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GRANT: Early morning, June 4th, and there is rain just to the south of us on the radar and I can see the clouds. So, we're gonna bump through this one, try to share a little information this morning here at The Proving Grounds.
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GRANT: Few episodes ago we showed you a mountain that had no food, just all forest and we were creating some new food plots. Even though the contractors been finished from moving those trees for awhile we haven't planted or done anything cause it has been bone dry here at The Proving Grounds. It's been a few days with 30, 40, 50% chance of rain but that means there is just as good a chance it's not gonna rain so we held off planting not wanting to put those soybeans in a dustbowl. Yesterday the forecast jumped up to 80% chance of rain only a 20% chance it wouldn't rain. So, against my better judgment we believed the weatherman and Adam planted both food plots yesterday.
ADAM: Super dry, back on the tractor though. They're calling for 70% chance of rain tonight, 80% chance tomorrow even though there's a cloud of dust boiling up behind me, I'll show you in a second. We're gonna bank on the fact that there is rain coming tonight and tomorrow. And it's the best chance we've had probably all month, so. Hopefully, we get that rain we gonna be saying our prayers tonight big time, hoping for the rain. But anyway, here's the dust.
GRANT: This morning I was so thrilled to measure an inch and a tenth of rain in my rain gauge. Those seeds were in the ground less than twelve hours before it rained. Now one inch won't solve the drought problems here at The Proving Grounds but it's a great start and it's enough to get those soybeans up and running.
GRANT: This is the new food plot we've been showing you, from marking it out, to the equipment removing the trees, to Adam planting, and the next step, we hope, would be germination.
GRANT: Although the field looks like it has been plowed that's not the case at all. The dozer and the trackhoe removed the trees. Kind of leveled it out, we brought the no-till drill in and drilled in these two little furrow marks all through the field. We have not disced it or plowed it, that might be appropriate for the first time in some areas but as you can tell anywhere I throw this it is gonna hit a rock. There is no chance of me throwing a rock and not hearing the click of it hitting a rock.
GRANT: So in five days and one inch of rain it probably just went through this gravel just like it would go through a loose wire screen. We're seeing some germination already of our Eagle Seed beans.
GRANT: When you use a no-till drill, you don't get exact seed placement like you might with a $50,000 planter or some other piece of equipment. But here is a great example. There was one seed obviously put in the ground, I'll dig it up in a second, and another, that was spilled or not covered with dirt. It is so rocky here clover seeds, or turnips or radishes. really small, hard seeds, will often germinate if they are laying on top of the ground if it gets soil moisture cause the raindrops come down, splash and act to cover it enough for the seed to get good seed to soil contact. But a bigger seed like a soybean, or a kernel of corn, or something big, doesn't germinate as well when it is laying on top of the ground.
GRANT: And that's why the no-till drill has that opener that actually makes a path and then the seed falls in and then the press wheel or something close it and put dirt on top. So in this case, when the ground is so rocky and that drill is bouncing, of course, a seed or two is gonna pop out on the ground and I'm looking at way less than 5%. I don’t, I had to go kinda walk around to find this seed. So here is this seed that did not get covered and it has not germinated. I'll cover it up with hopes that it might still germinate. And right next to it, obviously buried the appropriate depth, if I can get down below it in this rocky soil, so I'm now officially an inch down or more. You can see how deep that’s been in the soil pushing up two leaves so it can make photosynthesis or make sugars from the sun's energy – combination of water, nutrients, and the sun's energy. One thing that’s really missing from this plot is organic matter, it’s just basically gravel with a little bit of dirt. And you might look at these bigger particles and call that organic matter, but these are not gonna breakdown anytime soon to be of a benefit to this food plot. Some people write me and ask “Can I add sawdust to my food plots to add organic matter?” And it’s a yes and no answer, sawdust takes a long time to breakdown and while it's breaking down the little bacteria in the dirt that help that process, that are beneficial, all go to those big chunks and use some of the nutrients in the soil to survive while they're breaking that down, taking that away from plants. The better way is what we've done is get a crop started and it may not be the best the first year, let it grow pulling nutrients out of the soil, or mining the nutrients, die or start breaking down the soil, and very small particles, herbaceous breaks down a lot easier than woody, and let that build organic matter.
GRANT: Even with marginal food here the first year because it’s a new plot, not a lot of nutrients, in really rough shape, it’s still gonna be better food than over here in the dark forest where all the sun is being captured in the canopy and there is not much to eat down on the forest floor.
GRANT: I asked for some help on our Facebook page, “What was the best bait to put in traps for groundhogs?” And literally had dozens and dozens, hundreds of responses. One of the responses was peaches. Tracy has a peach tree in the yard so John had taken some peaches and smushed 'em up to get the juices and the scent flowing and put 'em in one trap with lettuce from Rae's garden in the other trap.
GRANT: Traps are on either side of a Trophy Rock where we have a bunch of pictures of the groundhogs utilizing the trace minerals.
GRANT: But when we checked that card from the Reconyx camera early this morning, it looked like the groundhog didn't like the buffet. He just couldn't make up his mind. He's right between the peaches and the lettuce but didn't enter either trap.
GRANT: It is kinda interesting to see that hen turkey wading out in the pond but it's disturbing that there's no poults with her. Here we are in June, ample time for turkeys to be nested and have poults with ‘em. We have gads and gads of pictures of turkey hens we've seen, I've yet to see the first poult.
GRANT: As we finish up some of these habitat projects and free up a little bit more time. No doubt about it I'll be out there with that FoxPro caller working on some of those predators that are reducing my turkey and deer population.
GRANT: I hope you are experiencing some good growing conditions at your Proving Grounds and get to get outside and enjoy Creation this week. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.
GRANT: That's what the New Zealanders taught me, they’re all about growing the biggest antlers they can simply to harvest those antlers…(Fades out)