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Discussion Starter #1
Start a food plot at this time of year?

I was mowing around the property the other day and I thought, "Hmm...lemme whack down some of this thick stuff" and when I did I looked around and I thought dang, this little area would make a nice food plot. Probably about 20x40 ft plot that I probably would end up shovelling out the rows because I don't have a tiller :cry: ...what could I put in there right now? This is keeping aside all the technicals (pH scale, etc)...it gets enough sunlight for anything that needs it. Any advice is appreciated. Thanx!
 

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I don't know anything about PA food plots, but down here I would say that is too small to spend your resources on.
I would try something else with my time and money. Example, fertilize the native browse, fertilize the fruit and nut trees, remove inedible growth, clear a path through an otherwise impassable thicket or grassy field, etc.

Down here I might suggest transplanting a honeysuckle vine. And putting out a mineral block.

pepaw
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well where are you?

I might have to measure the area, maybe my judgements aren't quite right but to put it in perspective my plot area is about the size of a fairly large vegetable garden...I'm not concernec about space and would probably plant like four rows of SOMETHING. But what? Thanx for any other feedback! :D
 

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:D
Try Turnips!! You might have to put some protection around them till they get started. But the Deer will eat the tops and if they get big enough You can eat the bottoms.
grizzy57
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hmm...

So nothing like clover or Austrian peas or anything of typical deer forage? Maybe turnips...I just want something they'll keep coming back to! :D
 

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I think you should try soy bean's. Here in SW PA the farmer that plant's them has his farm on PGC red tag program.************ogo
 

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Eh I think I like the turnip idea. The wife and the rest of the family (NOT me) love turnip. So...might as well try to please everybody, right? :) :D
 

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I have planted a lot of food plots over the past 25 years, and let me recommend something to you that is easy as pie. You don't have to plant it now. You can wait till the end of summer.

Clear it out the ground real well. Spray it now with Roundup herbicide, which kills absolutely everything it touches. Use at least 1.5 times the recommended strength. For a plot as small as 20 x 40, you could even use a hand sprayer to put the herbicide down. (Use a 5 gallon hand tank size).

Everything will be dead in about 4 weeks.

Then, about the 3rd week in August, till it up. You can use a walk behind garden tiller to do this. Then throw down/spread by hand some lawn fertilizer. Any "starting" type lawn fertilizer will do. Let this stay down for about 10 to 12 days, and hopefully soak in with rain.

Then, just hand spread Annual Rye Grass. Put it down really thick.

About two weeks later, the Annual Rye will come up, really thick. Within 3 weeks, it should be knee high.

When the fall comes, deer love to eat this brand new green rye grass. While everything else green is dying, this nice tender tall grass is sprouting. It will continue to grow very well into the winter, even after you get your first or second really hard freeze. It is there, and growing in the cool weather, and the deer will be really really attracted to it.

I have planted soybeans, and I don't recommend it. They will come up in early September, but before they even get two inches tall, the deer will pluck them out of the ground, which totally kills the plant. Crows and other birds will also pluck them out, to get what is left of the bean at the bottom of the sprout. You will see a fair amount of activity for 10 days or so, but then all of the sprouts are plucked out, or snipped off, and you will never be able to get the beans to grow thick. Also, soy beans will not grow well unless your really till the soil up fine. They require fine tilled soil, plus having the soil compacted down on the bean. (Otherwise, the beans in the ground will simply rot, not grow.)

Annual rye, however, does not require finely tilled soil, or compaction. No matter now much the deer eat it down, it will still keep growing back, and very fast. Also, you will attract turkeys to it, who want to walk through it to find grasshoppers and crickets. (It becomes their "bugging" ground.)

For the quickest and easiest deer plot, try the annual rye grass.
You can use wheat seed instead, but it is hard to get wheat to grow thick (without dying) and it is much more expensive than rye grass.

If you want to create activity right away, mix a small bag of soybeans into your rye grass and spread it at the same time.


Best Regards,

Big Paulie
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Big Paulie,

I like your idea all except for one thing. I don't have a garden tiller. MAYBE I can borrow one but otherwise I'm using a shovel. Is this a huge deal? :D
 

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An update.

I decided to buy some "No-Plow" seed at a local feed store. I figured I might as well give it a shot. I didn't have any herbicide or anything but that was ok...I took out the John Deere (I have a new L111 for any of you Deere nuts out there) and took it down to the dirt. Literally. Then I just spread out the seed in a row/scatter system. I looked like farmer John for a while :)

We got quite a bit of rain about four or five days later. In the days prior to rain I ran the tractor over the seed to hopefully compact it into the soil firmly enough...I didn't have a roller so it was the best I could do. After the rain a couple days later, voila, I had stuff growin. It looked like clover but not quite. It has two leaves and the leaves feel round in texture, not flat like a typical leaf. I also noticed a new grass. This might be the ryegrass stated in the seed list on the bag? I still have local weed competition, but it seems like the plot seed outnumbers it by quite a bit...plus I'm sure the deer won't mind it that much.

I decided to be nutty and taste some of that stuff. Seemed bitter...does this mean I need to add lime to the soil next year or should I just leave it alone? I'm going to do another plot next year around the same size I found a lil ways up in the woods. I'm very proud of myself with my first food plot :D

Just thought I'd share my success with all of you. Now hopefully the deer won't move in for a lil while yet...gotta let it grow now :grin:
 

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JPSaxMan said:
I decided to be nutty and taste some of that stuff. Seemed bitter...does this mean I need to add lime to the soil next year or should I just leave it alone?
Test the soils PH level before putting down lime...Everything might be ok and you won't have to waste your time and effort.
 

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I guess I neglected to tell you that I was from TX. Whoops.
The reason I was so negative on your small plot was that if it worked, the deer would overgraze it and thereby ruin it. Our small plots get hit very hard here by our large herds when they first come up and the deer pull up the small plants before they make good roots. Basically, we now try to plant a big enough plot to "out plant" them.
Good work and good luck. Sorry I was so negative, but the advice on other improvements you could do are still good tips.

pepaw
 

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Discussion Starter #14
"Large herds" is not a term familiar in my dictionary coming from Northeast PA...:)

The largest "herd" I've seen is three around my property, and one other "herd" of two. So I don't think I have to worry about overgrazing...:-D
 

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food plot

Mow close as you can. Scatter lawn fertilizer. spade or till soil. Scatter 20 lbs winter wheat seed. Deer will appreciate it now and next spring and it can't miss.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
There ain't no way I'm mowing over my precious plants now, are you nuts? :)

And I can't disk/till the soil...don't have the equipment to do so :?
 

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JPSaxMan said:
"Large herds" is not a term familiar in my dictionary coming from Northeast PA...:)

The largest "herd" I've seen is three around my property, and one other "herd" of two. So I don't think I have to worry about overgrazing...:-D
:-D Well that cant be to good..around here the most I have seen in one field was 32.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Maybe that farmer is planting another type of "plant" in that field, no? :)
 
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