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Planted my no-till food plots this weekend

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Planted my no-till food plots this weekend

Old 09-24-2019, 06:51 PM
Typical Buck
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TN Lone Wolf's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Martin, TN
Posts: 854
Default Planted my no-till food plots this weekend

In sharp contrast to the twice weekly rains we got throughout the spring and much of summer, this past month has been completely dry, ruining my desire to get my food plots planted earlier this year. Looking at the extended forecast last week, though, yielded a glimmer of hope - a small chance of rain Sunday night, and a much larger chance Wednesday evening through Thursday morning. If I was to get my plots planted in time for season, this weekend was going to be the best opportunity.

Saturday morning, I drove to my local farmer's co-op to pick up the seed. I've learned a lot the previous two years about what plants do well with this no-till method, so I decided to use a diverse blend, including:

-Winter wheat and forage oats - quick growing grasses to attract deer to the plot prior to season
-Austrian winter peas and crimson clover - slower growing but vigorous legumes that attract throughout season
-Common red and ladino white clover - not as quick growing prior to or during season, but the red clover grew thick through the spring and early summer, while the white clover sprung up after I mowed the plots last month.

Additionally, I decided to test the following:
-Sunflowers - definitely the odd one out, but I've found the deer will browse sunflowers when they're young. The cold will kill them before they get too tall, but their stems will provide a surface for the peas to grow on.
-Chicory - something I used to plant when I used Tecomate blends. It's fairly expensive, so I didn't add much. Still, I want to see how much if any comes up.
-Purple top turnips - I've used Evolved Harvest ShotPlot brassica blend in the past to varying degrees success, but it's about 2/3's rapeseed, with the remaining percentage divided among other brassica species. I've always heard good things about purple top turnips in particular, especially if it turns off really cold, so they ought to be good insurance if we have another colder than usual season like last year.

In preparation for planting the plots, I had mowed the two plots over a month ago to knock down the worst weeds, then sprayed the plots last weekend to kill off the remaining ones. In a monumentally stupid move on my part, I sprayed the plots with an herbicide blend that would kill off everything. Had I realized just how much clover was still present and thriving, I would have used something that would have only killed the grasses. At least I'll know not to make the same mistake next year.

A week later, and the plants in both plots were thoroughly dead, so the planting commenced:

East plot:

West plot:

New/South plot:

First, I broadcast the larger seeds using a tow-behind spreader:

Wheat, oats, winter peas, and sunflowers

Then, I used a bag spreader to broadcast the smaller seed on foot.

Clovers, turnips, and chicory (crimson clover not pictured)

Lastly, the dead vegetation got mowed down. This ensures that, in lieu of a disked seed bed, the seeds are covered under a moisture-retaining layer of thatch.

East plot:

West plot:

New/South plot:

Nothing to do now but wait for rain. Sunday night didn't yield any, but the rain chance for tomorrow evening has risen drastically, with thunderstorms predicted throughout the night.
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Old 09-27-2019, 06:20 AM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Lexington NC USA
Posts: 459

Planted an all clover plot 2 years ago. Same situation as you with no rain in weeks but we had at least an inch forecast over the next week. Got the seed down and got less than 1/8" of rain. None of it came up but to my surprise early spring the stuff started sprouting. Actually had a decent year in 2018 and the clover did well. Just checked it this week and with no rain it's browned out and crunchy. I expect most of it will come back when we do finally get some rain and a break from the heat. Mine is 50/50 Durana and Partriot clover. Really makes you appreciate farmers who depend on their crops for a living. Mother nature can be very unforgiving sometimes!
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Old 09-27-2019, 08:12 AM
Giant Nontypical
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: a van down by the river
Posts: 8,939

Lots can be done right, but the nerve-wracking part is the weather still has to cooperate.

Here’s hoping for good weather and good production.
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Old 09-27-2019, 08:50 AM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 2,743

best of luck to you,
I find it crazy you southern folks can grow things like sunflower's this late in the yr
good for you's!
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