-By Brandon Wikman
Hard work and extra effort does pay off!
This spring I implemented a food plot testing ground in my backyard, which paralleled my mother’s garden. By constructing a mini-plot testing facility, I was able to gather an array of data on the health and longevity of scrumptious deer greens!
The main purpose of the plot was to visually show participants of my hunting camp the difference between taking the necessary steps in creating a food plot in comparison to skipping a few tasks, which severely degrades the growing performance.
Sometimes people want to see it rather than hear it, so that is exactly what I did. I dedicated each test plot ¼ acre, which stretched side-by-side. I planted a mix of soybeans, buckwheat, sunflowers and sweet peas. An early season seed mix was the ideal choice, considering typical weather patterns during the mid to late summer growing months.
Test Plot #1
I busted out my riding lawnmower and put it to work on Test Plot #1. I gave the plot a short haircut, which left a mess of grass chunks throughout the middle. I raked the plot clean of debris and waited a solid week before spraying any chemical. I waited because the grass and weeds were severely stunted, so before juicing them with herbicide, it’s always important to let the new grass begin to grow. This is when the grass and weeds are most susceptible and will be killed on the spot once sprayed.
After the plot was mowed and sprayed, I rented a mega-sized rooter-tiller to chomp up the soil. It was nearly time for planting. I received my PH-Soil test data back and found my soil needed a quick jolt of lime, without question I purchased a few hundred pounds of ammoniated lime. This would boost my soil’s PH in a hurry. I spread the lime and coupled it with a good amount of fertilizer and Plot Max, which is a soil conditioner that helps in aiding the root system of your plants.
The final step was broadcasting seed and compacting the soil. Test Plot #1 was ready to take on Mother Nature!
Test Plot #2
The second plot I rushed and spent less time and money in preparing the grounds. I zipped through the plot with my lawn mower and took a heavy-duty rake to it. This would scrape debris and fluff the soil, considering I wasn’t planning on turning the soil over. Within the same hour, I began broadcasting seed.
I didn’t throw down lime, fertilizer, Plot Max or even bother spraying any type of herbicide. It was up to Mother Nature now…
As you’d imagine, Test Plot #1 thrived! It grew lush, weed-less, and tall, while Test Plot #2 was weed infested. In fact it had so many weeds that it choked off any chance for the seed mix to grow! I truly don't have to say much, considering the picture says a thousand words. Let this be a testament of how critical putting a little extra effort, money, and investment into your food plots truly pays off!