Sunday, April 17, 2011
Tiny Plots Big Results
After the great response on Growing Local I decided to revisit food plots to show some pics of how I do mine. I am, by no means, an expert, this is simply how I have done mine from the first till now. At first I added some of the big commercial brands but it didn’t take long to realize at least half of each bag wasn’t germinating while seed I purchased for our area did. All of the big plots had some fertilizer added since I had no way to add manure and compost over time to build the soil naturally. Fertilizer does make plants grow rapidly but is hard on soil doing damage by killing good bacteria which plants need. Don’t believe it?
Think about how many times you hear someone say, “I just fertilized and I will have to go back and do it again in a month or two when the plants slow down.”
The reason is the soil is being damaged and the plants are basically addicted to fertilizer to live. Soil amendment through natural means on larger scales is beyond most of us so use your fertilizer sparingly when you can to keep damage to a minimum while still providing for your plants. Ok, enough of that, on with the pics
This is my first plot in Rutherford county TN, I used 200 lb of fertilizer on 1/8th acre since we had it and this spot hadn’t been amended in 20 years. It was planted in brassicas, clover, Austrian peas, and a few others I can’t remember. It wasn’t big but looked good.
These plots were in Cheatham county TN, they were planted only using seeds bought from our local Co-Op and Hooper’s Supply with a little fertilizer added since the soil was so poor and they were last minute plots. It was only the second time I ever had a tractor available to till my plots. These turned out ok. I planted four on 26 acres but lost one to flooding which also damaged a second. The other two which were on top of hills did pretty well.
Next are plots that I plant in a lot of areas, small hidden away places that I work with very few tools. Most never see a tiller. I go in with a line trimmer, rake and limb saw to clear a spot. These are in Marshall county TN. First I remove branches for sun to get in and make shooting lanes. Do your shooting lanes now so you don’t have to come in later and disturb anything. Take out more than you think you need to, it will pay off. Then trim all weeds as close to ground level as you can. I use a garden rake to scratch the ground where I can then broadcast seeds. In these spots I use a lot of wheat, rye and turnips. Chicory, rape or kale might work in your mix, too. Try to plant when rain is expected in a day or two so seeds germinate and birds have less time to eat your investment.
For mineral licks I use blocks I buy at Co-Op or TSC for $6.50 for a 50 lb block. They contain all of the trace minerals deer need at a fraction of the cost of name brands. I know folks don’t like this part but just read the labels and compare, I did. Either chuck them out whole or whack them with a hammer to make smaller chunks to spread in several locations. I don’t dig holes although some folks do but the deer will dig one for you soon enough if you just put blocks on the ground. I like putting them on a stump if I can find one, the minerals leach into the wood and deer will chew on the stump.
Except for mineral blocks I won’t offer any advice on what you should use. Where you live, where you plant, what you expect are all factors you need to consider. The simple ideas I use work no matter where you are and I wanted to give folks a second look at plots I have done to show it doesn’t take huge budgets or equipment. Most of us aren’t big time hunters getting handouts from sponsors to show off products. We are people that have very limited time and budgets that simply want to improve our hunting where we can.
If you have the tools I mentioned, a little spot to plant and in many cases no more than $50 plus some sweat equity you can do these plots and get results.
- ▼ April (4)
Powered by Blogger.