Every hunter dreams of some kind of food plot for hunting wildlife – whether its deer, turkey, quail or rabbits. But not everyone has farm equipment to make that possible, you may have 30-90 acres tucked away somewhere, and have cleared a nice half acre food plot like I have. its a lot of Saturdays and sweat to make it happen too. Once everything is cleared, it always seems like its just time to jump in and throw seed down, and I have done this a few times and learned the hardware when the plot never fully developed. Unfortunately this isnt common among hunters and early land managers.
But over the years I have learned patience – though it rarely shows – and a lot about soil conditions from another VA Outdoors contributor Mike Chipouras. Those that know Mike, know that he studies everything – and I mean everything – both for his job and for his hobbies. Mikes knowledge of soil conditions and what to do to make improvements have helped me tremendously. But more importantly it has reinforced several aspects of developing food plots for wildlife that we preach here constantly. And that is sunlight, soil conditions and proper seed contact/depth of planting.
It took one or two mistakes for me to truly understand the value of the soil conditions – and the importance of doing a soil test. This season I have been working on opening up two new food plots for deer, of which both will be wheat and clover plots eventually. Both locations have the tree canopy removed and the ground cleared. The last thing I did was to pull soil samples from each plot and drop them off at my local Southern States store.
Soil test are about $14.99 each, and take maybe a week to get the results in the mail or email. Not only do you get a report on the conditions, but you also receive recommended corrective measures to take to improve the conditions based on what you are trying to grow. Plus you can get all you need to work the soil directly from Southern States. Make your corrections, give it time and retest again in maybe 3 to 4 months to see how it is progressing. Do the soil test, spend the $14.99 and don’t make the mistakes that I did when I first started out – don’t waste the time or money if your seed isn’t going to grow well.
Click the images below to see the full size results of my two soil samples