Some of us might not yet know it from looking out the window, but spring is indeed on its way and the time is right for frost-seeding food plots. Frost-seeding can go a long way to repair existing plots or provide a way to plant deer-attracting forage if you don’t own farming equipment.
Frost seeding refers to a spring seeding procedure whereby food plot seed is spread either directly on snow cover or on bare ground and left to make it’s way into the soil with the help of the alternating freezes and thaws of late winter. No special equipment (other than a simple hand seeder) is required and the results can be quite satisfactory.
Food plot experts use frost seeding to rejuvenate old plots or to create new ones. A top dressing of fresh seed will eventually make soil contact and if all goes well the seeds will germinate and new plants will be off and growing with the rest of the spring greenery.
Sound too good to be true? Well, frost seeding does have its limitations. For starters, you can only do it on well-drained soils. If your plot tends to puddle from snowmelt or spring rains forget about it. The excess moisture will kill the seed and you will be back where you started. Your only option there is to wait for the soil to drain and dry sufficiently for some form of light tillage that will support a traditional seeding. Know, too, that frost seedings typically germinate at a rate considerably lower than planting done with normal agricultural procedures. You can count on maybe 25-30% of a frost seeding to germinate and grow. So you have to spread 3x as much to get the same coverage; that’s why it is ideal for repairing thin spots or adding a new forage to an existing stand. It’s also a great way to plant log landings and skidder trails that have been torn up by foresters during the winter.
Limitations aside frost seeding has its place in the world of food plots. If a quick-and-easy fix is what you are looking for give frost seeding a whirl (or whirligig).