fact we got about another 2-3 inches of rain again last night.
This blog post about our Ohio Corn Maze shows how we actually plant the corn. We are “old school” by modern agriculture standards in the sense our planter is about twenty years old but it gets the job done.
The corn planter plants six rows at a time each row is 30 inches apart. Our planter can plant No-Till or conventional where you till or work the soil from plow to field cultivator as discussed in past posts. Click here for tillage information Our planter is a vacuum planter.
What that means is we use the tractors hydraulic pump to run a air vacuum pump like on a floor sweeper that draws the individual seeds against a depression with a small hole in it positioned around the rim of a circular planter “plate”.
One bag of seed plants about 3 acres.
Seed corn in planter seed box. We “drop” or plant, between 24,000 to 35,000 seeds per acre (an acre is approximately the area of a football field) depending upon the type of corn, and the end use. For corn mazes I shoot for the low end because we plant the field twice at a right angles to each pass.
A individual planter “Plate”. Plates come in different sizes depending upon crop and seed size to be planted. The larger the seed the larger the “cup” in the plate, you also adjust your vacuum if the seed is heavier to hold it in place as it travels around the until it is dislodged by the brush.
A chain drive turns the plate and as it rotates once a revolution it comes in contact with a brush that pushes it away from the plate.
The seed travels down a tube and into the soil where another part of the planter creates a trench and then closes it after the seed is deposited. Row wipes lead the way directly in front of the seed disk openers. Which are located under the above mentioned planter boxes.
A Fertilizer Disk opener is positioned two inches to the side of the seed opener and a depth of two inches below the seed. “2 Down and 2 Over it is called. This helps to ensure the fertilizer is where the plant needs it when it needs it and is not wasted.
A closing wheel travels last closing the seed trench to ensure good soil to seed contact.
When planting you try a drive as straight as possible, it is a matter of pride and it also helps to maximize field area and yield. Our planter uses old style row markers. An arm extends from the side of the planter towards the side of the field yet to be planted. At the end of the arm is a disk that leaves a small trench that you line up the center of the tractor on. Today’s modern planters use a Global positioning satellite system to do this. Many tractors have this tied into their steering systems such that the computer/satellite actually drives the tractor.
The difference when you plant a corn maze field vs. a normal field is you make a second pass at a 90 degree angle to your first pass thereby creating a grid. This makes for a denser field of corn with great vegetation coverage which makes for a better corn maze experience.
If you have good weather and soil temperatures are good your corn should emerge in about seven to ten days.
We wait now about five to six weeks to start the maze carving process where we carve the corn maze design into the field from a solid field of corn. We like to have the corn be large enough a mower will kill the majority of it but not too tall to make cutting difficult.
Coming soon the “nuts and bolts” of how we create those crazy Maize Valley Ohio Corn Maze designs!