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When To Plant Brassicas For Deer [& How To]
Are you considering planting brassicas to attract deer to your yard but aren't sure how or when? Well, you've come to the right place. We've put together this guide to help you learn about successfully planting brassica for deer.
Brassica should be planted in early spring or fall and allowed to grow through a few frosts. Plants in the brassica family are cool-weather crops that do best when the temperatures are low and when they're exposed to frost.
So how do you plant brassica for deer? And when will it benefit deer the most? Keep reading to learn all about planting brassica as a deer attractant.
What Are Brassica Plants?
Brassica is a genus of plants encompassing a variety of more specific crops. Cabbage, radish, mustard, broccoli, rape plants, and many others are part of the brassica family.
These plants all work well to attract deer to an area, and many can be harvested for human consumption.
When To Plant Brassica For Deer?
Brassica can be planted in early spring, late summer, or early fall. It's most important to plant it when it still faces cool temperatures to help it mature and ripen properly without the risk of heat stress.
Deer are more inclined to feed on brassica in the fall when other food sources begin to become scarce.
How To Plant Brassica?
Most plants of the brassica genus are very easy to grow and require little care to flourish. Good fertile soil is necessary for a high yield, and regular watering will help keep the plants healthy and strong.
You should follow the planting instructions that come with your seeds for the best outcome, but we've compiled this list to help you get an idea of the process.
1. Prepare Your Soil
Start by getting the soil ready in your planting area. Many varieties of brassica will do well enough with little tilling or ground preparation, but for the best results, you should loosen up the soil, tamp it back down, and clear any weeds.
Adding compost, worm castings, or other soil enhancers will also help your crop outcome.
Harris Worm Castings
This 5-pound bag of worm castings is enough to condition 20-25 square feet of soil. It's completely natural, safe for the environment, and safe for plants that are intended for consumption.
Click here to check out this bag of worm castings on Amazon.
2. Plant Seeds
Brassica seeds are very small and require a reasonably shallow seeding method, 1/4" of depth is ideal for brassica plant seeds and will ensure the best germination rate.
These plants can also be started indoors and transplanted outdoors when appropriate. For spring planting, get seeds in the ground 2 weeks before the last frost. For fall planting, sow seeds 6-8 weeks before the first frost.
Bradley Seed Brand Food Plot Brassica
This brassica medley includes a variety of plants that will attract deer to your plot. The 5-pound bag is enough to seed an entire acre with goodies for deer to snack on.
Click here to see these seeds on Amazon.
3. Water And Watch It Grow
Water your plot and keep it moist by watering weekly or more often if the conditions require it. Don't allow the plot to dry out. This can stress the plants and contribute to premature bolting.
Most brassica plants grow quickly, and you may see them sprouting in just a few days. Other varieties, like broccoli and cauliflower, take longer to develop fully.
Does Brassica Come Back Every Year?
Brassica is an annual plant, so it will not grow back every year, but it can be replanted yearly.
If you allow some of the plants to fully mature and go to seed, they can help re-seed the area for you in time for the next growing season.
It's best to replant the area to ensure a bountiful plot.
What Is The Best Brassica For Deer?
Rape plants are the most popular brassica choice to attract deer. They can withstand a wider range of temperatures than some of the other brassica varieties and grow very quickly.
Since these plants are easy to grow and require minimal work, they're an excellent option for deer forage plots.
The Dirty Gardener Dwarf Essex Rape Seeds
This one-pound bag of Dwarf Essex rape seeds is an excellent option for attracting deer. They can even be overseeded when the crop starts to decline so that new plants will sprout in their place.
Click here to take a look at these seeds on Amazon.
Why Aren't The Deer Eating My Brassica?
You may have an overcrowding issue in your forage plot. Brassica that is growing in close quarters won't have enough space to mature properly, resulting in more brutal and stemmy plants that deer don't find very appealing.
Try spacing your seeds out more or increasing your plot size to give the plants more room to thrive.
Should You Rotate Brassica Food Plots?
Yes, brassica food plots should be rotated at least every two years. This ensures that the plants are getting all the nutrients from the soil that they need to grow strong, and it gives the previous plot's soil time to recuperate for the next sowing.
Pests like aphids are also attracted to brassica, which is a good reason to rotate crops since it helps to prevent pests from taking up residence in a plot.
What Deer Crop Should You Plant After Brassica?
Soybeans are a great option if you're looking for another crop to rotate with that will attract deer. They're disease and pest-resistant, which makes them an ideal crop to turn with brassica, and deer love them.
They're also relatively easy to grow, but they do better in the summer during warm weather.
Outsidepride Soybean Seeds
This 10-pound bag of soybean seeds will provide plenty of forage for your neighborhood deer. It's a great crop to rotate with brassica, and deer love this delicious treat.
Click here to see these soybean seeds on Amazon.
Should You Mulch Around Brassicas?
Using mulch around the bases of your brassica crop is a great way to help the plot retain moisture and helps to prevent your crop from drying out. It will also reduce weed issues in your brassica plot, saving you time and energy.
Mulch isn't necessary but can lessen your load and make gardening easier.
What Food Plot Attracts Deer Best?
While brassica is an attractive option for deer, corn tends to be their favorite crop. Soybeans are another favorite of deer, and they gravitate towards it.
Brassica tends to be easier to grow and tend to than corn or soybeans, and it will still attract deer when their natural food sources begin to dwindle in fall.
Dinner Getter Food Plot Corn Seeds
This 100-count pack of corn seeds is perfect for growing a corn plot for deer to forage. It's a great way to attract deer since they find corn irresistible.
Click here to check out these seeds on Amazon.
How Many Deer Will A One-Acre Food Plot Support?
A one-acre food plot will support between 9 and 12 deer, depending on the species and their average size. Larger species will require more food than smaller species, meaning the food plot won't stretch as far.
A standard one-acre food plot containing brassica will produce roughly 4,000 pounds of forage for deer to enjoy.
Can You Plant All Brassicas Together?
A variety of brassicas can be planted in the same plot. Make sure they aren't buried too close together, or they will compete with each other for nutrients, resulting in a poor crop yield.
Larger brassicas like cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts require between 1 and 2 feet of spacing to grow correctly, but rape and other tall-growing varieties need as little as 4 to 6 inches of spacing.
What Is The Fastest-Growing Brassica?
Anything in the mustard family grows very quickly, and it is generally considered the fastest-growing brassica variety.
Mustards are also the least cold-tolerant of the brassica family, making them ideal for summer and early fall growing seasons.
These plants will perish when exposed to nights with temperatures lower than 20 degrees.
Now that you know about raising brassica for deer to forage, you're ready to start planning your food plot. Don't forget to space the seeds appropriately and read the directions on your seed packets.
Enjoy gardening and watching the deer flock to your yard for a tasty treat.
You May Also Be Interested In These Similar Articles...
For more information on rotating crops, read our article "Can You Plant Brassicas After Potatoes Or Tomatoes?"
To learn more about the proper growing conditions required to grow brassica successfully, read our article "Are Brassicas Shade, Drought, & Frost Tolerant?"