The purpose of this experiment is to see if we can make something out of nothing. This particular plot was reclaimed by the DNR several years ago. The soil constituents includes a thin layer of top soil above a bed of larger sized gravel. This makes turning the soil next to impossible, as I have definitely tried.
Working with Jim Ward, he suggested we try a no till method by planting buckwheat this past May left over from the previous year. The video below shows the growth that occurred without any application of fertilizer or lime. I have also posted a picture of my son Luke next to one the taller plants. Some reached 5' in height, which is taller than any buckwheat I have seen. I think that is interesting given the lack of soil amendments. The goal of the experiment is to see what will grow with minimal expense, labor, and time.
Now the buckwheat has headed out and we need to mow and plant soybeans. We know the beans will not form any pods, which is perfect since we just want the immature plants available for browsing during the early Indiana bow season in October. Once the first hard frost hits, these plants will die and the deer will look for other forage.
Given the location of this plot, we want to eliminate the risk of bumping deer when accessing stands deeper in the property. This adds another type of forage available for the herd. With the increased diversity in available forage, we believe it is possible to hold the deer on the property. Add that to the water sources and shelter / bedding, we feel our small property can be a place deer want to be year around.
Keep checking back regularly as we provide updates to the progress the beans are making. We will place a trail camera on the plot to see what activity the beans are creating. Spread the word about our site and thanks for your time.
Andy Hayes is a devoted husband and father of 4 kids living in West Central Indiana. Outside of his family, his passion is hunting whitetails. He does not claim to be a professional hunter, but simply wants to share what he learns during his quest to improve whitetail habitat and hunt mature bucks.