-By Brandon Wikman
Creating that idyllic ‘Hollywood’ style food plot that you’ve seen on TV and magazines seems nearly impossible. Leafy greens stretching hip high, weed-less and lush doesn’t have to be a dream, it can be a reality. With enough planning, hard work and luck from Mother Nature, you too may grow your own hot-spot-plot.
Taking it step-by-step:
- Location is critical. Considering the hot summer months ahead may wither your power-packed plot, be sure to use shade to your advantage. A plot only needs, on average, four hours of sunlight to flourish. Too much sunlight absorbs moisture within the soil, which steals the necessary water requirements for your plants. Use trees or hedgerows to your advantage in maximizing the most shade and sun combination for your plots’ growth.
- The PH level of your soil will either make you or break you. Many companies have PH level soil kits, which you can use to determine the amount of lime and fertilizer to lay. Or else, you can always send a sample of soil to a lab to have it tested. I always use ammoniated lime, which breaks down and activates much quicker. Bumping your PH level to 6.5-7 will result in maximum development.
- Look for thriving weeds and grasses. Planting your plot in an area that’s bare of vegetation is absurd. Although it may seem simple to plant, considering you don't need to mow or spray herbicide, there’s a reason no plant life existed. Extremely poor soil! Find a piece of ground that has an abundance of thick undergrowth and displays potential of actually growing something!
- Giving a buzz cut. Snipping your future plot will be essential in preparation for spraying herbicide. Mow the area, rake the debris off the plot and wait a week or two for the grass to regenerate. Then attack! Hacking the weeds and grasses down to a few inches assures that the chemicals will reach the root systems quicker and be deadlier. It’s important to spray Round-Up on the weak up-and-coming grasses. This will guarantee a successful kill.
Always wear long sleeves, pants, and gloves for your own safety when dealing with chemicals.
- Seed to soil contact. Once the ground is ready for planting, there are many options to use, depending on what machinery you have access to. If you are planting a small plot and don’t have a disk, plow, or roto-tiller, you can use a garden rake to scuff the topsoil and make enough room for your seeds to drop and grow. As long as the seeds have contact with the soil and enough gaps to germinate, it will grow! It may take a lot of elbow grease, but will still work. Otherwise, using heavier equipment is faster, and easier. After you lay down seed, be sure to use some sort of a cultipacker to compress the seed into the dirt and eliminate any air pockets within the soil. When a seed germinates and the taproot begins tunneling into the ground, it has to redirect itself if it hits an air pocket. It only takes a couple air pocket detours to stress a young seed into withering.
It’s exciting to watch your hours of tending ground evolve into that dream plot you’ve always wanted. Remember, you can only control the planning, preparation, and planting stages of creating your food plot. After that, it’s left to nature to care for. Rain will be critical to spurt your new seedlings and supply enough food for growing.
Enough devotion and land labor supplies sufficient groceries for your deer herd to thrive. This will keep deer on your property and supplement them with an antler boosting, high-quality diet and health plan for seasons to come.