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Scott K

Trying for better plots

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This year I am going to try to have better success on my food plots. I am expanding on some, and planning on clearing out a couple acre plots. I hadnt had great success in growing in previous year, but I just raked, and broadcasted the seed. This year I am going to spray, take soil samples, and try to correct the soil as much as financially possible. Till, then plant. I plan on planting each acre plot, half with Brassica, and half with a clover mix. I am also planting 10 more apple trees, and I havent had much luck with those the past few years either.

This land is in NW Wisconsin.

Any tips? Where to send in soil samples? How much does it cost? Can it be taken from frozen soil? Or will that change the results? Best, cheapest fertilizer to get, from where? I dont have unlimited funds, so if it asks for 1 ton of lime, or fertilizer, it more then likely will just get what I can afford at the time. How about a good seed? What brand? Do I have the local seed store mix me some? Or do I buy a pre package bag from a box store with pictures of big racked deer on it? All the work will be done with an ATV, and by hand, I am trying to get a garden tractor, with a tiller on it to use.

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Pick areas tht get good sun and do ot hold water. I'd send the soil test into the UofM. Pretty inexpensive. just take 3-4 samples from the areas you want plant... Thy can all be mixed into one test. We generally need to lime the soil, which is pretty inexpensive. For small plots, you can buy lime in bags and spread w a fertilizer spreader. We do this after the weeds have been sprayed and killed. Then as you work the soil, the lime will get worked in. Bigger plots youll need to buy ag lime in bulk. Break the ground until it is friable. I then spread fertilizer and then seed. If you do not have a planter, broadcast the seed and then drag or cultipack to insure good gound to seed contact. Remember it will take close to a full year for the lime to correct the ph... So I'd hold off on perennial plots for a season. Just plant annuals the first year... They are good to help build up the soil as well. The tubers from many of the brassica, break up the soi, bring nutients back up to the surface and provide organic matter when tilled back into the soil. We often do a mix comprised of: turnips, forge radish, kale or Swiss chard, crimson clover and winter peas along w/ some soy beans. We also do green plots in the fall w/ 50/50 forge oats and winter wheat... We've used winter rye also. I buy seed from an elevator and mix it myself. You're paying a premium for seed in a box with a brand name and pretty pictures of big deer... The following year, you can work up the plots again and continue to do annual plantings or plant. In perennial plots now that he ph has been adjusted... We do both. Clover and high sugar grass are both great choices for perennial plots. We mix the two often and the deer really utilize those plots. If you have an honest acre, you can also try a soy bean plot. I have a plot that is an acre and is in beans every 2-3 years... It gives me the ability to use round up during the growing season which helps to keep the weed bank down on the plot, plus I am getting a high protein food source to the deer and it needs very little fertilizer. I seed in oats / wheat with a hand seeder in late August early sept directly into the beans so there s green all the wy up till snow cover. The beans on one acre plots will be hammered and just make it to 6-8" tall, but I don't care... I'm Not growing a bean crop but rather forage. Which they use very heavily. The best way to learn is to get out and try different things and find what works best on your property... Each success and each mistake guide you through to successful management on your property.

Good Luck!

Ken

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The M111 rootstock is probably the hardiest... It will give you semi dwf trees.

Up north I've had my best luck w: honeycrisp, frostbite and haralred. These have been the hardiest eating apples. For crabs we've had great luck with: red splendor, prairie fire, Selkirk and professor sprenger. For eating crabs try: Dolgo, chestnut and Whitney. Add a lot of compost to the dirt and mulch after planting...

Woodstock nursery in Neilsville WI sells deer plot apples in groups of 5.

Good Luck!

Ken

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Soil type is a significant factor in choosing a rootstock as well as hardiness. I've seen reports from the UP of MI showing significant losses on m111...especially in years without much snowfall to insulate the roots. The "B" series rootstocks are generally considered the most cold hardy. My general recommendation for guys planting "deer apples" is to go with b118 rootstock. I do like m111 as well, but only in heavy soils.

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