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Blog Entries from the WeHuntSC.com blogging crew

More Fall Plot Soil Samples + Spraying
   WeHuntSC.com - Adam Smith taking a soil sample
  Adam Smith taking a soil sample

This past Saturday Adam and I spent a great deal of time working in the heat and boy was it hot!  We are preparing to put in some of our Tecomate Seed fall food plots.  We went out collected a few soil samples and sprayed some round-up.  At this location we're going to put in two food plots.  One will be a half acre plot where we will plant Monster Mix.  The other will be around 3 acres located on an old power line where we will plant Max-Attract and Ultraforage in alternating sections. The smaller plot has had crops on it before so conditioning the soil won't be too bad in that location.  There are some weeds there, but not too many. The old power line, however, is slam full of grass and weeds so we've got our work cut out for us to be able to have a successful plot in this area.

While we were there, we also spent a good deal of time scouting and walking the land.  We found some rubs, saw some sign, and even saw a deer as we scouted.  We feel these are good signs, but we shall see as the season goes on. Our goal was to find areas where we wanted to put our food plots at this location and get the soil samples + start spraying and that's exactly what we did.  I think I soaked 2 shirts with sweat and I got really dirty by the end of it all. I wore pants out this time since last time we did this I caught poison ivy. I also wore boots since I've been seeing a lot of pics of snakes lately.  I had the perfect combination for being protected from the elements and also being hot and sweaty.

The Small Plot
The smaller location is at the back end of the property and it looks to be a good location. Our area of SC has parts of town that are all clay, some are all sand, and then there are areas that are mixtures of both. The area of this plot is made up more of clay than dirt. The small plot is probably about 100 - 120 yards long and 25 yards wide.  This should turn out to be a nice food plot and it also has a few oaks on the edge with a good crop of acorns. We'll need to trim back some of the other trees to improve the vision to all end s of the plot. This location will be the easier of the two to plant. As you'll see in the below video, Adam took the soil sample and then sprayed the field with Round-up to kill the weeds while I documented everything.

In hopes of not getting our plot overtaken with weeds (as we did in the summer at the one location), we're going to spray it with Round-up, then come back in with the GroundHog MAX to disk it up, then return a few days later to spray it again.  The reason we'll spray it the second time is to kill any dormant seed that we may have turned up while disking. After we spray again, we'll give it a few days before we go back in to plant the seed.

The Large Plot
The larger plot is the one that's located on an old power line. The power company use to have poles run through this section of woods, but in recent years they have removed the poles. This left a great place to put in a food plot.  The only problem we have is the weeds and grass that now resides in the area. There are a ton of weeds currently in the area and so we've got our work cut out for us to get an effective food plot installed. 

WeHuntSC.com - The large plot along an old power line

We are going to try to put another long and narrow plot in this location. Here again we collected another soil sample and sprayed Round-up heavily. We're going to let it sit for a few days and hopefully get a good portion of the grass and weeds killed. The weeds are so tall that I may even go back in and mow it down some. Then we'll go back in, with a tractor and the GroundHog Max, and disk. Following suit, we'll let it sit for a few days then return to spray again as we want to kill off any dormant seeds turned up while disking. 

You can see the video of all this below to get a visual for what we?re talking about and attempting to do.

So you've seen the hopeful locations of 2 of our fall plots. We're optimistic that we can pull it off, but again only time will tell. In the mean time, we've got a lot of work to do. More to come.



It's Time for another Soil Sample + Remote Food Plot Update
   WeHuntSC.com - Remote Food Plot Pic
  The Remote Food Plot at the 1st of August

This week has been very busy with all that we?ve got going on, but that is fine by me.  As we continue to monitor the food plots, we have to get ready to plant the fall plots as well.  So, when we got back from the Pee Dee Deer Classic, we journeyed out to the woods to check up on the remote food plot.  We also went and took a new soil sample at a location where we?re going to try to plant a different fall plot to get an idea of the composition of the soil.  Since this will be the first time we?re planting a food plot in this location it will take us some time to get the soil in the best conditions possible, but you have to start somewhere.

Soil Sample
Earlier in this series, I covered the reasons why one needs to take a soil sample. You can see that blog entry here: Collecting a Soil Sample in case you haven?t been following along.  Even at the Pee Dee Deer Classic, the Tecomate Seed representatives and other food plot experts presented and spoke about the importance of the soil and how the composition of the soil directly affects your food plot?s success. They talked about the ?pieces of the puzzle? necessary for a successful food plot.  I may be leaving some pieces out, but what stuck with me were three main pieces: the soil, the seed, and the knowledge.  In order to have success with a food plot you?ve got to have soil that is ready and conditioned to foment the growth of plants, good quality seed, and most importantly?you?ve got to know what to do!  (That last part is what I?ve been working on for some time now).  So it?s the week of August 1st and we?re taking a soil sample and intend to plant a fall food plot in late September to early October.

If you?re in South Carolina and want to know where you can get a soil sample analyzed, just find your local Clemson Cooperative Extension by clicking here.  For a small fee, you can send off your soil sample and they will return you a read out with detailed information about the makeup of your soil.  If you have trouble understanding the pH and all that, then you can take it to a seed and feed store and they can assist you with interpreting the results.  The staff at the local coop can also help you with that as well.

Remote Food Plot Update
The remote food plot continues to grow well.  As I continue to be clueless about this all, I was wondering why all of this stuff wasn?t eaten already.  I know there are deer out there, but yet some plants continue to grow untouched by the deer.  I knew that the seed was a mixture of plants (milo, clover, peas, etc), but I didn?t know that the deer would be eating them at different times of the summer/fall. The deer are being selective about what they eat as they walk through the food plot.  That is, they are eating some specific types of plants and not the others.  You can plainly see where they are passing through the plot and also which plants they are eating. It appears that they are eating the peas and the lab lab and leaving a lot of milo untouched. I spoke with the Tecomate rep and he said that after the first frost comes the starches in some of the plants will turn to sugar.  After that happens then the deer will really get in there and eat the remaining plants.  I hope this is right!  He also mentioned that the first time you plant a plot it kind of takes the deer a little while to figure out that they can get in there and eat the plants. 

Another note to mention is that I have not been getting many game-camera pics.  I thought something was wrong and it turns out that when you have dead batteries the camera won?t take pictures!  So we have put new batteries in the camera and hope to have some good pictures in upcoming blog entries.

The below video is of us getting a new soil sample where we?re going to start the process of conditioning the soil and attempt a fall food plot install + a current view of the remote food plot.  Sorry to spin so fast out there?it made the video a little blurry.  Maybe one day I?ll upgrade cameras and get better footage. 




Collecting a Soil Sample - The First Step in Creating a Food Plot

I?ve learned that the first step in the creation of a food plot is to get what is called a ?soil sample?.  This soil sample is nothing more than a zip-lock bag of dirt that is collected from the acreage where the envisioned food plot is going.  Once the food plot acreage is selected, a soil sample must be collected from it in order to determine the PH levels in the soil.  Since the land area will most likely be of decent size, it?s best to get a balanced soil sample.  By balanced I mean that it?s best to get soil from the 4 corners of the food plot acreage + some from the middle. Once you collect all the soil, you mix it in the zip-lock bag.  This way you are getting a uniform blend of soil over your intended food plot acreage. 

WeHuntSC.com - Food Plot Journey - Soil Sample
Why is a soil sample necessary?  
Food plot products need a good, fertile environment in which to grow.  This environment will include several variables with one of the most important being a proper level of acidity in the soil.  A soil sample is collected in order to find the current PH levels and to also gain other information about the soil?s composition/makeup.   This is true biology type stuff.  
In South Carolina talk, we?ll most likely be sending our soil sample off to a Clemson grad!
How deep to dig?
To get an accurate representation of the soil at the depth where the seeds will grow, it?s best to dig about 2 ? 3 inches beneath the surface.  We are using a garden spade to collect our soil sample.
 WeHuntSC.com - Food Plot Journey - Soil Sample Depth Image
After the dirt is in the bag
Now that the soil is in the bag it should be taken to the local COOP or Feed & Seed store to have it analyzed. There we will transfer our soil into a soil sample bag and complete the information on the bag indicating what we are going to plant in the food plot. The soil will be sent off and tested and in a few days the results of the sample will be returned with lime and fertilizer recommendations.  The recommendations will indicate how much lime and/or fertilizer will be necessary to create fertile soil for the type of seed in the food plot.
WeHuntSC.com - Food Plot Journey - Ziploc Bag Image
When is the best time to take a soil sample?
We are taking our soil samples in January, i.e. right after hunting season is over.  The reason we are jumping on it quickly is because we will be given lime/fertilizer recommendations for our soil and the lime needs time break down and dissolve into the soil.  The longer the lime is down the better chances it has of balancing out the acidity levels in the soil and creating fertile ground for food plot products to grow.
Tecomate Seed Food Plot Tip from Mike Lee:
If you have a tight budget and you have to decide between putting down the lime or putting down the fertilizer that the soil sample says you need? put the lime down -- no questions asked!

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