In this episode, Jon Teater (Whitetail Landscapes) and Albert Tomechko (Vitalize Seed) discuss the importance of soil health and an equation that will lead to bigger deer. Albert discusses the one-two system that they offer and why their seed strategy requires less inputs. Al discusses the most overlooked aspects of soil test, and why we need to think about certain seed mixes to optimize nutrient cycling. Al and Jon discuss the mistakes of putting too much seed down and related nutrient tie up we sometimes fail to consider.
Al discusses soil and plant synergies, and why balancing carbon to nitrogen ratios are so critical to the microbial communities in our soil. Jon and Al discuss the when, why, and how to get a soil sample, to include the depth, location and reducing variables. Jon discusses using a roller crimper and balancing seeding techniques. Al discusses where he goes to get soil samples and thinks about soil from a full spectrum perspective to include mineral balancing. Al and Jon discuss thinking through crop sequencing and thinking through the next crop (i.e. corn).
Al and Jon explain what is important to consider in the fall and why carbon building is meaningful. Al discusses options to terminate cover crops in the springtime (i.e. crimper, chopper, etc.) Al discusses when he uses a heavy legume mix and what happens when we become too clover focused. Al and Jon discuss cattle and deer browse. Jon explains simple techniques to assess your soil and how compacted soils can be detrimental to food plots. Jon discusses a simple method to evaluate seed quality and how better-quality soils and plants lead to less disease.
[00:00:00] Welcome to Maximize Your Hunt, the podcast dedicated to those who want the most out of their hunting property. This podcast explores land management habitat improvement and hunting strategies that will help you maximize your time in the field. Follow along as industry professionals that live and breathe whitetail deer.
Share their secrets to success. The founder of Whitetail Landscapes, your host, John Teeter.
I'm John Teeter, Whitetail Landscapes. This is Maximizer Hunt. Welcome back everybody. Housekeeping. If anybody who's listening to this podcast has not gone in and given a review, I would appreciate that. Um, that keeps me up on the Google list and obviously keeps more people listening and the more people that listen to this are gonna continue to enjoy the content that we're putting.
You know, I've been happy doing this podcast. I was on the road today. I just got home. I got crazy kids running [00:01:00] around. So I live a life just like everybody else. I've got responsibilities. This weekend I'm gonna be working, cutting some timber on a client property, and then I'm on the road again. And it's always a new day, always a new learning experience.
And today we're gonna talk about soil. And, uh, I know a lot about soils in some areas, and then, you know, I've got a lot to learn, so I'm gonna try to share my perspective. Um, but we got a better guess on than me and, uh, Al how are you doing? Good, John. Good. How are you? Good. I want you to introduce yourself.
I want to talk a little bit about your business and the seed that you sell and, uh, get everyone to get just familiar with you. So why don't you introduce. Absolutely. Well, thank you for the opportunity. Yeah. Uh, Albert Teko, I'm the, uh, co-owner of Vitalized Seed. Um, Jared Van HEAs, who you've had on recently, um, is the, uh, other partner there.
And Jared and I formed Vitalized Seed about. , uh, just about a year ago, actually, I think we're coming up, uh, one month away from our one year anniversary. We basically set [00:02:00] out John to, to make a seed that, uh, was not really available, um, anywhere else that we were seeing. You know, I actually was using similar mixes, um, for myself and I started writing blogs, going all the way back to the old Q Dmma forums, and I was just writing blogs and sharing kind of what I did and, and how I learned, and how I made a lot of mistakes.
And over the years, as I kind of fine tune. My process, uh, I had a lot of people starting to say, Hey, I'd like to, to buy that from you. You know, I, I'm not able to get X, Y, and Z type seat at my co-op, or they'll only make me buy a 50 pound bag. They're not gonna make a mix for me. I only need a couple acres or what have you.
And, um, there just seemed to be a need there. . So, uh, I said, well, if we're gonna do this, you know, let's set out to do something that's unique and let's really focus on the mixes that have worked for me, um, and help me to reduce the inputs on my farm. And, uh, that's what we did. We started with, uh, a spring mix and a fall mix and, um, that's all we sell.
We sell, uh, what we call our one two system. [00:03:00] So it's, uh, it's a mix in the spring that feeds the soil to then get your, uh, your fall mix is able to take advantage of that, to reduce your need for. , um, based on that. So we've been, it's been a fun year. It's been really, really busy. I think we're up to 21 distributors throughout the, uh, the country and, uh, and growing.
So it's been a lot of fun and the best part is getting to meet people and talk with people and, um, you know, share different experiences and come up with a plan that's gonna work for their, their piece of, uh, their piece of heaven. Yeah, and I appreciate that because what I've done over the years, And I've kind of created my own blends, right?
I started my journey. We're going on year eight. Uh, no fertilizer applied. Uh, and I do use natural amendments. I wanna be clear about that. But no synthetic fertilizers applied on my landscape. And when I say natural, that could be rocked dust, you know, salts. Um, a lot of different variations of natural remedies to enhance my soil.
And one thing I wanna say, and just for [00:04:00] everyone's familiarity, I hear a lot of. Plants fix dirt. And lemme tell you something, plants do help the process and they're integral in the process. But soil is the habitat for a lot of the insect and animal life that we focus on on this podcast, and that's why focusing on soils is really important.
If you go back to one of my first podcasts, I talked about the importance of soil. And here's my standard. If I'm looking at a property, I start with a soil. And why is that? Because it's less amendments, it's a less focus. And as a result of quality, soil gives me quality plants and nutrient rich plants are gonna attract deer.
And that's gonna be a discussion that we have in this podcast today. And that's, that's an easy connection that you can make to the soil. So these degraded weathered soil, You know, those type of, you know, types of areas, those are not my first choice in selection. And so when I'm looking at the landscape, that's a huge consideration of a land pur purchase for me, because I'm not trying to raise the bar, the bar's there, maybe I'm raising a little bit higher, so I'm going from average maybe to good, [00:05:00] to excellent.
I'd rather be at that excellent point as soon as possible so we can talk a little bit about that. The other thing I want to identify is, There's been oh bunch of podcasts that I've listened to over the years about, well, everything's in the soil and you don't need to add anything that's completely false and, and here's why.
Our eco regions and the weather and everything that's impacted, those soils have degraded our soils over time. Humans have impacted the soils. Probably more than anybody at this point. The, the factors of there are most of the nutrients in your soils, but it levels so deep in the soil profile that the top six, eight inches of soil that you're typically utilizing don't have all the micros or macronutrients.
And there's association. Not to sound too complicated here, we're talking about deer hunting and you know, food plots, but there's association with micronutrients and flavor or flavonoids. Those are an at attractivity component that pulled deer in. The reason why I kill big bucks, one of the reasons I have [00:06:00] very attractive soils.
And it relates to the food. And it relates to the interest, and that's how you create a very active, effective property. It's all connected. The ecology, it's all part of it. So I think this is a good topic. I went on a rant. I'm sorry, Al, but it's, it's how I think about soils and most of my clients, we don't get there and the initial visits, but I have follow up clients.
We're at like level 400 and we're starting to look at their soil samples and we're starting to diagnose their deficiencies and the. Most properties that I go on, every soil sample, you're born deficient. What does that do? Do we understand that it's an ion? How does it, how does that impact, you know, your abilities, uh, your plant's ability to produce sugars and function properly, work with the soil?
So we're thinking about to the micronutrient level as much as we are, the macronutrients and the macros are kind of the nitrogens, the phosphorus. And I have another rule, I'll never add nitrogen on my soil, ever. Ever. [00:07:00] And so these are things that we want to think about because there's a, a lot of strategies, uh, surrounding this topic, but that, that's mine.
Elle, why don't you talk a little bit, let's talk about, you know, what you've learned over the years and some of the things. , and we're not maybe gonna get into specific seed blends this for this go around, but talk about how you looked at the soil and things that you've considered, you know, seed and ratios, bay saturation, you know, taking a soil sample.
Just things that you think about. Well, I mean, first off, you hit on so much good information there and I agree with you and I think one of the things that. we've done as an industry. Um, and I'm sure you know, I say we, because I probably wrote an in insert somewhere in a form at one time or another where I, I'm probably contradicting myself now, but where, where we felt like one way is the only way, or, um, you know, like you say, you just, uh, get.
Getting diverse and this is gonna, this is gonna fix everything or, or whatnot. And you know, one of the biggest things is you, you have to [00:08:00] start, like you said, is, you know, with a soil sample, you know, you have to see, because it says, let's face a lot of guys, you know, you buy a piece of property, you buy a farm, you buy an old logging deck, you know, whatever it might be.
And that might be the only spot you have and in what you can afford. And, and that's what you want to grow this, this, you know, television quality food plot on. And it's like, okay, you know, um, That's our starting point here. We gotta kind of know where are we starting? Let's pull a soil sample. Let's see, because it probably is John, like you mentioned, it's probably really degraded, you know?
And of course we all want to get to a point where we're adding zero zero amendments, you know, that that's who I haven't added anything on my soils in, in years, and it's been great, you know, um, however, However, um, I think it's important to still soil test and, and it's okay to say, you know what, this first year, this second year, I am gonna have to add a little bit of fertility.
You know, and maybe that's in an [00:09:00] organic form, you know, maybe that's in a foliar spray just to give those plants a boost. Maybe it is a foliar boron because of this, that, and the next thing after soil testing and you realize, you know, or tissue testing or whatever you, how in depth do you want to get right?
But, That is something that I think is often, um, overlooked, is just that simple step of saying, okay, before I follow X, Y, and Z advice, let's get a soil sample and let's look at it, and then let's, you know, see, what do we have? What type of soil do I have based on the c e, C number, not based on how I've categorized it, based on a shovel full, because I can't tell you, John, how many times somebody will tell me, oh, I got a really heavy.
and they'll send me their soil test and I'm like, well, then neither the soil test is inaccurate. Or you really don't have a heavy soil, you have something else going on, be it compaction or something like that, right? Because your c c is like seven, you know, , like you don't really have a heavy soil here. [00:10:00] Um, so that really helps us to, to find out a lot.
The other thing is when you're talking about plant mixes and, and diverse mixes and carbon and nitrogen ratios and, and wanting to cycle these different plant species, To help optimize all the things that you talked about there, right? I mean, optimizing that underground network in biology so that you are getting good uptake of nutrients in forms that can be converted easily or less stressful, at least to amino acids, um, or plant proteins right at, at less stress than the plant.
Well, in order to do these things, you have to create this environment where nutrients are cycling. Optimally and some of the things out there right now, you know, you'll see, oh gosh, I don't even know, but you'll see people talking in the fall, you know, 300 pounds, 400 pounds. I think I saw somebody last there, 500 pounds of rye grain they put down, you know, and it's like, that's, that's [00:11:00] a, a lot of carbon, right?
That's, that's a high carbon to nitrogen plants. And when you're putting that much down on a maker, if you don't. legumes in your mix, be it in the fall and in the spring to help pump nitrogen, to feed those microbes, you're gonna have what's called nutrient tie up. You know, and again, I, I, I'm sure I made that mistake at some point in my, in my journey here over the last, you know, 10, 15 years.
Um, and that's something that I, I think really. Um, I think you used the word when you were, you were explaining some of your thoughts is I think you used the word, uh, synergistic and I think that's how we have to look at soils and then plants, you know, the plants are just, just a vehicle for energy transfer from the soils and, and it's all the synergistic relationships.
And we have to understand within those, there's this balance. And in all of, you know, a legum. Isn't really a good thing for our soils and, and there's reasons for that. Right. Let's just pretend, like you said, I'm not gonna put nitrogen on our, on my soil. Well, if I'm just playing Lego [00:12:00] after Lego, after Lego, after Lego, I'm fixing a ton of nitrogen.
The problem with that is these microbes need a balance of nitrogen and carbon. That's that whole idea behind carbon and nitrogen ratios, right? That, um, what you end up having is that these microbes are saying, man, I have all this nitrogen. Where's my carbon source at? And guess what? If they don't have it, you can literally mine your own organic matter outta your soil.
You know? And that, that's been, I've seen that occur. People are like scratching their head, why are my organic manner levels going down? Why does it seem like it's harder and harder to harder grow, grow crop? And then you figure out like, You, you really weren't cyclone nutrients from, from one crop to another.
So now it was my turn to rant. I apologize. But I mean, those are just some of the high level things that I think people can, can easily overlook, you know, be before they really kinda understand how things are all interconnected. Oh, I love it. And you actually put the pieces together. It's starting to make sense in my head the way you're describing it.
So let's back up. Number one, where does Al get his soil sample? , you know, across of his [00:13:00] landscape. I mean, are you taking soil samples in the woods? How are you doing them? And then I wanna know what labs you're using. I wanna talk a little bit about that. Yeah, so I'm pretty specific about soil samples because there, there's just so much and, and I can't take credit for this.
I've learned from really good agronomists. I have a very good friend of mine, he consults, um, for row crop farming on about 20,000 acres in, uh, south Georgia. Um, Caleb is just a fantastic guy and resource. , he's really taught me a lot about how specific we should be about soil samples. So I have a soil probe, I use number one.
Um, I mark the probe at six inches depth. I just mark it with electrical tape, but you could mark it with anything. And every time I stick that probe in the ground, I'm taking six inches out. Uh, if I do an acre field, if it's the first time ever planting, I'll do kind of a random grid sample throughout that acre as I found fine tuned my processes and in the fields on my particular farm.
I [00:14:00] am actually starting to get to the point where, uh, I'm gonna be driving T posts into the ground or using gps. I don't get very good service in my area, so for me, I'm gonna be using T posts or just PVC pipe, and then I will take the same soil sample. within, you know, the radius of the, I dunno, couple foot radius of that pipe every year.
So maybe in a, in a one acre field you have three of those going down the center of the field. Um, obviously if there's anything that stands out on that field, maybe there's a wet corner or something, you wanna isolate those cuz they're likely going to be different soil type or whatnot. Um, so that's how I do it.
Uh, there's a lot of ways to do it, but I try to. Variables, especially for guys who are adding amendments. Um, you know, I, I should say I do add lime. Um, I have added lime several fields. Haven't seen it in over six years, but, um, I have add added lime on a couple. Um, this year's actually gonna be a year, I put a little bit more lime down.
Um, so I wanna see, you know, I, I wanna see is, is, you know, I want to [00:15:00] try to narrow down the variables and, and not just be jumping around a, a 1, 2, 3 acre field, um, you know, taking things. So if it's, if it's more than an ac. Um, I tend to break the field up and do like one acre sections and then try to mark those sections within that.
So I'm taking out of the same general areas of each section. So hopefully that made sense as far as how I go about sampling. Mm-hmm. . Um, now can I add a little bit because I want to just please. So what I, I typically do with my clients and I had a phone call tonight and this is what I told one of my clients to do.
I want to create an X across the field, and let's say it's a one acre field and I mark in each corner really kind of where your viewpoint is. And off that corner point, I walk 40 paces, take a sample, 40 paces, take a sample, 40 paces, take a sample. Um, it's really cross sections, so you'll take end up, up, end up taking at that 40 paces roughly there are about three to four samples across that X, maybe a little bit more, a little bit less.
So we went about 10 to. Basically soil probes to your [00:16:00] example, mix it up in a clean space and then, you know, make sure it dries a little bit and then I put it in my bag and I send it off to my lab. The other thing I do is if I don't have that X set up, it's an odd shaped field, some distance away from my exclusion cages, and I usually will have a marker where exclusion cage, not in the exclusion cage, but 10 feet away.
Uh, from that particular point, usually keep my exclusion cages. In the same point, I'll take a sample and in a, in a acre field, I'll have four exclusion cages. Minimal, minimal. Sometimes it'll be eight depending on the size of the food plot, but usually, generally it's, it's about four per acre. Now that's a little bit more than people, you know, think through, but I'm gonna measure biomass and I'm see the variability because the way I do seating.
Is I'm just like an artist. I just like throw seed on the ground like Johnny Appleseed. And my carbon, uh, ratios are way too high and that's why I've learned over the past two years to always have a legume at a smaller quantity, uh, standardizing. So I don't really try to till the [00:17:00] ground. I've got this thing called a roller crimper and I built like an archaic one, but now I have a pretty robust industrial one that I built Maybe.
I don't know, six years ago now, and I just practice cycling. So it's weed mat. So I create a weed mat and before that I'm throwing seed down and I'm just creating the environment that you would normally, you know, create in kind of this, you know, seed dispersion, any type of plant life. And, and I just kind of replicate that across the landscape.
And I don't know, hell, if there's a spot and there's a plant that, uh, No longer there, it degraded. I throw a little seed on the ground and I'll go in with herbicide and I'll spot tree. I don't spray an entire field. I will spot spray areas. . That's why I want my food plots not to be large. And uh, I don't have the time to manage a field in that setting.
And sometimes, you know, that random lambs quarter that's going off, it's awesome. We'll take it dear, consume it. It's inevitable, but it may not be what I want to grow there, but it will grow there. And naturally it's there for [00:18:00] a particular reason. There's a certain type of. Microbiology that's happening in nutrient availability that that creates these plants in the landscape.
The big thing I'm trying to eradicate is grasses, and that's generally speaking why, you know, I do herbicide some of the areas, so that's just another consideration. So I wanna bounce forward. I wanna know what labs you use and why I, I know you use a particular lab, so I want to hear here why. . Yeah. So, I mean, I think there's a lot of really good labs, um, out there.
Um, you know, we at Vital IC had partnered with Ward Laboratories. I had been using them for a few years. Mm-hmm. . Um, and one of the things that I liked about Ward is the consistency. Um, so I, I had actually done a study, uh, I think I did a YouTube video on it. Uh, at, at one time. I had a personal YouTube. I think I had like three people following me.
But , I wanted to kind of document. and, uh, I had done, I had taken a soil probe in my garden and I had taken like three probe depths exactly [00:19:00] next to each other. And then I sent them off to different labs. Um, and I did it actually like nine times. And then I sent it all off to different labs to see how much variability there would be.
And then, , I sent some to the same lab. So like Ward I sent for both biological testing and also standard soil testing. And then I wanted to compare, well, how did their biological testing? Cuz there's still some metrics that are the same. Right? Um, anyhow, Ward's data was really, really close on all fronts, so I really liked that because I would often, I, I use some of the, just the generic, you know, buy off the shelf tractor supply soil tests and, you know, you, you send it in their baggy and.
There's nothing wrong with that. I just wasn't really confident in after years of doing it. I have a whole folder here in my desk and like, I just felt like, man, either I'm not controlling the variables here very well or something at the lab is, is seems highly variable because [00:20:00] I'm getting results kind of all over the place.
And, uh, again, it very well could be me, but when I did it with Ward, I was so happy with the consistency. Um, so that was number one. Uh, the other reason is, uh, I like how they kind of, what they include, um, for just a standard, you know, $22 test. You know, they include your, your. Obviously your pH um, they include your organic matter.
They give you a nitrate reading, which I think that's kind of nice and they give it to you in both parts per million. But they also give you an easy, it's already converted for you, um, in uh, pounds. So that's, uh, assuming a zero to six inch step. So I always think that's kind of a cool, um, thing they give you your.
Obviously your phosphorus and then your micros and macros, and then they give you your, um, c e C as well as your base saturation percentages. So I think there's a good value there. Um, you know, you always get to the person who goes, I can take it to my county extension office for for free or for $3. And it's like, but what do they give you?
Right. You know, and, [00:21:00] and some, I'm sure some are fantastic, but, uh, I've also seen some that are pretty limited, so I've liked that about Ward. Um, and then lastly, they just are good people. I mean, everybody I've worked with there, and again, I'm, I, I've worked with other labs too that are fantastic, but, um, man, John, they've got some good people there.
And I mean, they've, they've had soil scientists and these PhDs that'll take my call and, and answer my emails and I'm like, well, what about this? And what about this and what are your thoughts? You know? And, and I'll. PowerPoints with them that somebody shared with me and I'm curious about their thought on it cuz it's contradictory, contradictory to something else that I've read or or whatnot.
You know, and, and you know how anything that's out there, there's contradicting information and, um, , you know, to be able to go to a PhD soil scientist and, and exchange thoughts and comments and things, and they really work and really care about about their customers. And, uh, yeah, that's what led me to, to wanna partner with them.
And they were nice to have to go, heck yeah, let's, let's work together. And, um, I've just been very, very happy with [00:22:00] their, their seating testing results, et cetera. Yeah, I mean, I use a slightly different company and my clients, you know, they'll get tied into that, but, you know, I think using a reputable lab is really important.
Um, it's nice. When you're familiar with the testing protocol of that lab and you know, it's very consistent and I think my test around $30 and you're looking at those bits of data and they do have some comparables. The good part with my clients, what I do is, you know, based on their soil type, I have recommendations of, you know, all the amendments.
So I have minimums, right? Maximum applications for each element, right? So they can actually do the math and then I take their parts per million. You know, give them a a pounds per acre, right? That type of equation. And I'll walk that through with my client if they want it. And, and that's not really kind of a hard math equation going from parts per million.
It's you're really times two to get the acreage. But what you're trying to figure out is, you know, what's the ideal scenario? Like lime, for example, right? There's certain. Soil types that are able to hold onto lime a little bit better than others. So [00:23:00] you have to put it in kind of incremental moments. Uh, boron as an example, you were talking about foliar sprays or spraying it on the plant.
When do you spray it? Like time of day? Uh, what volume? There's a lot to consider in tho those, you know, that kind of equation. We just did this podcast on fruit trees and I was talking about copper spraying and you know, copper sulfates and when you wanna apply 'em. I guess I talked about that a little bit, but you know, there's a lot that goes into this full spectrum thinking about soils and plant life.
And really there's measurement techniques. You can take plant tissue samples and bring it to the lab. They're kind of expensive and you got, they gotta be kind of timely done. Or you can do simple o other tests and we can talk a little bit more about that. But you hit on a couple little points that I think, you know, the CTA N ratio, carbon and nitrogen ratio.
What does that mean to you? And let's talk about specific plants, and I don't wanna talk about building our seed blends today, but you know, we don't want too carbonation. We don't want two nitrogen base, we want somewhere in the middle. What? What does that kind look like at [00:24:00] 24 to 1 31 ratio? You know, what is that?
Kinda like our bodies, human bodies are about 30 to one, just as a reference point. And, you know, there's a preference from this kind of bacterium standpoint. How do we wanna look at that L and and Yes. Who with seed funds? Yeah, I mean, it's a really good question and I think it all depends on, you know, you hate to say it all depends, but it kind of depends on the, you know, the grower and what does that grower plan to do?
Is he no-tilling? Is he, is he no-till drilling? Um, is he using any fertilizer? Um, specifically synthetic or not? Is he going to follow. A system, you know, um, obviously we have ours formulated to have a lower carbon nitrogen, uh, base in the springtime to then be followed by a much higher carbon nitrogen mix in the fall.
Um, but let's just say somebody's like, well, you know, I wanna, I wanna make my own or whatnot. You know, the things that I would be considering is. , what's gonna follow that crop because it's not as necessarily as important about [00:25:00] this crop's carbon and nitrogen ratio as it is, is the, the, the crop that's going to follow.
Right? Um, for example, a, a good example that might be a good visual for somebody is plant corn. Really high carbon to nitrogen ratio, right? It's not really that critical about corn's carbon and nitrogen ratio in the season in which corn is growing. What, where the carbon nitrogen ratio really plays into this is what's gonna happen after that corn, right?
Because if we don't have a legume following it, and we're gonna do corn on corn, Well then something else has to happen, right? We have to add nitrogen to that cycle or we have to add air or maybe both. So are we gonna be using tillage to cut the cornstalks? Whether maybe it's even vertical tillage, cuz we don't wanna, um, you know, we don't wanna turn the dirt over as much.
We wanna reduce, uh, reduce tillage. So maybe it's a vertical tillage machine or something in an agricultural setting. and even some food [00:26:00] platters are getting pretty, pretty creative with how they're doing that stuff. I think it's pretty cool. Um, so when you think of carbon and nitrogen ratios, I, I tell people often, you know, don't think necessarily about the, the current mix that you all have or, or the current plant is, is a singular thought process.
You need to think about what's following. And even so like, and then what's following that, right? Because that's really when you're gonna. Being able to break down those higher carbon or higher ligand filled, filled, uh, plants. Now John, what I will say is to help visualize what the hell, a carbon nitrogen ratio, you know, what does that mean?
I think this is the easiest way I could say it for people is. , if you've ever had a clover monoculture, which I would imagine most people have seen it, they've envisioned it, et cetera, um, and you say, you know what? It's, it's lifed out. It's five years, 10 years old. I'm gonna spray it with herbicide. If you came back two weeks later and you looked at that field, you would see very [00:27:00] little clover left.
It would just be almost like a bare dirt field, and you kind of scratch your head and go, well, Did it blow away? Well, no, it's because clover is a legume and it's a really low carbon to nitrogen ratio. When you sprayed that crop and you gave the microbes a couple weeks, they consumed that clover, that lower carbon nitrogen species.
rapidly. Now, if you use the same example, and let's use, you know, rye grain. Let's say we planted in the fall. We come back and it's a, we planted 150 pounds to the acre. We come back the next spring and it's five and a half foot tall and we sprayed that with Roundup, and you came back in two weeks. I can promise you, your mind is not giving you the same vision of what that Cloverfield would look like.
You're seeing a mat of dead rye and if you came back another two weeks, You're probably still seeing a dead, a mat of dead rye. Well, why is that? Right? Because rye is such a high carbon to nitrogen ratio plant, [00:28:00] specifically in a monoculture without a highly diverse microbial system functioning underneath its roots that you're just gonna have that city, it's gonna take forever to break down without nitrogen in the system.
So hopefully that helps to paint kind of a picture of what do they mean by carbon and nitrogen. Yeah, I think that does paint the picture. And another simple example is wood chips, right? They have a very high carbon nitrogen ratio, right? That's an example. Wood chips is a good example. Yeah, it's a long time for them to break down.
And I put wood chips on my deer trails, everybody. That's a great strategy for minimizing vegetation under deer trails. Has nothing to do with what we're talking about, but it's a good strategy. Part two of this is thinking about, I think you brought an example up, I think, Importantly is you have higher nitrogen based plannings in the spring versus in the fall.
And can you explain, I know the cycling here that we talked about, but what is the foundation behind that [00:29:00] principle? Yeah, so the biggest piece is the, is the nutrient cycling. So in the, you know, We recommend doing, uh, spring, fall, spring, fall, um, et cetera. So when you're doing that, and you've had this, so let's start with the fall.
You plant this fall crop, it grows great. You have rye, you have tri deka, you have all these other, um, grains and brass, et cetera. It lifes out. And, uh, the next spring it's growing. You know, like the son of a. And, uh, you're getting ready to say, okay, it's time to plant out my spring mix. So you're gonna terminate, be it roller crimper, be it flail mower, be it bush hog, be it spray, what whatever suits that grower's needs.
Um, and you're gonna have this mat of carbon, right? Well, we wanna optimize. This nutrient cycling, get another crop going, right? Because when plants are, are photosynthesizing that's when we're really helping to feed your, your microbial system, both fungal as well as um, bacterial. So we're [00:30:00] gonna plant our lower carbon and nitrogen heavy in the heavy on the legumes mix right into that heavier fat cover.
And what that's gonna do is it's gonna help to break down that fetch by producing nitrogen. Right now there are some legumes in the. What we call carbon lo or fall mix. And that's why you don't just plant a monoculture of legumes because here's the kicker, nitrogen goes through. Anybody listening can look up the nitrogen cycle.
Nitrogen is gonna get to nitrate at some point, right? Um, and if there's not a root there that wants to absorb that nitrate, nitrates, a legible nutrient, maybe a little bit more in some soil types than others, nonetheless, it's a legible nutrient. And our plants have worked their tails off. to fix this nitrogen, right?
I'm just using nitrogen as example, but there's other nutrients that fit this as well. So that's why it's good to have these legumes that are gonna be helping to produce nitrogen and add nitrogen to the system. They have nitrogen on their roots, and they're gonna help to break down [00:31:00] that fetch. But then you're also gonna have plants in there that, Ooh, there's nitrogen was created last fall and it's trying to leak out of the system.
I'm gonna grab that too, for example. A so. and it's going to be able to grow and take that nitrogen into its stock so that when you terminate that spring growth in the fall, you still keep your soil covered and now have these other plants that are producing and growing and allowing that biology to now break down that soil, soil stock, and you're literally just recycling nutrients.
Right? It's kind of a good way to think of it. Um, so that's kind of the idea behind. , how that works. Um, of course, the one caveat is always the, you know, dear, dear Brows, is, is one thing a lot of people don't like to talk about, and a lot of, you know, a lot of video or pictures or, or tests that are done. Um, and myself included, you know, a lot of people are blessed to have really large fields.
So when you're, you're working on smaller fields, uh, if everything's walking off, um, you know, we, we might have to adjust a little bit, you know, and, and that's a whole [00:32:00] nother conversation for another day. But, uh, I just like to to make mention of that. Yeah. And I'm gonna, I'm gonna defunct something that I hear quite often, and I don't mean to be controversial, but I'm going to be for a.
you know, there's, there's always talk about grazing pressure, and we're talking, in this case, we're talking about deer, and that's typically minimal. They're obviously selective with, with what they do consume, right? They're not eating SGEs or rushes, right? They're eating specific plants at certain times of the year, and you have to think about that.
A part of this philosophy of what plants are being consumed and what plants may not be consumed, and it's okay putting non-consumables in a food plot, right? It creates that substrate or that consistency. That helps that nitrogen, or excuse me, nutrient cycling that, that Al was just talking about. The other piece of is introducing cattle.
Um, I've worked with some clients recently where they have introduction to cattle and they listen to all these naturalists and they're like, okay, well, you know, you can see the VY grazing, there's, there's all formulas for this of what's ideal. I find cattle grazing to be like [00:33:00] detrimental, , you know, and, and our short growing seasons here in the northeast and it's, it's good in theory, it's tough in practice and there's a lot of management that has to go into that.
So I typically, Paddock out cattle. And then I have focused, you know, deer food sources. And so I like to segregate those because I think the grazing pressure, even if, you know, cattle are eating high, you know, grass content, they're all also eating a lot of Forbes on that landscape. So these food plots can be degraded pretty quickly by just giant consumable, you know, animal.
So that's, that's one consideration. I'm gonna take you down a path. Al and we're getting into this a little bit deeper, and I think this is kind of deep, right? This is soil health, right? We're trying to get some takeaways out of this, and I'm, I'm a really simple person when I comes to look at soil, right?
I smell it. I look at it, I visually see it. Let's talk a little bit about, you know, looking at the tools and tool sets. I know you've done some bricks, uh, using a refractometer, like looking at kind of plant and soil health [00:34:00] in a very simplistic way. We talk about taking, you know, plant sim, uh, tissue analysis.
Um, not everyone has the ability to do that, so, There's other tools that you can use. I use a tool, and I could use this with a screwdriver. I can stick a screwdriver in the ground and see how compacted my soil is. Um, I can use a more sophisticated tool. Um, I could use a rod. And simply put is when we have very compacted soils.
It takes a lot of energy for our roots to get down into the soil deep. Um, and usually those are deoxy, oxygenated soils. Um, there isn't a lot of, I guess, nutrient availability. They're degraded in most cases when you have really convected soils. We'll talk about why in a second, but we're trying to get nutrients outta the ground.
The other thing is, we talked earlier about this roller crimp or thing that I have. We talked about tillage or you know, single plow tillage or limited tillage, vertical tillage, depending on your technique. Um, but we're trying not to disturb the soil in any capacity. So the Johnny Apple seed example of John running around, throwing seed all over the place.
and I [00:35:00] guess I'm not putting it down at like 400 pounds an acre, um, or I'm not recommending that much more than you typically drill. It's usually 30% more on average, 10 to 30% more. And I'm, I'm just running around the landscape doing this. Where I'm going with this is we don't wanna degrade our soils and we wanna make sure that as we work the soil, and I'm not saying you can't dis the soil, um, I'm, I'm not saying you can't dis.
You know, top couple layers. And certainly if you have corn as an example and you're trying to reset or you're integrating, you know, some type of, I guess I would say limited, soluble, you know, nutrients or natural amendments, yes, you might have to till them in the soil so they don't escape. But deep tillage is really not the goal unless you have, you know, compacted soils and you're trying to aerate them.
So, you know, you're kind of looking at this example here and thinking to yourself, okay, what are my next steps to assessing the. Alan, I'm, I'm gonna kind of push you down this road of how do you look at the soil? You smell it, do you feel it? You know, cause I'm, I'm kind of a touch feel kind of guy, right? I like running into chainsaw and I like, you know, [00:36:00] two-stroke in my face.
So when I'm looking at the soil, I want to have an opinion on it and I want to be able to simply evaluate it. And maybe we're just looking at organic material, which is again, our source of food, right? There's where the carbon exists, that's, uh, the food for our plants. What does it look like? What does the smell like?
So let, let, I'm gonna get your take on, Well, John, this again just a, a great question and I mean, um, I would say I've probably changed over the years, you know, and I think that's okay. Right? I mean, with all of these things, you know, your processes and, and how you look at things and how you think about things, um, I think one of the best things about this life is, is how information's at our fingertips and we can be fluid.
In our, in our ability to learn and think and, and do things differently. So currently, um, what, you know, what I do is, um, I, I do look at it. I, I look at it very, very closely. Um, you know, or maybe that's just with a spade, you know, taking a, taking a spade to the soil and, um, I, I look at. How deep are the, are the roots going?
Um, you know, and, [00:37:00] and, uh, what, what, you know, are there a lot of worm holes through the soil? I mean, just simple things like that. Does the soil look like it's, it's well aggregated or, or? Well clumped up so that if you pour water on it, it's not like a dust, like it's not gonna wash away. But if you poured water on that soil after you took a spade full, does it look almost like a sponge?
Does it look porous? Does it look like the water could just kind of trickle its way through, you know, to those different root pores? Um, so, so I mean that, that, Is indicative of a, of a relatively healthy soil. Um, you know, if you wanna go a step further, uh, you know, before you and I started talking, we talk about Raza.
Shes, uh, I, I always tell people, you know, there's so many brilliant people. If, if people wanna really learn about Raza, shes, uh, Dr. Christine Jones has free webinars on YouTube. Um, she has tons of literature out there you can read. She's super brilliant. Um, but essentially is soil adhering to the roots. You know, are you able to see any type without a microscope?
Right? You know, can you see any [00:38:00] fungal hypo, you know, coming out of the roots or touching the roots? Can, can you see it? You know, you're probably not gonna be able to see a, a ton microscopic aspect, but, you know, sometimes you might catch some with your, uh, naked eye, you know, um, taking a Campbell soup. . You know, this was one of my favorite ex experiments I did a couple years ago.
So I planted a cover crop and then I had taken a, a tiller and I had tilled the spot up, um, and just left it fallow. And then come, uh, spring, I took a shovel full of dirt and I put it in a cup and a measuring cup. And I took that, uh, that was out of the killed path and I took a shovel full of where the cover crop was.
So I put it in the measuring. Both similar measuring cups are actually identical next to each other. and I set a timer and I poured water on both of them at the same time. John, the one with the cover crop, it took like a minute for water to get through. The one without the water was through [00:39:00] before I could even look up, like as I was hitting the timer, it was like already through the soil.
Mm-hmm. . It was just, and and of course it was brown. It was murky. It was, it was just, um, it was just really interesting. Well, maybe you don't want to have to do. , you take a Campbell soup can and pound it in, and there is, I think there is a standard to, to follow, but I don't know, an inch, maybe half inch. You pound it into the, the dirt and, and you know the soil and you, you pour water in there and you set a top stopwatch or set it on your phone and you know, how long does it take for that, that water to infiltrate your soil?
you know, does it go down right away? Does it, does it kind of slowly infiltrate the soil? Um, you know, and, and again, that's a good sign of water infiltration, you know, are, are you able to get it? So if you get a hard rain, , what is that gonna do? Is it just gonna run off or is it infiltrating right? And that, that's what we wanna do.
You know? Um, again, we wanna, we wanna capitalize on, uh, especially if you're in a more, uh, arid area, you know, you wanna capitalize in the little rainfall you get [00:40:00] and, and soils can help you do that. So, um, I probably missed something. Oh, I know the last one I was gonna say, John, is, uh, You know, we started talking earlier a little bit about having multiple different crop species, and you had mentioned, you know, maybe some species that aren't highly browsable or highly preferred is Okay.
You know, one of the things I do is when I terminate, you know, we have sorghum in our spring mix. Um, and I'll give a, a guy a shout out. He's a, a farmer and actually a customer of ours, but his name's Dan Taylor's just a super guy out of Michigan. Um, I've learned a lot from him, you know, just. Bouncing ideas off of him from a ro as a row crop farmer and just a really, really nice guy, you know?
And, uh, I was showing him sorghum stalk, I don't know. It was three weeks, four weeks after, uh, you know, drilling through 'em and they were already breaking down and, you know, sorghum, although not corn, it's, it's similar right from carbon and nitrogen perspective. And he was like, dang, that's impress. , you know, and that's something that I, I, again, [00:41:00] I probably didn't do that three years ago, four years ago.
Um, but I'm starting to get more and more, um, I'm finding myself kind of not only looking at the things we discussed, but also what's stats breakdown look like and, and, and things like that. So those are all things we can look at without having to send it to a lab. I mean, those are just nice, um, kind of metrics that we can use, I guess, to kind of judge our.
I think one thing is you brought up a couple good points that I want people to think about. Cause I want this to be pretty simple. You, you reach down and you pull out a plant and you, we talked about the Razo sheath and we talked a little bit about what that looks like. Um, pitcher, like a Rastafari hairstyle.
Okay. That's a simplest way to look at it and it's good point, right? There's a good example. That's what it looks like. Um, verse, you pull that plant out and just all of that soil just, just falls off the root and it's well connected. There's all. Fungal material dominating within that sphere, you know, keeping that, you know, quite together.
And there's [00:42:00] tests, there's a slack test. You and I were talking about that before. And, and other things you can do is you can actually just take, you know, get, grab a mason jar, dig your soil out, and, uh, throw it, you know, throw it in the, in, in the water, you know, dissolve it in water and, and just see the humic layer and you can look at your, your.
You know, sand, silts, clay percentages across that and kind of get a general idea. You can be very simple having to send things to a lab. And I look at those things as kind of just basic tools. We talked about measuring penetration, right? There's uh, tools that you can use to that. I use an EC meter. This is like level 400 stuff.
So there's all sorts of measurements that you can take that you don't have to send it to a lab. The bricks test that we're talking about earlier, you know, the nutrient density of those plants, right? That's really important, right? Because that provides health to our animals. And again, earlier I was talking about attractivity.
Looking at the coloration. And so go to like an area that maybe may not be worked and dig a, dig a hole, and then [00:43:00] compare the coloration of the plants. Measure the amount of earth worms in a foot by foot section. This is the hugest thing. This is why I'm successful here. This is why. You know, plants always don't fix dirts.
You know, that's the, the plants fix dirt. That just drives me nuts. I hate hearing that because that is such a small piece of the equation. Soda invertebrae, and they're putting on an acre. If you've got a, roughly, this is gonna be a approximation, 18 to 25 Earth worms per one foot by one foot section. Kind of think of it as.
Yes, apply that all across your landscape. The production is right around 40 tons of manure. You can't apply 40 tons of manure from manu manure spreader on your landscape. That's impractical. So we want the invertebrates to work for us, and that's the benefit of having, you know, multitude of these, these plants, creating these synergies, creating these, these biomes of interest to these invertebrates.
And then we need to think about the insects on. [00:44:00] Again, it's just breaking down that thatch layer like Al was talking about earlier. I'm, I'm trying to think what else. Uh, crumbly crumble soil versus block soil that kind of just shows it's more aggregated. Think about like a chocolate cake. That's an example.
I'm trying to think what else. Lots of insects color. Um, look at the plant itself. You know, it's coloration. That's an indicator of health. Is it? Simple things we can look at, and you can diagnose nutrient deficiencies or chemical deficiencies as a result of your soil sample. But most people are only obliged to dealing with m pk.
They're not focused on the micros. That's the difference. And I'm not putting like there's 17 particular nutrients that people focus on. I'm focused 60. Okay. I'm focused on 90 and there's. I think I heard a podcast one time was somebody saying, you know, deer are traveling from miles to get to this food plot.
Oh, they do. And that immigration number on some of these properties that I work on is [00:45:00] that high. The other thing is where you're getting your seed, the size of the seed is a big deal. Like, you know how ancestral seeds or seeds, you know, grown where they have, you know, very plump and oily, you know, those are preferential and we're probably getting degraded seed or lower quality seed, and it's important to figure out where your seed source is.
I struggle with that because either I grow my own seed or I buy it from a reputable. You know, those are complications in this equation. I'm just trying to think, Al what else I got. You know, what else, what other testing that I do. I'm on the landscape, but there's a lot index, right? Well, I think, I think that's, I mean, you've hit on some really good ones.
I share a little, uh, anecdotal story, story with you. So you know a lot of people who know me, and I've probably told you. I, I not only love food blot and stuff is I always have a huge garden, you know, and it, it, uh, my previous home I had grown about 200 plus tomato plants a year, about 135 pepper plants.
And, um, and then of course, you know, your, your lettuce and squash and all that stuff, but peppers and tomatoes are kind of my, my [00:46:00] core that I really enjoyed growing and I started using, Really diverse cover crops in between my rows. People thought I was nuts, right? Cuz I'd have all these tomato plants and then I'd literally go out there with a push mower and I would just mow down my walking path.
But down the one path, I never did mow it. I planted sunflowers and I promised this story's going somewhere. But it reminded me when you said about the, the bugs and creating this, this environment, right? And aphids were always pretty bad. Anybody who's going to tomato plans would say, oh man, aphids are a pain in the rear end, you know, and, and whatnot.
and John this year I had, I had no afis and I'm like, man, this is great. You know, this is, uh, this is the last year at my old house and what I found is I always grew ar Roma tomatoes, which tend to, in Ohio get right, right around, um, the 1st of September, give or take. And, uh, at that same time, the sunflowers were pretty much at the end of their life cycle.
They were getting droopy, they were falling over. They were. . So I noticed the one day I was walking in the garden, I'm, I'm smiling, I'm [00:47:00] picking all these great tomatoes and peppers and there's no aphids anywhere. And I walked over to the dying sunflowers and they're loaded with aphids. And as I watch little black carpenter ants are climbing up the sunflowers and they're grabbing the aphids off and they're carrying 'em away.
So it just shows you the synergistic relationship. You know, in, in what was happening in the garden, I didn't have bare dirt. I had areas for, oh, and then on top of that, which was cool too, is there was, I would find frogs living underneath those, those sunflowers all the time. Cool. You know, little toes. And it just was amazing to see.
How everything interconnected. Well, the same thing happens in our food plots. We probably don't pay as enough attention to it, but I think that's something that I probably wouldn't have thought of had you not shared some of the things you, you pay attention to. Um, but it is something that's so cool is, is take some time when you have these diverse blends and mixes and stuff and, you know, find, find the, the, [00:48:00] the crickets and, and all of this other.
You know, not in, of course, like you said, the worms, but find all of this and it's, it's, it's all working together, you know, and you'll see birds and, and everything else, um, you know, coming together. And it's really, really cool. There's so much from an ecology standpoint, there's capillary action. And find out where your water table is.
Um, I look at that when I look at properties. Um, I mean, this is like, this is way more involved than I think. We tend to make it on, on this podcast. And I listen to other people. I, I, I think when I look at it, it's intricate, right? It's, it's a, it's an ecology that I want to evolve in a positive. I am not a naturalist by any means, and I do like natural plants.
Some of the plants we're introducing in these food plots are not natural. I have non-natural plants on my landscape or non-native plants on my landscape, but it's thinking a little bit more, you know, in depthly about some of these topics and having kind of like real world experience. And I think just [00:49:00] the smell, if it's.
Anaerobic, right? It's got that barty smell like when you're driving down the road and you feel, you get like a nice misty rain and it kind of has that fluffy soy smell across, you know, a, a hayfield or something like that. You know, the biology is thriving and, uh, that's a lot different from that, you know, kind of degraded soil.
Um, that has, you know, again, it could be water logged, right? So it's got low oxygen levels and. Don't do really well in those areas. Very rich soils. Like out in the Midwest, you know, they got layers and layers of grassland that's kind of like degraded and, uh, you know, we're losing so much soil as a result of the practices that we have.
Water infiltration is like so important. If you have, uh, a property like in the Midwest where you're constantly tilling, you're not thinking about the water cycles and, and how to manage water in the la l. On some of my clients' properties here, we're creating swales and [00:50:00] ditches and trying to create that microbiology where there's so much interaction of different plants because of the microbiology, and you get to see plants that kind of proliferate those areas that you wouldn't normally see.
And that's really interesting because the health of those plants, the water content makes those plants more attractive to deer. You know, this is getting like, I think a little bit too in depth, but like when you're paying attention to some of those aspects, it's, it's really fun and, and really enjoyable.
And one point you brought up earlier, those healthy tomatoes. Have a tendency not to attract. Um, a bad tomato typically attracts insects. Aphids eat it right, because it's degrading a healthy plant, repels those insects. So when I'm looking at the landscape and like I want an inoculate, plants add bacterium to plants, I'm looking at the healthiest.
Fatty as plants, and what I do is I look at the sheen on the plant. If you've ever seen like a cow, and a cow has a nice sheen on [00:51:00] it, you know that's a healthy cow. Same thing with plants. You're looking at the plant and you're looking at the leaf, right? That leaf is like a solar panel. The fatty acids that are on that leaf, there's microbes on that leaf.
And the stomatas open up, they produce water, right? That helps the whole water cycling process. We can change the world by just focusing on having healthy plants in the landscape. And so looking at the plant and that sheen, I can determine just looking at it, right, the volume, right? There's another, there's all these considerations that are just like, just have to look right.
You don't have to be all sciencey. You know that plant looks really healthy, that plant looks really bad, right? It's the rut and the litter. Well, that's a bad plant. Pull it out, put a new one in. Um, it could be a factor of the plant, could be the factor of the soil, the type of seed that you have. Whatever the case may be, you need to start to think a little bit more densely in the landscape.
We're not botanists. I'm definitely not one, but I'm starting to think a little bit more about what this does for me. I'll have a podcast talking about key plants, their benefit on the landscape. Um, I've got a bunch of [00:52:00] podcasts that I want to do, but I want to get all these other guests on and kind of talk through this.
Yeah. We're gonna be on, again, I think you and I are gonna talk more about like seed selection. Your specific two and one punch. Right. I like your idea. This is the stuff that I've been doing for a long time. You're doing it in your own forms. I'm, I'm learning from you and how you approach these things.
But I think it's cool because, you know, your st anybody can build your seed blend, right? Um, it, it just takes a little bit more time to do that. But giving them the tools, right, giving them the, the principles behind this is critical. And we don't wanna deal with monocultures. We want polycultures, we want diversity.
We just, you know, I, I'm a huge fan of clover, but there's a way to do clover. Within these, these polycultures that's productive and valuable. You can do it in strips, you can do it in small spots, and you can rotate and um, you know, typically a legume that lasts at that period of time. In, in Springtime Al, I go in and I broadcast.
Way more tri than I should in April. You know, like a hundred pounds an acre, [00:53:00] just so it takes, and it outcompete or it competes with, you know, that kind of spring feral plants. Or in this case we're gonna talk about like clover as an example, and it's consuming some of that nitrogen. So I'm not completely degrading the soils.
I don't want monocultures across the landscape. So it's being a little bit more in tuned. Let's think about adding bees onto the landscape, even if they're not native European bees, Italian bees, whatever type of bees you want. Adding bees on the landscape, making it more involved and integrated, and then having kind of these fungal zones, areas where there's, you know, dedicated tree rows and splitting these food plots into sections.
So there's a lot of strategy that kind of goes into the development of what a food plot should look like and how it should lay out and how to add. You know, more fungal areas, areas that are less dominated by bacteria because they're not plowed or tilt and integrating that into the design as well. So this, this is like, again, this is next level stuff, but this is what the point of this podcast is.
This is what I'm working with my clients on. And I, I don't think anybody's, uh, an [00:54:00] elitist when it comes to this, this type of area because there's so much to learn. And like, I mean, as a, a food plotter, right? Me, a food platter, you know, I'm listening to people. That know so much more about just, you know, the intricacies of soil and how plants work and they're taking measurements and measuring, you know, biomass and productivity and yield.
And sometimes I just want to feel and touch it and I don't want to have to do calculations and analyze things to the n integre. . So I went on a rank L, but that's the way I look at things and, and that's kind of how I approach, you know, the, these, these client, uh, you know, things that, that I'm working on, on a constant basis.
But I think there's a ton of good advice in this podcast. And, uh, I've listened to a few about soil and I, I like ours. You know, I think this is good. This is like a soil health 1 0 1 to 4 0 1, so I think we gave people a lot of information here. Anything. You want to add or, you know, you know, John, the only thing I'll add is, well, first off, thank you for having me [00:55:00] on.
I look forward to the next chat is mm-hmm. , I think there's, you hit the nail on the head. I mean, there are people literally who study just nitrogen, you know, I mean, the, the, the, it, that might be a slight exaggeration, but there are so many brilliant people out there. If, if something, you know, if you question some questioning things are is good.
You know, if you question something, you wanna learn more and you can't find it from, um, you know, YouTube reach out to a ward lab or, or any of the other great labs that are either talked to a PhD. You know, the, in my experiences, they've been phenomenally helpful. You know, it's, it's okay to question things and the other thing I'd, I'd say, You know, we all wanna follow the, the six soil health principles and, and, you know, no-till and, and no disturbance and, and no fertilizers and all this.
That's, it's all great. But at the same time, any, I always like to say any step towards soil conservation is a step in the right direction. And sometimes we just have to get started, whether it's with my mixes or you [00:56:00] wanna try to make your own, or you wanna combine a few, or whatever you're doing. If you're taking that step towards soil conservation, you're gonna like, Your pocketbooks probably gonna like it cuz you're not gonna be spending as much in time.
Um, and your deer and wildlife are certainly gonna like it. So, um, I would just end with that. You don't need all the big equipment. I mean, that's awesome if you can, can get it someday if you're doing enough acreage, but, um, you can do a lot with a little and if you're taking that step in the right direction.
and you're still tilling a little bit or something like that. Just maybe don't till it six inches deep, maybe till an inch, you know? Um, that's okay. We're we, you know, we'll, we'll keep working on it. We'll keep getting more diverse, you know, and, um, just take that step in the right direction and, uh, that's a step in the darn right direction.
Yeah, and I would also say try to mini minimize herbicides. I gave the example of how I do it earlier, you know, there's a degradation factor and productivity factor of insights and microbes on the landscape as a result of use of herbicides. Percentages have been thrown out 10 to 20% [00:57:00] degraded annually.
There's a recovery period. Um, there's a lot that goes into that. We've talked on, I think previously we talked about plant back periods. You know, it just destroys kind of the microbial activity. Pull, you know, pull a John Teeter example and just go out there and just start being Johnny Appleseed and throwing stuff all over the place.
That's, there's nothing wrong with that strategy. I think actually that's worked well for me over the years. And again, I don't prescribe to having really specific, I guess, seed volumes, et cetera. I kind of do what feels right and when I'm cutting. , I feel right. It's, I'm like an artist in the woods. I'm just flowing.
And I think a lot of people, when you get to the point of, I don't wanna say mastery cuz I'm certainly not there mastery in anything, but when you get to the point of feeling good about something and it just flows through your body and you cut timber and you can just make decisions and you, you're rolling, you'll be amazed.
And I, I would, I would suggest anybody and anybody, if you're not a client of mine, you are a client. It doesn't. Go out [00:58:00] there and make some mistakes because you're gonna learn from it. And that's how I started doing this. No, I guess at this point, 18 years ago, 18 years ago, when I was a kid, I just kept making mistakes.
And I'm making mistakes every day right now. And uh, that gives me that artistic ability because I get in flow. And if I'm creating a food plot, If I'm cutting timber, if I'm thinking about things, I'm in flow and I don't know everything about everything, but what I, what I do know is that I'm learning every day and that's really important.
So I'm want to end on that l Um, we'll have you on again, you're gonna break down some more seeds and what to plant and soil types. We'll talk about soil texture and tilt and we'll get into some more details. And I didn't know soil could be so cool, but it's cool for me. Thanks again, John. It was my pleasure.
I appreciate it. All right, brother. Talk soon. See ya. Yep. Take care.
Maximize Your Hunt is a production of whitetail landscapes. For more information on how John Teeter and his team of experts can help you maximize your [00:59:00] hunt, check out whitetail landscapes.com.