The food-plot trend is still going strong, and it’s no wonder why. Creating a successful food plot requires having realistic expectations, finding the right location, and, most importantly, using the right seed. This is where “throw and grow” food plot seed comes into play. But does it really work?
Understanding “Throw and Grow”
If you’re involved in the hunting club or wildlife industry, you’ve probably come across the term “throw and grow” before. It refers to a method of seeding where tilling the soil is not feasible or practical. Instead, you simply walk over the plot area and scatter the seeds on the ground.
This approach is particularly useful when it’s challenging to bring heavy equipment into the plot area. By opting for a no-till and throw-and-grow method, you can save a considerable amount of time and expand your planting options to areas that were previously inaccessible.
Unveiling the Seed Mix
Wildlife companies offer a variety of seed mixes for throw and grow food plots. These mixes usually include three types of forage: clovers, tetraploid ryegrass, and brassicas. Each of these forage types brings its own unique benefits to the table.
Clover is a popular addition to throw and grow seed mixes due to its high protein levels and nutritional value throughout the hunting season. It’s relatively easy to grow, packed with nutrition, and, most importantly, highly appealing to deer. A well-prepared and planted clover plot can yield an impressive two to four tons of clover per acre.
Ryegrass, an annual crop commonly used to overseed summer lawns, is another essential component of throw and grow seed mixes. It thrives in various climates and can be established without heavy equipment or extensive soil preparation. With just a simple ground scratch and seed distribution, ryegrass will quickly take root. It’s a versatile grass that grows in both full sun and shade, making it an excellent choice for those on a limited budget or lacking equipment.
Brassicas, known for their adaptability to cooler weather, complete the throw and grow seed mix. They offer a bountiful amount of forage, typically ranging from two to four tons per acre in a well-managed plot. With their high protein and digestibility levels, brassicas provide the necessary nutrition for deer during colder months. However, caution must be exercised when seeding brassicas to prevent overcrowding and stunted growth.
While many throw and grow seed mixes sold by wildlife companies effectively deliver on their promises, it’s crucial to consider the specific grass species and nutritional value they offer. Some mixtures may include seeds that are not preferred by deer or offer lower levels of nutrition.
For example, annual ryegrass, often found in throw and grow mixes, may germinate quickly and look visually appealing. However, deer typically won’t consume it unless there are no other desirable options available. Additionally, ryegrass is low in nutrition and difficult to remove once established due to its heavy reseeding nature. Therefore, it’s best to avoid planting it in areas where you plan to grow higher quality crops in the future.
Furthermore, some commercial throw and grow mixes may include subpar clover types and forage species. To ensure a nutritious food plot, consider creating your custom mix with rye (the cereal grain, not ryegrass), clover, and brassica.
Crafting the Perfect Mix
If you want to create a throw and grow seed mix that caters to the nutritional needs of deer, try the following combination:
- Rye (30 pounds per acre)
- Clover (6 pounds per acre)
- Brassicas (4 pounds per acre)
For added success, consider incorporating chicory into clover plots to withstand dry and hot conditions. Plant this mix in late summer or early fall in an area that receives a minimum of four hours of direct sunlight. To maximize results, prepare the food plot area by conducting a soil test, clearing debris, rocks, logs, and weeds, and applying lime and fertilizer.
Commercial throw and grow food plot seed mixes can vary in terms of their effectiveness and nutritional content. While they may contain appealing ingredients like clover and brassicas, they often consist primarily of ryegrass, a less desirable grass species. To ensure a thriving food plot, it’s best to take matters into your own hands and create a custom mix tailored to your specific needs. By doing so, you’ll feel confident in planting a last-minute food plot and enjoying a bountiful harvest.