Bruce: You know, I think about that, and just take us back to when you first started hearing about food plots. I know you worked with, you know, a grant a long time, where you were an intern, and did lots of things from them. But, you know, let’s go down memory lane because, as far as I know, you know, we hunted Eddie’s corn, alfalfa, or beans.
Adam: That’s right. I don’t know the food plot history. You know, we talked about that pre-recording, but I would suspect, from what I know about food plotting, is people, farmers were planting alfalfa, and wheat fields, and oats, and all these things, turnips, and they realize the deer were liking them, and realize, “You know, maybe I should devote a little area to the wildlife and have that to hunt over?” I would suspect that’s where food plotting originated. The first food plot that I planted, or my family planted…I was right around 10 years old, so, for me, I’ve been planting food plots for about 20 years, and I started with planting oats and wheat, and then turnips. And it was a learning experience for me to start planting the first food plots because we didn’t know what the heck we were doing. All we knew was it was replicating a garden for the wildlife.
And so, you know, looking back, the amount of work we did, I can remember the first…one of the first food plots we planted, and actually it’s still on the family farm in this area, and we call it the “old food plot,” to where it was the original one, and we would go in with the two-bottom plow, turn the soil all the way over, and then we would come back in with the disc, and we’d have to disc it a couple of times just to kind of get it somewhat smoothed out. Sometimes we had to harrow it, and then we would broadcast the seed, and then we would try and drag it.
There was a couple food plots where early on we didn’t have a drag, and we would cut down cedar trees, eastern redcedar trees, and then drag them by hand to try and cover up the seed. That’s how far back it goes for me on planting food plots. And I remember the first couple of times we did that, we would go in and spray…hand-spray Miracle-Gro on ’em, and we were having turnips just this big. Oh, my gosh, [inaudible 00:05:38] we’d die and gone to heaven. Unfortunately, at that time at the farm, there wasn’t many deer. So it would be a couple of doe groups and young bucks would come in, but we never saw any good bucks on those food plots. Looking back, it was because we were in there. Every time we went to the farm, which was almost every other day, we’d be in there poking around, looking to see how it’s growing. So, it’s definitely…it’s changed a lot for us.
Bruce: Yeah. It sure has. And back when I was growing up…I was born in New England, actually, Rhode Island, and my neighbor used to take me trout fishing, and we went to his family farm. You know, wasn’t a big farm, 100 acres, 120 acres, but they had the old building…I mean, quintessential, you know, what you think of an old run-down farm, but it had that crabapple. It had that apple orchard, and that’s the first buck…that’s the first whitetail deer I ever saw. We’d go in there in the morning, slip in there, and they’d be, you know, munching, or we’d go in the evening, catch some trout, and there they’d be. They, you know, bounce away, and go, “What’s that?”
And, I mean, this is back when there weren’t a…whole hell of a lot of deer in Rhode Island. But it was so…you know, it was perfect habitat. You think back and it’s just like…so that was a food plot. I mean, the apple trees were deadly, right time, right season. And we’re gonna talk about that in the second part. You know, you got to give them what they want when they want it.
And I’d be interested, for people to write you, how would they get ahold of you if they want to make some comment about the historical aspects of food plots?
Adam: You know, I would be curious to hear how people got started in their first plots as well. And they can always shoot me an email at email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or just shoot us a message on Facebook or Instagram. Those are “Land & Legacy” handles. So all [inaudible 00:07:32].
Bruce: And do that…
Adam: Go ahead.
Bruce: Yeah. I was gonna say, please do that because we’re gonna, kind of, go down this journey with Land & Legacy for a while, and I’m gonna do four series a year, and they’ll be in one or two of them. I’m darn sure of that. And, you know, we want good content, but we want to give you what you want.
So, some place along the line, somebody decided to make a little food plot, or, you know, like you said, they sowed the alfalfa and said, “Hmm, you know, we got the old button [SP] stand over here, and it’s…you know, man, I could put a little thing there and dig up the dirt, and throw some seed, and see what happens.” And I guess it worked because it’s just unbelievable. This is the part where food plot today, it comes down to seed, [inaudible 00:08:24] to soil preparation. And as you…you know, we’ve talked so many times, it comes down to, you know, pH value. So walk us through, you know, people out there read a magazine and they lease some land, they’re gonna have it for a few years, own some land and they really never did anything with it. What are their first steps for food plots? What do they need to do to…you know, to do it right, not stumble along, like you and I have, you know, and made all the mistakes in the books?
Adam: Oh, gosh. I look back…and we did a podcast on this couple…I don’t remember, five podcasts ago, but I talked about that process of what we did to the soil health by doing all that. And when you understand soil health…I’ll try not to bore everybody with this, just because soil is one of those things that…it’s kind of boring, but when you think about soil health, if it’s healthy, you shouldn’t have to make the amendments, you shouldn’t have to add as much fertilizer and lime. It should just be everything they need right there in the soil. But when you start turning and introducing oxygen, and everything like that, and killing off beneficial bacteria and fungi in that soil, it becomes really detrimental.
So I think the first thing when you’re thinking about adding a food plot, you need to understand, “What’s the cost gonna be? And then, do I have the equipment to do it?” And understand the process to have a successful food plot, because we see it all the time, of, somebody plants a food plot, but the amount of expense, the amount of time, and then, frankly, the amount of destruction they did to soil health wasn’t offset enough by the amount of growth and benefits they had to the wildlife. It’s actually more detrimental. So, understanding all that before you plant a food plot. And do a soil test. Test it and see how far off your soil health or your pH is, basically, and then look at the cost it’s gonna take to get it back where it needs to be, where you can
actually have a successful food plot.
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