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>>GRANT: It’s almost Father’s Day, and long-term viewers of GrowingDeer know I had a great father, great relationship with my father. As a matter of fact, he enjoyed hunting in this area a bunch. But you know what? A lot of folks aren’t blessed with a good father or good relationship with their father, and, fortunately, all of us can have a perfect relationship with our Heavenly Father.

>>GRANT: Hey, this week I hope y’all take time to celebrate with your father or someone else that’s really kind of been a great mentor to you in your life. Just take time to appreciate and get quiet and tell that person how much they mean to you.

>>GRANT: I’m kneeling in a small hidey hole food plot we call Kingpin, and about 20 days ago, me and the new GrowingDeer interns broadcast seed in this plot.

>>GRANT: It’s a great example of using The Release Process™ – our planting, our habitat management system – in small plots like this with hand tools.

>>GRANT: You can see the remnants of the small grain crop we had in here last fall. We planted it late August last year. Of course, we had small grains, cereal rye, wheat, oats, some clovers, some brassicas, other stuff. And a small plot like this, a lot of it got ate out.

>>GRANT: Now, small grains will be consumed pretty close to the ground – maybe if there’s not a lot of acorns. But in the spring, they’re gonna bolt. They’re not gonna be palatable to deer in the spring, and that’s what you’re seeing that’s leftover here – the dead vegetative material.

>>GRANT: I get a lot of questions about why we would terminate that; in this case, we used an herbicide and the reason’s real simple. All these seedheads, well they’re in the business of making viable seed, and they would make viable seed; those would fall to the ground, germinate, and many of them would grow and compete with the crop I wanted growing this summer.

>>GRANT: Now, typically you wouldn’t plant, you know, wheat, rye, cereal grains like this during May. It’s the wrong time of year. So, we need to terminate that to keep these seedheads from making a new crop.

>>GRANT: Once it was terminated, we let it dry down a little bit so it’s easier for the seed to get to the soil. Saw rain coming, which isn’t tough this year; it’s been raining almost every day here at The Proving Grounds. And then the interns and I just grabbed some broadcasters and some seed, come over here, and walked our pattern in the plot.

>>GRANT: When I say our pattern, especially in small plots like this, I want to make sure I get good coverage. So, we take about half the seed we want to plant in this area and have a guy walk north and south and another guy walk east and west, or they’re just walking perpendicular to each other, and that way you’re getting really good coverage.

>>GRANT: This is a small plot – about a tenth of an acre – and we were planting the Summer Release blend, and that normally plants – if you’re using a drill – at about 40 pounds per acre. We know when we broadcast that some of the seed’s not gonna make or squirrels and turkeys are gonna eat it. So, we double the rate when we’re broadcasting versus using a no-till drill. So, we knew it was a tenth of an acre, so we planted about eight pounds on this plot.

>>GRANT: And you can see there’s a great stand. We’re 20 days out, and it’s probably averaging about six inches tall. Now, I’m seeing some browsing here. I don’t look for this to be, you know, chest tall on me come bow season, but I look for it to grow all summer.

>>GRANT: Now, in the Summer Release blend, there’s a bunch of different species. So, some of them are palatable now, and that’s getting browsed on pretty hard. Some won’t be palatable until later on – like the guar – G-U-A-R bean. And some of it won’t be palatable till it makes a seedhead like milo.

>>GRANT: So, there’s a lot of things early, mid, and late summer to attract deer – keep them used to feeding in this area. And we know a diversity of species, and I don’t mean like three types of clover. I mean grasses, like the milo, legumes, and big broadleaves like the guar, and small broadleaves like buckwheat. All of these have different root structures and different exudates – or levels of carbonic acid leaking out the root system. That’s kind of technical, but the short story is by planting a blend, you get much faster and better improvements to the soil’s health.

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>>GRANT: So, the crop that we terminated, well that’s decomposing – breaking down – and becoming fertilizer for this crop. This crop is pulling great stuff out of the air and the soil and converting it to fertilizer for the next crop.

>>GRANT: We’ll let this grow. We’ve got deer patterned to coming in here; that will continue throughout the summer. And then probably about mid-to-late August, we see another rain coming. We’ll walk right through here because there’s gonna be enough browse pressure in these small plots.

>>GRANT: I don’t think we’re gonna need to terminate, but there’d be some light hitting the ground, and we’ll broadcast that fall crop – the fall release blend. We’re going to broadcast it in here. Deer coming in here every day all summer long; there’s no reason to believe they won’t come here during early bow season. If we get the correct wind direction, be ready to put some more venison in the freezer.

>>GRANT: There’s some points I went over fairly quickly there. You need to remember that if we had disked, there’d be so much oxygen in the soil that this would break down really quickly. It was never meant to have that much oxygen in the soil.

>>GRANT: And by just broadcasting seed, leaving the root structure of this past crop perfectly in place – it’s holding the soil in place; there’s no erosion. And these roots, of course, were successful – they grew a plant – and they went to nutrients and water, and as they’re decomposing, these new roots can follow that same path right to those resources. But if we disk, that’s all changed, and we’re starting from scratch.

>>GRANT: If a few weeds get started – let’s just say, you know, some foxtail or ragweed – I’m not worried about it. Deer actually like eating young ragweed. If I see some noxious weeds, like pigweed or marestail, well, it’s a tenth of an acre. I don’t need to bust out a big sprayer.

>>GRANT: I need a little sweat equity and I just come pull those weeds, toss ‘em in the plot, let them break down and become more slow-release fertilizer.

>>GRANT: Small plots are relatively easy to manage. If you’ve got good quality seed and enough sun coming down for them to express their potential, you can grow a great crop, improve the soil, and attract deer.

>>GRANT: Man, I love looking at a new plot and see what’s working well and what’s not and what deer prefer at that time of year.

>>GRANT: Now look right here. There is some browse right here. You can see the roots are starting to get dirt on there, and that dirt means that there’s really good microbe activity interacting with the roots. If this just pulled off perfectly clean and white, I’d be worried. But I know my soil’s working good here.

>>GRANT: Of course, you can see these leaves. This is a young soybean. You know deer like soybeans. I’ve got a few beans in there. They’re not Roundup Ready. You don’t have to worry about that – just to get deer using the plot, while the other species are coming on.

>>GRANT: Here’s a pea. You can tell the leaves are different than a bean – different shape, a little more pointy. And peas tend to be not as palatable to deer – especially this variety of pea – so, it’s gonna be growing, working its magic. Of course, it’s a legume making some nitrogen while deer are eating on those beans.

>>GRANT: None of the beans are gonna make it in here. This plot’s too small. That pea can carry a bit of the load.

>>GRANT: Got a collard in here. That is a brassica that grows well during the summers. Right here you can start seeing that little brassica leaf forming. Now, I don’t look for a deer to eat on that too rapidly. That’s fine. It’s going to suppress weeds and build the soil. A little later in the summer, they may consume it, or it’s gonna mature. Either way, it’s serving a great role in this blend.

>>GRANT: Of course, there’s several other species in this blend. As it gets a little bigger and deer start preferring different species at that time of year, we’ll share those with you. But one thing that’s really important – even in a small plot like this – is right over here, I have a utilization cage.

>>GRANT: I actually prefer them a little bit bigger than this. This is one I made a long time ago, and it’s been squished. Deer trying to get in there. But I like ‘em about three or four feet across. So, take a 12-foot piece of wire, roll it up, make a cage like this, and that way I can see how tall my crop is getting in here without deer pressure because the beans aren’t gonna make it. They’re going to be browsed out too early, but in here they’ll be protected, and I can see their potential on these hillbilly soils with no added lime or fertilizer.

>>GRANT: Obviously, using the steps of The Release Process™ is working beautifully in this plot. And next time we’re gonna share with you how we use The Release Process™ with a different twist to it in another hidey hole food plot, and I think you’re gonna be really impressed when we show you the clover growing there.

>>GRANT: Understanding these simple soil health principles and the natural systems are a great way to enjoy Creation and learn about the Creator. It’s even more important to take time every day and be quiet and seek the Creator’s will for your life.

>>GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.