Complete novice needs help with frost seeding for 1st time

DMTJAGER

Buck Fawn
I am brand new to this site and also brand new to food plot creation. My situation is this:
I have just recently been given permission to hunt a 60 acre block of woods shaped like an inverted trapezoid with the north half being wider than the south half that is devoid of farm crops and will remain so indefinitely that I have yet to set foot on but have been going over it non stop and very thoroughly by way of satellite pictures at Google maps . It's old Peabody coal company land. Per the land owner it is 90% thick woods with a lot of heavy undergrowth.

Its western border is what is referred to as a "blade road" that is used to allow coal mining equipment to travel from area to area that the land owner still maintains by keeping it cut to ankle length or a little higher. The blade road averages +/- 70 yards in width. It is where it meets the woods of my property that I plan on making my food plots. Judging from the sat pics there are dozens of excellent sections of open areas that cut into the woods that would make excellent food plots and I will have to do quite a bit of on the ground scouting to allow the deer sign to dictate where to put my food plots.

Now for the particulars of my situation as factors that will have the greatest affect my food plot attempts.
#1-I live 3 hours and 20 minuets from the land and when combined with my work schedule and the fact I am basically on my own and have no mechanized tools at me disposal will obviously limit the size and complexity of any food plots I attempt.

#2-I will be headed down to the land for 3 days and are in need advice on which would be my best course of action. I wish to begin with creating some frost seeding food plots, but I also have read it is strongly advised to get the soil tested prior to any planting so as to determine if the soil needs lime and what other fertilizers, to plant without performing this test is to invite failure, but I can AT BEST only get to the land for two days at a time 2-3x a month and at least 7 days between visits.

Based on my limited time is it a wise course of action to go ahead and create 1-2 areas suitable for frost seeding, seed and fertilize them, get the soil tested and if it needs lime come back and add it a week later.

I also plan on creating some fall food plots basically next to my frost seeding plots as well.

I plan on planting mostly clover for now as all my research point to it as the most green for your buck. For my first year I plan on keeping my entire food plot ambitions VERY simple and conservative to hopefully give me the highest chances for success.

So what I need is recommendations on what brand clover to buy and what fertilizer to use for frost seeding. I could also use some tips on how to use hand tools or a very powerful weed wacker to remove the present growth to expose the soil, as weed killer is out this time of year. If anyone knows of a source for clover in or near the northern half of Indiana please by all means share it with me as the only other one I've found in in Iowa. Based on reading it in several places I am going to avoid Berseam clover as per all the info I have read Berseam clover will not frost seed.

I could use a recommendation of a great spray weed killer for use in creating my fall food plots for bow and gun seasons as well as the mix ratio for killing 1/4=1/2 acres of weeds. As I said save for a commercial grade Stihl weed wacker and Ariens lawn push mower I am strictly limited to non mechanized hand tools. I do have a very good broadcast spreader and back pack weed sprayer so that should help me out.

Lastly if anyone knows of a great book on food plots still in publication please recommend it.
Thanks
Arthur.
 

Bill

Administrator
I don't care for the association on a whole but I'll admit the book "quality food plots" put out by the Qdma is a good food plots resource.

If I were in your shoes I'd read up around here on cereal Rye. AKA winter rye but not to be confused with Rye grass. One is a grain one is a grass. If you can keep the area mowed next summer and hit it with weed killer in very late summer early fall (depending on where you are located) Cereal rye is pretty bullet proof.

This will give you a food source for next fall, allow time to have good soil tests and be a great place to frost seed into next winter.

And or plant the clover next fall with the cereal rye then terminate the rye in the summer.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
Everyone wants to get their hands dirty as soon as possible when they get access to land. It is understandable. As long as you know you may be wasting your time and money, go play in the dirt. Ignore brand. Only consider variety. Most annual clovers don't frost seed well. Something like ladino will frost seed pretty well. Frost seeding is not the best practice for establishing clover in most places, but you may get something. Depending on what else is available you may not need much. Frost seeding is done when the top inch or so of ground is freezing hard at night and thawing during the day. This causes heaving and micro-fracturing that sort of sucks the clover seed into the germination layer. Keep in my you can also surface broadcast clover and still get germination if your prep and timing is good.

So much for playing in the dirt. Here is my advice. Start by trying to establish your goals and objectives. You've already started this along with outlining some resources and limitations. Given this, I would next view some of "Ray the soil guy's" videos. This will help you understand some of the underlying principles of soil health. Next read Crimson N Camo's throw and mow thread. He does a good job of taking these principles and applying them to the small food plotter with limited equipment.

Next, put your location in your profile. Recommendations will be different based on your location. Get your soil test and make a plan form there. Some folks can start immediately like you are planning, others need to focus on soil amending before some crops will flourish. In general, buckwheat is a safe warm season annual to start with and WR is a safe cereal for fall. But, these are generalizations and much will depend on your specifics.

Thanks,

Jack
 
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SD51555

5 year old buck +
What kind of vehicle do you have?
How far are you from a rental center?
Where is this land located?
Anybody with earth moving or smaller farm equipment nearby?

If you have 6 habitat days per month, you can accomplish anything.
 

BobinCt

5 year old buck +
This site is as good as the books. So much knowledge on here. Just keep reading and asking.
 

ruskbucks

5 year old buck +
I would hold off on the frost seeding. I would suggest spraying the areas you want to seed after the weeds green up. The weeds that are growing will already have a huge jump on the clover and most likely choke it out. I would start with just one or two plots. Get your soil test,see what you need for lime/fertilizer. Try to just concentrate on doing a plot or two the best you can get it. Even a 1/2 acre plot with limited and equipment and time is a lot of work by yourself. My land is 300 miles away and I have to bust my butt with 2 tractors, atv, and implements just to get 3 acres planted in a weekend. I would just suggest to have a little patience, start small, and get something ready to plant for fall. Winter Rye is a almost bullet proof foodplot that has worked great for me.Clover is actually better to plant in fall than spring due to the weed competition.
 

Someday isle

5 year old buck +
I would suggest doing as Bill and Ruskbucks recommend. I’d also take the time to read all of the doubletree posts on this site with regard to cereal grains and clovers as well as browsing the land tours. There’s just so much information on this site. You may even run across guys who have land in or near your area who can offer specific advice. When I started my plotting journey a couple years ago I started with spraying and then cereal grains and clovers in the fall. I frost seeded the following two springs and the clover really started to establish after the second spring. It was okay the first year but really took off in year two. Be patient, set realistic goals, read a bunch, and ask questions. These guys on here really helped me get started. Winter rye as both a food source and a nurse crop has been my foundation and I don’t imagine changing it. It’s just worked too well and it’s been easy to grow on my poor soils.

While a lot of this stuff applies to all of us, what works for me in east central Missouri might not work as well for you. I learn a lot from the other Missouri guys because we share some common issues with regard to regulations, the kind of habitat, vegetation, hardwoods, cover, mast trees etc.. that might not apply to you. Don’t be afraid to ask the guys in your home state for advice.
 
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Bowsnbucks

5 year old buck +
What I learned on here ( and I'm no farmer ! ), is that clover needs good soil pH. If you have woods / brush / weeds there, chances are the soil is acidic. A soil test will tell the tale. Adding lime is usually a good thing when starting out for clover, and will improve the soil pH. Follow the advice on your soil test.

I also learned that Alsike clover will grow in less-than-ideal soil conditions. I don't know if it can be frost seeded - I never did that with Alsike. I have frost-seeded red and white clover.

What these other guys said about spraying for weeds after they green-up is good advice. Why waste time, money, and effort when the weeds are already primed to flourish ?? Kill the weeds first so your plot seeds can get a foothold.

Someday Isle ^^^^ above recommended reading the Doubletree (aka Lickcreek) threads on food plots. I'll 2nd that. Great info from a life-long farmer & food plotter.

After learning from many guys on here & trying what they advised, I'd - soil test first - add lime right away if needed - spray the weeds when they green-up, and again later if need be. Then seed clover around Labor Day.

Following advice I got on here, our hunting camp has had good success with our food plots - clover included.
 

birdog

5 year old buck +
What I learned on here ( and I'm no farmer ! ), is that clover needs good soil pH. If you have woods / brush / weeds there, chances are the soil is acidic. A soil test will tell the tale. Adding lime is usually a good thing when starting out for clover, and will improve the soil pH. Follow the advice on your soil test.

I also learned that Alsike clover will grow in less-than-ideal soil conditions. I don't know if it can be frost seeded - I never did that with Alsike. I have frost-seeded red and white clover.

What these other guys said about spraying for weeds after they green-up is good advice. Why waste time, money, and effort when the weeds are already primed to flourish ?? Kill the weeds first so your plot seeds can get a foothold.

Someday Isle ^^^^ above recommended reading the Doubletree (aka Lickcreek) threads on food plots. I'll 2nd that. Great info from a life-long farmer & food plotter.

After learning from many guys on here & trying what they advised, I'd - soil test first - add lime right away if needed - spray the weeds when they green-up, and again later if need be. Then seed clover around Labor Day.

Following advice I got on here, our hunting camp has had good success with our food plots - clover included.
This is what I would do with the addition of adding cereal rye with the clover.
 

Bowsnbucks

5 year old buck +
Birdog - Yep. We do either Rye or oats as a nurse crop. Learned that stuff on here !! :emoji_slight_smile:
 
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