As deer hunters, we have all dreamed of having a nice little food plot that doesn’t require equipment that we don’t have. We see the ads in magazines, watch them on TV and see the products in our favorite stores – all promising easy “throw and grow” seeds – just throw and bag a trophy. But for most, the plots may germinate quickly, but then quickly turn into a waste. The problem isn’t the seed, its probably really good, and good marketing. The reality is that many companies don’t really tell you that you are wasting your time if you don’t follow a few critical guidelines. So follow these three critical steps so that you don’t end up wasting time and money.
• Sunlight is critical. Many throw and grow type seeds still need a fair amount of sunlight. If you don’t have an existing opening in the woods, you need to clear the canopy away so that when the seeds begin to germinate they will take off. Clearing away trees will also keep leaves from falling on your plot, once the leaves fall they will cover the plot and kill it off quickly.
• Do a soil test. Before you even think of opening the bag of seed, you need to do a soil test. Most soil tests take 7-10 days to complete. The results will tell you the exact composition of your soil, and let you know what corrective measures should be taken. If the soil conditions are terrible, the seed won’t stand a chance.
• Clear the ground. Without a doubt throw and grow is the wrong term seed company’s use. It should be clear the underbrush, remove branches, clear native grasses, remove leaf debris, scratch up the top layer of soil – and then throw and grow. You must have sufficient soil contact with the seeds in order for them to germinate and survive. Choosing not to do this is a waste.