Mr. Food Plot…
Gunpowder without carbon, sulfur or saltpeter would be nothing more than another form of fertilizer without a bang. Creating a food plot that is long-living, productive and nutritious isn’t any different; the formula for success needs to be complete. The formula for success can change from one environment to another. Planting a food plot alongside a swamp which has light soil and minimum rainfall but has been sufficiently fertilized can be just as productive as one in prime farm land loam. The secret is water, which can forgive many sins.
Typical Hunting Type Soil
Your ancestors from around the world came to this great land and claimed the good soil many years ago. What they didn’t claim or abandoned became our state and national forests. Some of this abandoned marginal farmland is still available. Not all present hunting land has poor and light soil just most of it. Fortunate is the owner of productive hunting land soil. If you are in the market for hunting land, take your time and take a shovel with you and check that topsoil depth. If it is less than four inches, don’t even make an offer. Check out a few lower areas and shoot for six inches of topsoil. If not sure take a farmer with you.
The Value Of Organic Matter
Before pre-settlement times we had around 5% organic matter in the present farmlands of Saginaw valley. Today it is estimated to be an average of around 3.5 %. Agronomists believe this loss is due to deep tillage, which brings up less organic soil and buries the good stuff to decay and seep away.
Organic matter is nothing more than decayed or partially decayed plant and animal parts. Organic matter improves soil and plant productivity in several ways. It improves the physical soil condition in its tilth, ease of tillage, increases moisture retention and infiltration. Think of organic matter as a sponge, holds nutrients and with its own decomposition supplies additional nutrients to the plants root system. Due to this constant decomposition, new organic matter needs to be added to maintain a high soil organic content.
This organic matter manufacturing process takes place mainly in the top four inches of soil. Billions and billions of many different living microbes live in this four inch soil level. These microbes use the organic matter as their home as they break down plant fiber and fertilizer into useful nutrients for growing plants. Microbes utilize the nutrients available in the organic matter and nitrogen as their food source. Tilling deeper than four inched takes away the microbes’ food source and displaces them to deeper soil levels, which creates microbe refugees, (not a good thing).
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