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DUCKJ

best time to plant??????

14 posts in this topic

Just got done clearing out one of my food plot areas and going to start on my second. What time of year is the best time to plant. Now? Aug? Want it up and going by the time Bow season opens in Sept.

Clover and Brasses is what im thinking.

Duck

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Well ....... clover is a perennial and slow to get established, and doesn't do well in hot / dry conditions. You could plant it in August and hope for rain but you're not likely to get much growth out of it for September, even if you have perfect growing conditions.

And .........most brassicas take at least 12 weeks to reach maturity. They are an annual and are fast growing in the right conditions, but even if you plant them in Aug and get rain right away you probably aren't going to have full growth for this fall. It really depends on getting rain right away and how much time there is until the killing frosts come. The deer probably won't do much browsing on them until after a few hard frosts, so they probably won't give you any attraction in early bow season.

Cereal grains like oats, wheat and rye (the grain, not the grass) are great fall options. They are inexpensive, they germinate really fast, the deer hit them right away, and they withstand heavy browsing. They'll hold up until you get a frost or two. They are a great option for early bow season.

Your best bet might be to plant clover with cereal grains as a cover crop in one of your plots. The cereal grains should draw in the deer, and hopefully the clover will get established for you. You could try mixing in an annual clover for more attraction this year. I have not had much luck getting fall planted clover established, but I am in northern MN and there's a shorter growing season up there.

In your other plot, try brassicas. If you get good growing conditions or late frosts you might get enough production out of them. They will definately be a later-season food source than the cereal grains.

A good guideline for the first year is to take care of weed control and ph (lime), to position your plots for good production in their 2nd year. The problem is, who wants to wait until next year shocked.gif

Good luck with your plots, I hope this helps.

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Good advice by perchjerker. I'd definately go with the clover and either rye, wheat, or oats, planted in mid-August. Don't forget some fertilizer!

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Not to go against what Perchjerker states, he definitely got me going in food plots, and I thank him for that.

I wouldn't go against planting brassicas in mid Aug. If you are in the far northern reaches of MN, maybe not. But if you are in central or southern MN, definitely try it. I planted brassicas on Labor Day weekend last year and they shot up great. This year I am doing it a couple weeks earlier though, just to get a little more time. I agree they wont fully mature, but 3/4 mature isnt bad either. It will be very young and tender morsels that the deer will surely pound down as fast as they can when it ripens.

If you do some google searches on planting brassicas, you will find that recommendations are to plant up to mid August for far north regions. I would not count it out.

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I agree with you, I think he should try brassicas in one of his plots. But he asked about something for early September and the brassicas won't be ready by then, and the brassicas will be a bit of a risk ---- late rains or early frosts and they probably won't do much. But if he gets good growing conditions and late frosts he could have a dandy brassica plot for later in the season.

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Thanks for the info guys. I do live in central MN and we havnt had much rain at all. #1 Plot is close enough to the house so I can get the garden hose out there if I go buy a couple hundred ft. (had a huge doe in there a couple days ago and thre is nothing planted yet) #2 is way to far away so im going to have to rely on the rain for that one.

Maby clover and some type of grain in #1 and brasses/clover in #2?

Again, thanks for the help

Duck

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Is it really feasible to water your food plot? If so, I'd put brassicas in that one and get them started (they need time to grow). Put the cereal grains in the plot you can't water, they germinate quickly and the deer eat them right way so moisture right after planting isn't as much of a concern for them.

IMO a brassica / clover mix doesn't make much sense, unless your primary goal for the plot is to use it for attraction during the whole hunting season while the deer switch from the clover to the brassicas.

My food plots are mostly clover or brassicas, but I keep them seperate for several reasons.

- Clover will come back the following year but brassicas need to be replanted. If you want brassicas again next year you'd have to till up your clover and replant.

- Brassicas get tall and leafy and thick and will shade out lower growing plants like clover.

- Clover should be mowed a couple times a year but you don't want to mow brassicas.

- Some of the herbicide I use to control weeds in my clover will take out brassicas. But I don't worry much about weeds in my brassica plots, I hit them with Round-Up before I plant and then let the brassicas out-compete the weeds that are left.

- I guess the bottom line is that over a period of years, it's easier for me to manage and maintain my plots when I keep the clover and the brassicas separate. When I started food plotting I used more blends, but now I mostly keep my annuals and perennials separated.

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Good advice perchjerker! I've planted some of the perennial blends that have both the clover and the brassicas in them, with the intention of leaving the clovers for a few years but the clovers really don't establish very well, too much competition from the brassicas the first year.

Are you planting mostly the annual brassica blend that you get from BLB or do you have some other special blend that you like?

My new experiment this fall or next spring is to plant straight chicory, I want to see how the deer like it vs. clover or an annual blend. My other experiment is to add a cover crop like wheat or oats to my clover planting to see if it helps it establish better.

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Quote:

Are you planting mostly the annual brassica blend that you get from BLB or do you have some other special blend that you like?


I've only tried BLB's brassica blend a couple of times and it was so dry and hot that nothing grew very well for me those years, but I planted it again this year and it was doing okay the last time I checked it. My goal with brassicas is to have them be as big and tall and thick as possible by early October.

The best blend I've planted is the Big 'n Beasty mix from Sunrich Farms (Frigid Forage), it grew like crazy the two years I planted it. I had some brassicas that were nearly chest-high from it one year, that was impressive. I wish I knew what varieties they were.

My absolute favorite brassica is kale and I also like purple top turnips. I've never had much luck with dwarf essex rape (I think I'm the only person in North America that can't get it to grow).

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Can you answer another ? for me. Do I have to remove ALL the roots and other stragleer stems sticking up? Will it make that much diffrence if I dont???

Thanks Derek

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You don't need to clear them all, but the more you clear the better your plot will be. Reduced competition for the stuff you plant.

I clear enough sticks, roots and stems to start discing, then let the disc take out the rest.

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Thanks for all yur help. Going to try to get both fields planted the start of next month and hope there up before hunting starts.

Brasses in #1 and some type of grain in #2

Duck

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DuckJ

As far as the grains, go with winter rye.

I tested Buck Forage Oats, regular oats, winter rye and winter wheat last year. All side by side.

Now I will toss this in, it may be completely different in your area as to what the results may be on a test like this, but here goes.

This is ranked as to what the deer wanted most. But I added comments to each as well that may help you decide if you want to even try that type.

1. Buck Forage Oats. They kept that stuff mowed down like a manicured lawn through to snow flew. Bad thing, is this stuff is very expensive. I found it to range from $30 to $50 for a bag. It also died out once things got real cold.

2. winter rye. This is ranked second, but a good ways down the scale from the BFO. The good thing with this is that its cheap. Less than $10 a bag. And its VERY winter hardy. Meaning it stayed green underneath the snow. Deer dug it up through snow to get it.

3. regular oats. Again cheap as heck. But this stuff dies EARLY!

4. Winter wheat. Again cheap, but the deer never really had much interest in it.

For my money, I am sticking to winter rye.

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Again, Thanks for the help. Looks like ill give the winter rye a try. I know that my old neighbors planted winter wheat in there field and had deer in there every night(even swam across Crow Wing River from Camp Riply to get to it). Nobody in the area I live in now plants food plots. There is no real feed field around either so I think either will work to bring them in. Somthing is much better then nothing IMO.

Whent out to work on plot 2 and I had tracks all over the place. Got me going big time. Looking forward to getting out there and hunting them. 1 1/2 months to go.

Duck

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