Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Growing Deer": Starting a Food Plot


(We're starting a food plot on the farm! This post is the first of a series that will appear about the progress of this project. Stay tuned...) 

A food plot is an area set aside that is planted solely to act as a food source for wildlife. Food plots often consist of legumes, like clover, alfalfa and beans, and/or grasses.

In an earlier post I made reference to lazy hunters. It might be suggested by some that only a lazy hunter would hunt over a food plot. I would argue that installing a food plot properly is not an act any "lazy" hunter would dare undertake. And to find my self hunting over that same food plot seems like a just reward for a whole bunch of hard work.




What this image shows is the result of a lot of soil prep. The area to be planted is one half acre in size. It took three steps to get it to look like this:
  1. First, I removed the previous cover of reed canary grass by mowing.
  2. Next, I needed to break up the thick layer of rhizomes, or the roots that makes reed canary such a prolific invader of native plants. Here was where the hard work started. I used a six-foot disc pulled behind a tractor to break up most of the thick mat of roots.
  3. Finally, the last step in soil preparation was conditioning the soil. I used a soil conditioner attachment on a Bobcat skid-steer. This helped further break up root and soil clumps. Those last two steps took six or so hours!
I will let this rest for a day or so and then plant. Check back for updates

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