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Summer Plots

          Depending on the choice of food or crops, the time to plant your summer plots is now. Many other plots needed to be planted a few weeks ago. But for many, it is not too late to get the good seed in the ground. Especially those targeted for maturity from late August through early October.

Land managers and owners need to prioritize their crops for early season hunting and the target species. Whether it is your desire to draw deer, hold deer or to provide a smorgasbord for many types of wildlife. Getting your crops into the ground is imperative.

Most legumes, cereal grains, beans, peas, all need between ninety and one hundred twenty days to reach maturity. As June fast approaches, planning is critical to get the most from your plots. As has been well documented before. There are basically three types of plots. Feeding plots, staging plots and killing plots. Planning and understanding these can greatly increase your odds at killing mature deer this season. As you devise this plan, typically each of these plots will contain different food and different types of combinations of foods. Not only will the location be different, but the access and regress from the plots will be different as will the specific seed.

This time of year, I will plant a huge variety of food for the early season maturation. Cereal grains, like oats or even milo are good choices, mixed with sorghum and sunflower, rape, clover, and even some peas of different varieties are all good choices for late May and early June plantings. Typically I make it simple and dump all of the different seeds into the same hopper, stir them up a lot and get them thoroughly mixed together and plant.  Whether you drill your seeds or use a spreader or even hand plant them, getting good seed to soil contact is critical for them to sprout and get a good start. Too often, especially when broadcasting too many seeds fall away and lay flat on top of the ground and never obtain good seed to soil contact. Without this, these seeds can and do end up as feed for other animals. Not only will they not sprout and not mature, but most will be gobbled up by near birds.

Ask different land owners and managers and you will get different answers to what to plant and how to plant it. The bottom line is that if you are going to plant anything, you need to get it into the ground for early season benefits. In the southern states there is an abundance of food during the summer and early fall. This makes making the decisions of what to plant all the more difficult. From my experience I like blends due to the variety. Some seeds will prefer the high temperatures of the summer while others do not. Some will prefer full sun and others have little tolerance for the direct heat of the summer heat. Irrigation or access to water can be the difference during the dog days of summer that often see the mercury soar past triple digits.

Regardless of what you decide to plant for late summer and early fall food plots. Make your plan now, and get your seeds into the ground for the best benefit for early season hunting success.