Last week marked the beginning of preparations for the 2015 Maize Maze. Our lovely farm workers David and Alan started the long process in the hope that it will be a successful growing year to create yet another fantastic maze.
I had the pleasure of speaking to David who very kindly talked me through each step of the process, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to share with you what is involved:
The first job is to plough the field, which they did on 15th April using the New Holland Tractor and attaching the plough to the back of it. The field has to be ploughed to remove any of the old maize and prepare the ground for new planting.
The following day, the new seed was planted in the freshly ploughed field. As we plant the Maize quite early in the year, we use Kentaurus Maize. This was done by once again using the New Holland Tractor.
In 2011 Kentaurus became one of the most widely grown ultra-early varieties in the UK. With its excellent combination of yield and unsurpassed quality, Kentaurus excels in marginal sites and offers one of the highest starch contents available. Ideal for maximum forage quality even in the toughest situations.
As soon as the seed is drilled into the ground, it must then be rolled to ensure that the seed is nicely tucked in the ground and then a ‘pre- emergence weed spray’ is completed. This is to get the spray into the soil, in the hope that weeds will not emerge.
Roughly 1 week after the seed is drilled, it is then time to fertilize the field. This is done using Nitrogen granules to supply the plant with nutrients, enhancing the growth of the maize.
The last stage for the farm staff is to apply the ‘post emergence weed spray’ to the crop. This is done to ensure that any weeds that have managed to grow up with the maize are killed. This spray will be completed once the maize is up & growing. Unfortunately, it is very hard to determine exactly how long it will be after fertilization before this spray can take place, as of course it is completely weather dependant.
Upon completing the last spray, the team of staff that run the Maize Maze then go to work with using GPS to mark out the intricate design of the Maze & putting together the question boards and quizzes to create a fun experience for all whilst visiting.
This year, the Maze will open on 18th July and the hope is that by that point, the maize will have grown to about 5-6ft tall. We all hope for a warm spring with sufficient rain to ensure the steady growth of the plant…. Fingers crossed!