Food Plot, Deer hunting, Land management, Deer Hunting, Scott Bestul

With hunting season breathing down our necks, the window for making food plots is coming to a close. But it’s definitely not shut. There’s still time to get some awesome plots planted, and in some cases, you’ll need very little in the way of special equipment—and time—to do it.

One example is a plot my buddy Alan and I planted this week. We call it our “knock-down” plot, and the preparation and seeding literally took minutes. The plot is a tiny one—less than an 1/8th of an acre—and last year we had it planted ina mix that included rye. While the rest of the annuals in that plot were finished last spring, the rye grew like crazy all this summer and was waist-high just a week ago. Alan went in, sprayed the rye (and the weeds coming in behind it) a week ago, and drove off. Total treatment time was less than five minutes on an ATV with a boom sprayer.

Then, just the other day, Alan hit the plot again, doing nothing more than driving over and over the rye stalks to knock them to the ground. This created a layer of dried stalks and dead weeds, a thatch if you will. Total treatment time here was also around five minutes, tops.

Yesterday I came back to the plot and seeded it in brassicas, simply broadcasting them among the thatch with a hand-crank spreader. I could hear the tiny seeds bouncing off the thatch as I walked, but I knew they were sifting through the layer of dead material and hitting the dirt. There’s rain in the forecast this week, and I fully expect those little brassica seeds to germinate and start growing. Even better, the thatch will help absorb and retain moisture (both rain and dew) that will help the brassicas grow, even if we get a dry spell. While I chose brassicas for this plot, rye or oats would have been great choices, too, as they germinate easily, grow aggressively, and are highly attractive to deer. Even better, they’re cheap.

Don’t get me wrong: I like to haul a tractor or ATV into a plot and drag around the implements that create a pretty seedbed. But sometimes all that dirt work isn’t necessary, and can actually work against your plot if drought is a concern. Knock-down plots are a relatively simple alternative that require far less time and equipment.