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Here's a couple posts to help you with your seed selection. These are how I categorize them. Opinions may vary as to fertility requirements or one crop over another, etc. I ranked or left some out of categories that others would include. Some may argue that they should be included or others left out and if you think so state your reasons and we'll discuss it here.

Shade Tolerant Crops
White clover (Ladino, Durana, etc.)
Perennial Ryegrass

Semi Shaded Crops
Small burnet

Outside the box
Hosta

Shade tolerant crops do not grow in complete shade, they require a minimum of 50% sunlight. Hosta will grow in complete shade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Lower PH crops
Alsike Clover
Birdsfoot trefoil
Cow Pea
Hairy Vetch
Cereal Rye
Perennial Ryegrass
Timothy
Rape
Buckwheat
Chicory

Minimum Tillage Crops
Chicory
Buckwheat
Brassicas
Timothy
Ryegrass
Small Grains (Oats, Wheat, etc)
Most Clovers

Low Fertility Crops
Small Burnet
Soybeans

High Preference crops
White Clover
Sobeans
Corn
Chicory
Sugar Beet
Field Peas
Burgandy Beans
Alfalfa

Crop Vulnerable to Overgrazing
Small Burnet
Soybeans
Cow pea
Field Pea
Burgandy Bean

Difficult to establish due to either competition or particular requirements
Alfalfa
Sugar Beets
Corn
Kura Clover
Birdsfoot Trefoil
 

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Cool Season Perennials
Kura, Red, White and Alsike Clovers
Alfalfa
Birdsfoot Trefoil
Timothy
Chicory
Small Burnet

Cool Season Annuals
Field Pea
Hairy Vetch
Small Grains
Annual Ryegrass
Brassicas

Warm Season Annuals
Burgandy Bean
Cowpeas
Soybeans
Corn
Buckwheat
Sugar Beets

Cool season - Begin growing when soil and air temperature is below 60 degrees F. Growth slows or stops when temps rise above 60-70 degrees.

Warm Season - Begin growing when soil and air temperature is above 60 to 70 degrees F. Growth slows or stops when temps fall below 60-70 degrees.

Annuals - Grow and die in the same year. Spend little time in root development. Can be either warm or cool season.

Perennials - Long lasting, come back year after year. Much of their first years growth goes into producing roots. Cool season only.
 

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Thanks Bowtech for such great info in a condensed pkg!

Q: if I were to clear out an acre or so and leave the bigger stumps in, I have a 4x5 metal grading with 3 inch welded rebar every 8'' square, could this be enough soil amending to seed brassica or white clover or any other type of plots that would require little or no intervention afterwards? An acre food plot would provide tons of forage for my local deer. Tks.
 

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BT, I hope you don't mind if this becomes a bit of a Q&A thread. The info you posted is very helpful. I have been thinking about food plots in the last little bit as well. Options for me are limited as I am land limited, but I have been thinking about putting a few plots on a decommissioned section of woods road. I will be using hand tools and the pH and fertility is probably going to be very low. It will be semi-shaded after I open up the edges along the road and I am going to be using hand tools as access will be limited as I don't want to advertise what is there to the greater hunting community.


I know it sounds probably like a make work project, but it is all I can do right now. So, I was thinking maybe some small burnet, alsike clover, maybe some red and white? I will also be buying a soil pH test kit to check it out and then decide on lime, but since I may be prepping a nice little piece of heaven that may be an access road again some day I might not want to sink a whole lot of money into it. Any help and info is appreciated! Thanks in advance BT and others!
 

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BE That should work out ok. If you could get a little lime and or fertilizer on there it would really help things. Brassica really need a higher fertilty to do well even though they establish with little ground disturbance. The clover usually comes with a little less TLC.

WR... I wouldn't bother with the red clover and small burnet in that situation. The red dies out in 1-2 years and the small burnet is very suseptible to overgrazing and takes a year to establish well. I would go with alsike, a mixture of vaious whites (Ladino, Durana, etc) and a little chicory. They are your best optin IMO on roadways with tougher soils and limited sunlight. You may get edges with less alsike and chicory and more white and a better mix of everything towards the centers but it will give you a better variety than if you went with straight white clovers which would do best in that situation.
 

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Thanks again for the info BT. How did the woods road that you planted in a few threads back make out? I saw the pictures after it was tilled/raked that you posted. Think it would be okay to prep and plant this spring if I got at it early enough, or should I be thinking about next year? The site hasn't been prepped yet, but I was hoping to get at it just after the snow goes. Do you recommend a herbicide treatment first or just till/rake plant? Ideally I would like to have had it all prepped last fall, but those are the breaks I guess. It would have been nice to be able to frost seed in this spring.

Ever done a small plot with hand tools before? I have read a few articles on it, but I know it is a lot different than getting the garden going in the backyard. I am pumped thinking about this though. Seems like it must be very rewarding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That roadway looks the same as the plot does. I thought I had a pic of it but can't find it. I prep'ed the roadway the same as the plot that it is leading to as it was easy since I just did it as I was going into the plot. Added lime and fertilizer and planted. The alfalfa didn't do as well due to the limited sunlight and competition but came ok for a couple years then died out. It is mostly a mix of White Clover and Chicory now with the odd stem of alfalfa still stuggling away. Starting to get a little weed competition in the plot this year, mainly clump style grasses so I'll remove them by hand this spring when the ground is wet since the plot is small and it will only take 1/2 hour or so. I'll frost seed some more mix over it after that, spread a little fertilizer by hand and it should look almost as good as new. One nice thing about doing plots out in the woods is there is very little weed competition the first few years. No weed seeds in the soil so it takes a few years for them to find their way there.

I tried a woods plot one time with hand tools around a treestand I had one time with a couple commercial mixes that came as sampler packs. The packages said just rake and throw down the seed so I thought I'd try it and see what happened. Well they didn't do too well, no sunlight, low fertility and acidic soils = no plants, lol.

The more you can do to prepare the site the better it will be and the longer it will last. On one end of the spectrum you can just go in the spring and frost seed and you will have some establishment, on the other end you can turn over the ground, cultivate, spray, lime, fertilize, seed and roll. Then there is the middle where you can do any combination.

You can establish a plot this spring no problem, just don't be in too big a rush to get it done. If you have access to roundup and are using hand tools then I would spray it. Spraying early in the spring is not a good idea. The weeds are growing fast and some will delay in germination until the soil is warm. I find it better to wait until things are growing well and the temp warms the soils up then weed whack the weeds hard and wait till they get about 3" and then apply your spray, you will get a better kill then. Wait till things brown down then go in and rake. If you plan on adding any amendments like lime do it as soon as you can in the spring, the earlier the better, minus snow of course. Wait till you rake the plot to add your fertilizer if you plan on adding any. A low nitrogen fertilzer is best for perennials like clover but a little N will give them a start, I usually use a 5-20-20 or 6-24-24 or something similiar. Clovers can fix their own nitrogen after that.
As long as you get the moisture you can seed cool season perennials into June and get great establishment. July-August is a tough time to establish cool season perennials so I would so it before July. There isn't any need to rush what your doing, I know all of us want the plot now and just get some seed down but waiting a few weeks or a month or more while you let the soil warm and do the prep will pay big dividends and you should have a much nicer plot.
 

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Thanks again for all info BT. You go out of your way to help people on this site. It is nice to hear it from someone that has attempted things before instead of constantly trying to reinvent the wheel. When it comes to gardening I am a bit of green thumb, but food plots in less than ideal situations and I am out of my element. Thanks for cautioning to take the slow approach and prepare the site adequately and allow for the soils to warm. I am fairly pumped and shovelling the snow off the plot has crossed my mind. I know you have no intention of doing so, but don't go and delete your posts anytime soon!! I am coming back to this one in the spring before I get started.

Thanks again BT.
 

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just looking through the foodplot section and seen this thread.. lots of new guys getting into foodplotting and wondering what to plant.. this thread is a good start
 

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Just going to bring this back up. Bowteck doesnt post here anymore but his posts were very informative. This post has some good info for anyone doing habitat improvements on thier woodlots. Must be some more things you guys could add.
 
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