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>>GRANT: A lot of people are talking about food plots late March, early April. But I get the feeling some folks are wanting to jump the gun.

>>GRANT: Oh yeah.

>>GRANT: I’m getting a lot of questions about planting. “Boy, can I plant at my latitude or even further north?” But when I look at the forecast, we’ve got several mornings that are going to be in the low 30s coming up. And I’m in a valley, so that means it will be five or ten degrees lower here. We’ve got frost and freeze coming.

>>GRANT: It’s really important not to plant too early during the spring. Boy, that soil temperature can drop a lot on those cold nights and either kill or set back the seeds.

>>GRANT: Seeds that are set back by cold damage may germinate but the plant will never express its full potential.

>>GRANT: Here in Missouri our youth turkey season is usually somewhere about mid-April, give or take a bit. And I’ve seen it snow during youth turkey season. And I know planting before then is probably pushing it and you’re taking a risk.

>>GRANT: Here at The Proving Grounds we always plant blends. And a blend gives you the advantage of covering a lot of bases where a single species only has one shot to do what you need it to do.

>>GRANT: And in this blend, which we planted last August, there was a super high-quality annual clover that comes on strong this time of year.

>>GRANT: So, we’ve got lush, high-quality forage for now until we plant.

>>GRANT: Of course, deer and turkey are feeding on that clover and attracting them. And this time of year, right before that doe has fawns and the bucks are just thinking about starting antlers, high-quality forage is critical.

>>GRANT: If your food plots are still lip high, I’ve got to tell you, it’s unlikely the deer and turkey at your property are going to express their full genetic potential.

>>GRANT: I wish to remind everyone that the three most important things to remember about a deer expressing its potential or their genetics is nutrition, nutrition, nutrition.

>>GRANT: Now, I stole that line from years ago when Dr. Brown, the dean of Texas A&M’s wildlife program, was giving a speech at a big symposium on deer genetics. And he opened up by telling everyone genetics are important, but nutrition is at the very front line that managers like you and I should focus on.

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>>GRANT: I mentioned that the clover is really lush and palatable right now. And I’m sure high protein. I haven’t had this tested. Because right beside me, well, there’s some turnips and radishes going to seed. And once you see a plant go to seed like this it’s rarely palatable to deer or other browsers because they’re moving a lot of nutrients to the flower.

>>GRANT: So, I don’t expect to see deer eating on this, but rather head down, eating on this high-quality clover.

>>GRANT: The same is true for the cereal grains – that’s usually wheat, rye, and oats. Now, a lot of places north of here, the oats have froze out; probably got some wheat, and in this case we’re looking at cereal rye. And when cereal rye starts making that round stem – it’s not the leaf surface area like this, but a round stem – it’s not near as palatable to deer either.

>>GRANT: There’s several radishes and turnips in this blend. And these are the first ones I see, kind of looking around, to flower – not many yet.

>>GRANT: But the other ones – well, you can tell they’re starting to bolt. They’re putting on a lot of growth right now. And when they do that, they’re not very palatable. And you might think, well, gosh, that’s wasted. But that’s not the case at all.

>>GRANT: Now, deer have fed on the greens and several of the tubers all throughout the winter. They’re going to bolt and this will die and it will decompose.

>>GRANT: Now, this has been extracting nutrients. I broke the long taproot pulling this out of the ground. And it will extract nutrients while it’s growing. And when it dies and decomposes, well, that’s the perfect slow-release fertilizer package. There’s none better and that’s going to release the nutrients that it got deep out of soil profile right here on the surface for the new seedlings to use.

>>GRANT: I often say there’s no magic bean. There are no magic species. No Jack and the Beanstalk, if you will. But by putting a blend together, we can cover all the bases – drought resistant, cold hearty, really attractive to deer early season, mid-season and late season, and very productive after season – like now.

>>GRANT: So, we’re taking care of those does that are developing fetuses and the bucks producing antlers.

>>GRANT: There are several good websites you can use to monitor the soil temperature at your site. And there’s a link on the screen that is one I use. I’m not saying it’s any more accurate than the others.

>>GRANT: We’re waiting for our soil to get 60 degrees or higher. By that time this will have all grown a good bit.

>>GRANT: Of course, we use a no-till drill, a Genesis, and a crimper – the Goliath crimper. So, we’ll drill right into this with our next crop. We’re going to be planting the Summer Release blend from Green Cover Seed. We’ll plant right into this.

>>GRANT: And that standing crop serves as a greenhouse in case we get that odd, cold day at that time. The frost won’t make it through, you know, four, five, six feet cereal rye and protect those young plants.

>>GRANT: And by that time, this is starting to have a good seed head and the seeds will be in the dough stage. If we squeeze them, water will come out; makes it really easy to terminate that crop with a crimper.

>>GRANT: Of course, all this mulch growing way up, you know, way over my head right now. That’s also a great slow-release fertilizer and we’ll lay it down and it will slowly decompose throughout the growing season.

>>GRANT: That’s not the only source of fertilizer. I’m sure that if I pull up any clump – oh yeah – earthworms right here.

>>GRANT: If I pull up any clump of cereal rye, there’s going to be earthworms. Of course, they’re defecating every day; they’re breeding all the time; they’re making more and their fecal material is outstanding fertilizer.

>>GRANT: And of course, earthworms mature and die and their bodies are also great organic matter – fertilizer.

>>GRANT: This is what we call The Release Process™. It’s a process of allowing Creation to release its potential and we’ll be explaining much more about The Release Process™ throughout the growing season.

>>GRANT: Boy, I’ve shared a lot. There’s a lot to take in. Stay tuned as we go through step by step our process.

>>GRANT: I hope you get to get outside and look at your food plots or do something outside to enjoy Creation. But more importantly, make it a priority every day to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.

>>GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.