We all must do our part to bring back our deer herd. Rangeley Guides and Sportsmen's Assoc. is sponsoring a specially designed deer/wildlife seed mix that can be planted on your septic tank, telephone pole area or even a skidder path in the back of your woods. You might even have a secret spot!
This seed mix was designed by a deer biologist for Rangeley Guides and Sportsmen's logging project. It isalso great for grouse, turkeys , bears and song birds. A acre of food plot can provide "one ton" of forage for our wildlife. Its high protein forage helps a deer to develop more fat, so it can better withstand severe winters. The flowering plants attract partridge chicks feeding on bugs.
The seed mix is now available at River's Edge Sports in Oquossoc for $22 a 12 lb. bag. (see particulars on RRG & SA Website). Now a 12 pound bag will cover a quarter-acre which is roughly 11,000 sq. feet. For example That could cover a plot 21 ft. x 50 ft. , or 100 ft x 11 ft. (You figure the square feet of your plot by multiplying the width by the length).
I'd recommend you start small. In these photos, Rick Baker is working on a 10 x 30 food plot which is 300 square feet. For this size, you might want to share a bag with a neighbor. One club member is going to seed her mix on the area behind her house where she dumps her wood ash. Wood ash, a natural fertilizer and soil nuetralizer, is one-to- one equivalent to lime. However, most of us don't have wood ash.
For the 10 x 30 plot with a ph of 5, in the picture above, we figured it needed 3/4 bag of pelleted lime. This seed mix will not grow unless you have at least ph of 6. Why you ask? Acidic soil (7 is neutral) soil does not allow the nutrients to be used by the plant.
Around here where we have so much pine , ( unless you live on an old farm), , you can be assured that you have acid soil. For a plot of 10 x 40, which is around 400 sq. feet, a 40 bag of lime will do it. The other choice is to get a bag of starter fertilizer. A bag of lime costs $6 up here in Rangeley. All the nurseries have it like, Mtn. Greenery and Cermanara's . After you lime you soil, wait for a rain or two to have it saturate in the soil.
You can pick up a free sample box for your soil test at River's Edge. It coat $15 to get your standard analysis from the university extension. A cheaper way to do it is to google "web soil survey" where you can get your free soil analysis of your specific spot. A third way, is to contact Marcia Baker or Dave Borman who have free kits to test yourself. (The latter is available after June 15)
This seed mix is composed of Oats, Buckwheat, White Dutch Clover, Medium Red Clover, Timothy and perennial ryegrass.
Good references are Food Plots for Deer which can be purchased online at QDMA website (Quality Deer Management Association). Another good book is Grow'em Right by Craig. These books will be available at River's Edge.
Seeds will not grow if you throw them on dead leaves, or if there is lots of weeds. Round-up, a safe herbicide can be applied to your plot, and it will kill all the weeds in a week. It does not leach out with rain or water run-off. But use your common sense, do not use it within 100 feet of any pond or lake-- nor any fertilizer for that matter! If there is a danger of any run-off into your pond- or lake-side, then plant a food plot (or for that matter, a flower garden) someplace else. There are suspicions that animal and deer droppings can contribute to the phosphates in ponds and lakes. So be careful if you are within the water catchment zone of your pond.
We have a seed spreader available for you to use. It also spreads pelleted lime. Contact Dave Borman at 864-2812. He will also give you free advice on any of your guestions.