Achieving Success with “Throw and Grow” Food Plots
Can you really achieve a flourishing food plot with a simple toss of seed? It may sound too good to be true, but wildlife companies’ “throw and grow” seed mixes actually deliver on their promises. These convenient blends typically include a combination of clovers, tetraploid ryegrass, and brassica, with ryegrass being the main component. Although deer may not find ryegrass appetizing due to its low nutritional value, it serves a purpose in these mixes — by providing quick coverage that can be challenging to eradicate.
Grasping the Concept of Throw and Grow
“Throw and grow” is a term commonly used by wildlife enthusiasts, especially those involved in community hunting clubs or the wildlife industry. It refers to a seeding method that requires no tilling or soil cultivation. Instead, the seeds are scattered over the designated plot area, making it a practical option for areas where heavy equipment or tilling is impractical or inaccessible.
Unveiling the Seeds in Throw and Grow Mixes
Wildlife companies offer numerous throw and grow seed mixes, each designed to provide a fast-growing, protein-rich, and mineral-packed food source. Let’s take a closer look at the three main types of forage included in these blends.
Clover: A Protein-Packed Delight
Clover is a popular addition to throw and grow blends due to its high protein content throughout the hunting season. Not only is it easy to grow, but it’s also highly nutritious and incredibly appealing to deer. A well-prepared clover plot can yield two to four tons of clover per acre, making it a valuable food source for wildlife. Additionally, clover enriches the soil with nitrogen through its roots. Popular clover varieties include Arrowleaf Clover, Alsike Clover, Berseem Clover, Crimson Clover, Ladino Clover, and Red Clover.
Tetraploid Rye Grass: The Reliable Companion
Ryegrass, an annual crop widely known for overseeding lawns in winter, plays a crucial role in throw and grow seed mixes. This resilient grass adapts well to various soil conditions and is particularly useful in areas where heavy machinery is limited or prohibited. Establishing ryegrass is as simple as raking the ground and sowing the seeds — no fancy equipment required. It thrives in both full sun and partial shade, and with timely rainfall, a huntable food plot can be ready within just ten days. Ryegrass proves to be an economical option for those with limited resources and a tight budget, providing an opportunity to create a food plot where it might have seemed impossible.
Brassica: Cold Weather Marvels
Brassicas, known as cool-season forages, excel in cold weather conditions. These plants offer abundant forage, yielding two to four tons per acre in well-managed plots. With protein levels of 25 to 35 percent and 15 percent fiber, brassicas provide a nutritious and highly digestible food source for deer. Their popularity peaks after a few frosts, as colder weather triggers changes within the plants that align with the whitetail’s dietary needs. While planting brassicas, it’s important to avoid excessive seeding, as overcrowding can stunt growth and hinder the plants’ access to essential resources. Common brassica types include Rape, Kale, Turnips, and Radish.
The Verdict: Do Throw and Grow Food Plots Work?
While many throw and grow seed mixes offered by wildlife companies do deliver successful results, there is often a catch. Some of the seeds included in these blends are not preferred by deer or offer lower nutritional value. For instance, annual ryegrass may germinate quickly and appear visually appealing but lacks appeal to deer unless there are no other desirable species nearby. Additionally, these mixes often contain an overwhelming percentage of ryegrass, compromising their overall quality and effectiveness.
To truly create a productive and nutritious throw-and-grow food plot, it’s best to take matters into your own hands. By crafting your own mix, you have control over the ingredients and can ensure optimal deer appeal and nutritional value. Our recommended mix includes Rye (the cereal grain, not ryegrass), Clover, and Brassicas. Adding chicory to clover plots can further enhance their attractiveness and resilience. Plant this mix in late summer or early fall, in an area receiving a minimum of four hours of direct sunlight. Proper soil preparation, clearing debris, and applying lime and fertilizer will maximize your chances of success.
Although commercial throw and grow seed mixes may appear convenient, they often fall short in terms of quality and effectiveness. By understanding the components of these blends and taking control of the ingredients, you can create a customized bundle of throw and grow seeds that will enable you to establish a last-minute food plot. So, grab your seed bag, venture into the wild, and enjoy the rewards of a bountiful food plot that you’ve created with your own hands.