Alright, so now we have the site picked out, the soil sample completed and it’s time to figure out what to plant. I decided what to plant this year based on research and an experiment on the Priefert ranch.
When you do a food plot, you can’t necessarily do the same plants each season because of varying weather conditions. I found an article about “Cool Season versus Warm Season” plants that goes into a lot of detail about identifying which plants are best for which season. Since we are working on the summer food plot right now, we will focus on the Warm Season plants.
This will be my 3rd season to plant food plots. Last year I decided to run an experiment in one of the food plots to try and figure out what grows well and what the deer like best.
I planted a section of soybeans, another section with cowpeas and another with lablab. All three sections grew really well, but it seemed like the cowpeas were eaten down considerably more than the other plants.
I decided to plant the Deer Pond food plot in a combination of cowpeas and grain sorghum. Cowpeas were an obvious choice since they were the deer’s first choice in the experiment. There are several different types of cowpeas to choose from, but I went with Iron and Clay peas because they are low maintenance, fast germinating and easily digestible. They will grow in a wide variety of soil and take very little water. Cowpeas are also inexpensive to purchase in 50lb quantities. All of the research that I found said the hardest part about growing cowpeas is getting them established before the deer take over. This is where the grain sorghum comes in handy.
I made sure to select a Grain Sorghum mix that is known for taller growing stalks. The stalk will help to shade out weeds that might otherwise grow and it will give the cowpeas something to grow on. Grain Sorghum is also great because it has a bitter seed head which discourage consumption by birds or other animals. Once the Sorghum matures, the seed head will gradually lose its bitterness, but in the meantime, the undergrowth (including my peas) will be able to grow.
Once you have done the research and decided what to plant, your next step is preparing the ground. Join me next Wednesday as I share what I did to get my site ready for planting..