Seed bed preparation is extremely important in growing successful food plots. Many planting failures can be attributed to poor seedling survival or lack of germination due to incorrect planting depth and poor seed bed prep. This is especially critical when planting small seeds like clover, chicory, brassicas, or alfalfa. These seeds need a covering of no more than ¼ inch of soil. Often times when plots are disced or tilled, the seed bed is left fluffy and is not a conducive for small seeds to germinate. Many times when small seeds are broadcast onto a very finely disced and fluffy seed bed, even a moderately heavy rain causes some seeds to be buried to deeply and results in an uneven stand. Ideally, when planting smaller seeds, fields should be cultipacked after discing or tilling to firm the seed bed up. Seed can then be broadcast, and for the best seed to soil contact, fields can then be cultipacked again. This process creates a great environment for seedling survival by incorporating the seed at the proper depth. Cultipacking also allows moisture to move through the soil profile properly and keeps moisture around the seed as it germinates. Leaving a seed bed un packed and full of air space allows the soil to dry out much more rapidly and increases the chance of plot failure.
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