Planting without fertilizer

yoderjac

Active Member
Guys, this year fertilizer is gonna be higher than giraffe buttocks, so I’m planning to plant without fertilizer. This is my simple plan, any ideas or comments welcome. Keep in mind that I have only a disc and a drag as far as implements go, and I can only plant the openings that I have now.

I plan to mow my plots if necessary and disc one time with the blades almost straight. This gives me shallow grooves for the seed to fall in when I drag the plot and the result is almost like drilling the seed in. I’m planting buckwheat in all plots for the spring/summer plots and wheat next fall, all with the same procedure. The plots have wheat, or what’s left of it, now.

Okay, tell me what you think.
I have not uses fertilizer in many years. As a novice years ago, I jumped right in and ruined my soil with a 2-bottom plow and tiller. Traditional tillage introduces oxygen into the soil speeding the burning of organic matter (OM). It took me many years to restore my soil health by using no-till methods. Throw and Mow techniques work well for most of the seed we plant in the fall. Unlike farmers that extract nutrients from the soil and plant monocultures for efficient harvest, we can cycle nutrients. Since we don't harvest, we don't extract nutrients like farmers. The only nutrients removed are those eaten by deer, but they are then returned as deer defecate and urinate back into the field.

It took me quite a few years to restore my soil health. One more thing to consider is that for a farmer, anything growing in his field that he didn't plant is a weed. Many plants that are weeds for farmers are as, or more, beneficial to deer than the crops we plant.

Google "Ray the soil guy" for more on the impacts of traditional tillage. His infiltration and stability videos are short and very revealing.

Thanks,

Jack
 

dogghr

Well-Known Member
I haven’t used fertilizer for years for the most part. You are further south but I broadcast grains and brassicas into my clover plots each fall. I no longer do monoculture plots and no tillage. Plots are fugly but the deer don’t care.
 

Drycreek

Well-Known Member
Buckwheat is a good choice and very forgiving of poor soil nutrients levels. My experience is the stuff will grow in near beach sand low fertility soils. A problem I have had with it is little-to-none regrowth after the deer hit it. So, depending when you put it in and when it gets consumed, you may need to consider layering several sequential seedings of it a few weeks apart.

A tip for you depending on what you want in the future. Consider moving to a perennial high-legume mix that will work in your area and soils. That is what I did several years back. When fertilizer went sky-high two years ago I just stopped fertilizing and so far everything is doing well. I have plenty of N in my soils with the legumes, naturally high P, but very low K. So I will need to put in some potash every three years -- this year now being the 3rd year since stopping the fertilizing. For me the benefits of the high-legume mix is not having to replant every year and very little need for fertilizer. If you try this, do some research on the persistence of the items you are considering in your mix -- get the longest-lived most persistent varieties you can. My current mix will go more than five years before replanting; it may even go ten or more (I just don't have ten years experience yet with it to prove that).

If you don't have a baseline soil test it is a good idea to spend the few tens of dollars to get one done. I get one on each of my plots every other year which seems to work well for me.
I have planted a white clover blend in the past and it does well until our summer heat hits it and then it just shrivels up. The deer love it but here you almost have to plant it in bottom land and the wind is usually not consistent enough to keep from getting busted. I have planted medium red clover with ok results, but it just won’t make it through the spring and into summer.

I do soil tests about every other year and try to keep the ph in line. So far, I’m doing ok at that. I did wind up fertilizing last fall but probably won’t this spring. I have one plot that plagued me with pigweed last summer that I probably will plant RR beans in. It won’t last long as it’s not big enough but it will give me a chance to kill the pigweed.
 

Doe Shooter

Active Member
Clover gets clobbered in east texas summers

Iron and clay cowpeas will work if you have >/= 2 acres.....deer love them

Sunn hemp would be another option of N2 fixation

bill
Yep. Cow peas don't ask for much and you get time to broadcast some winter rye shortly before the first killing frost. The most they ask for is a little lime. Sun hemp will grow on gravel. Good choices,low input,big return.
 

Drycreek

Well-Known Member
I’m bumping this up to report a change of plans. I’m letting the wheat grow until it heads out. I have a fair amount of clover underneath it and no signs of the pigweed. I hit it pretty hard with gly last year, twice in about a three week period in fact. That, coupled with a great stand of wheat, and it may be toast. I’m gonna check on it again this week just to be sure. The clover is looking good, but it has been so cool here lately that I’m sure the wheat will take a little longer to get ripe. The hogs will find it then and tromp it down and crap all over the place. Free fertilizer !😀 I’m gonna be real interested to see what the clover does after that.

As a test, my buddy‘s plot, which also has wheat and some clover, got mowed. I should learn something from what each plot does. Nobody other than myself wants to spend much money on plots, so I don’t try to change their minds. Their areas, their choice. I like to hunt more than they do, and when I hunt, I like to see deer, even deer that I have no interest in shooting. Good plots are one way to facilitate that IMO.
 

MarkDarvin

Well-Known Member
I’m bumping this up to report a change of plans. I’m letting the wheat grow until it heads out. I have a fair amount of clover underneath it and no signs of the pigweed. I hit it pretty hard with gly last year, twice in about a three week period in fact. That, coupled with a great stand of wheat, and it may be toast. I’m gonna check on it again this week just to be sure. The clover is looking good, but it has been so cool here lately that I’m sure the wheat will take a little longer to get ripe. The hogs will find it then and tromp it down and crap all over the place. Free fertilizer !😀 I’m gonna be real interested to see what the clover does after that.

As a test, my buddy‘s plot, which also has wheat and some clover, got mowed. I should learn something from what each plot does. Nobody other than myself wants to spend much money on plots, so I don’t try to change their minds. Their areas, their choice. I like to hunt more than they do, and when I hunt, I like to see deer, even deer that I have no interest in shooting. Good plots are one way to facilitate that IMO.
The three things pigweed needs to dominate is introduced fertilizer, tillage, and roundup. It's one of few plants that thrives without the presence of mycorhizal fungi. By letting your stuff grow a second season (your myco fungi are coming back) and not putting fertilizer on, it's gonna have a much harder time getting through.
 

lakngolf

Well-Known Member
Last fall I was determined to use fertilizer on my plots so they would be like "old times". At the feed store I bought some wheat (feed oats at about $17.00 per 50 lb), oats at about the same, and four bags of fertilizer that they ran up at 24.99 per bag. I sparsely scattered one bag on a couple of small plots and saved the other three for my garden.
 

yoderjac

Active Member
I’m bumping this up to report a change of plans. I’m letting the wheat grow until it heads out. I have a fair amount of clover underneath it and no signs of the pigweed. I hit it pretty hard with gly last year, twice in about a three week period in fact. That, coupled with a great stand of wheat, and it may be toast. I’m gonna check on it again this week just to be sure. The clover is looking good, but it has been so cool here lately that I’m sure the wheat will take a little longer to get ripe. The hogs will find it then and tromp it down and crap all over the place. Free fertilizer !😀 I’m gonna be real interested to see what the clover does after that.

As a test, my buddy‘s plot, which also has wheat and some clover, got mowed. I should learn something from what each plot does. Nobody other than myself wants to spend much money on plots, so I don’t try to change their minds. Their areas, their choice. I like to hunt more than they do, and when I hunt, I like to see deer, even deer that I have no interest in shooting. Good plots are one way to facilitate that IMO.

The key word there is "good". I have found, over the years, that what is what we see on magazine covers is not "good" from a deer and wildlife perspective. When I was younger, I'd look at me beautiful weed free monocultures that looked like farm fields and think to myself what a great job. Now, I realize that if it looks pretty to me, it is less than optimal for wildlife.
 
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