The first step in preparing food plots is to carry out a food plot soil analysis. This is an absolute necessity for a successful planting.
It is easy, quick and cheap to get it done. Most of the labs charge around $5 to $10 per soil sample.
The next task is to get the soil pH levels correct for your intended planting otherwise you could be wasting the fertilizer you purchase – see section on Fertilizer and Lime
The lime needs to be applied at least 4 months prior to planting to allow the lime to break down and for the minerals to be absorbed by the soil.
Prepare the ground by first using a herbicide such as Round-Up or Arsenal to remove the competition for your seeds. Using an Atrazine-Princep blend is even better as it also prevents dormant weed seeds from germinating.
10-14 days after applying the herbicide, the ground should receive fertilizer based on the soil test.
This is now the correct time to plow and/or disk the ground ready for planting. Some plants have a shallow root system with others having a deeper tap root system. With the shallow rooting systems, breaking the ground with a disk or combination harrow is usually enough.
The deeper rooting systems require deep-plowing.
To get the best rate of germination, don’t plant the seed and wait for rain! It is better to wait until some steady rain is forecast and plant the seeds about 72 hours before the rain is due to fall.