Reclaimed mining property offers challenges for food plot growers.
QUESTION: I have a 155-acre farm leased. It was previously mining property, and the soil is very poor with a very thin top layer. I am trying to get food plots started, but don’t have the equipment or the time and money to prepare the soil properly. I have read about throw-and-grow. Is this seed really good to plant by throwing on top of ground? If not, what do you recommend to get and keep game on the farm? –Darry H.
ANSWER: It all begins with the soil, and if yours has been stripped off, then you certainly have your work cut out for you. If you really want to plant food plots I’d suggest you start with something inexpensive and basic like winter wheat or rye that will act as a green fertilizer by putting more organic matter into the top soil layer.
It will take several years, but if you turn it over every year, soil conditions will improve in time.
Meanwhile, you might also consider mast orchards. They, too, will take several years to become productive but will require far less long-term cost and effort. Even something like raspberries and blackberries, which do well on disturbed soil, will attract more wildlife.
In my opinion, there’s no stronger deer attractant than persimmons. Plant some persimmons, and then add some chestnuts for later in the season and you should be in good shape. Chestnuts are even more attractive than acorns, and they start producing nuts with a few years of planting. — Recent Ask the Biologist Question:
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