Don't worry. Plot happy.
The most helpful thing, I think, for new food plotters to understand is that there are a million ways to approach everything to do with growing wildlife plots. The answer to every question about plots is both "yes" and "no".
The thing to understand if you're new at planting food plots and managing a property for wildlife is that what lot of what people "know" about food plot crops is derived from farming practices. Now that's not a bad thing on the face of it. There's certainly a lot of knowledge and wisdom that can be gained from those who are putting food on our tables for a living.
But what that leaves out is that we, as food plotters, are coming at this from a totally different perspective. We're doing this for fun!
Yes, of course we have goals as far as managing our property and feeding the wildlife that we love, but we can do that and still sleep well at night.
Here's a couple of reasons NOT to worry so much about doing the wrong thing when you're a new food plotter. Or an old one, for that matter:
We have flexibility. A lot of us are only planting plots that range from a half acre to a couple of acres. Very few of us are planting 20 acres or more. Basically, by farming standards, our "fields" are tiny and our costs to plant each plot are relatively low. Let's get a grip and keep things in perspective. We don't have to fight the weather. If it's too wet to plant, wait until it dries out a little. If it's too dry, hold off on planting or change plans and plant something else later. If a plot didn't grow very well, inter-seed additional varieties. We have lots of flexibility in food plotting, take advantage of it.
There IS a "Do Over" button in food plotting. It's called "plant something else". This is a key difference between what we're doing and what farmers do. There are almost always Plan B options because as plotters, we just need enough plant to grow for the deer to eat. There are plenty of crop options that don't require growth-to-maturity. A good friend of Midwest Monster's, Tim K, had a major ragweed invasion wipe out two of his plots in July of last year. Tim, like some of us, doesn't live on his property, so he found out about the invasion about 10 days too late. There was no stopping it. Now this might sound like a Plot Horror Story to the new plotter out there, but here's the happy ending. What did Tim do? He hit the "Do Over: button. He burned down the whole plot with gly, hit it with the tiller, came back in 2 weeks, hit it with gly again, and planted a different crop. He ended up with an awesome fall grain plot. It wasn't part of the original plan, but so what? Nobody got hurt, nobody lost the farm because of the weed problem. We just go to Plan B.
Fear not. There's a lot of fear with new food plotters about doing the "wrong" thing. Getting a ton of conflicting advice just amplifies that fear. Don't worry! We're just putting seeds in the ground and watching stuff grow. It doesn't have to be complicated, God has been doing this with no help from us for forever. It doesn't have to be complicated. A basic plan is easy to figure out! I help new food plotters every year. Many of them are suffering from a lot of confusing advice that was well-intentioned, but just too much too soon. New plotters are AMAZED what great results they can get with just a good, basic plot plan and a couple of different seed blends. Need help? Just email and ask.
We're doing this for fun. Go out and have yourself some good, dirty fun in the plot. The deer'll love it. Jay