Kale is not for every deer food plot. But in the right climates, with correct crops complementing kale in the food plot mix, kale is another brassica all-star.
The biggest advantage for kale (Brassica oleracea) is its cold tolerance. It can take temperatures down to 10F—way below freezing.
Kale’s cold tolerance, though, is often accompanied by a big stem, and that stem is not necessarily a preferred deer food crop! That’s just the first reason to use a stemless or “marrow stem” variety of kale in your whitetail food plot.
The other reason to use stemless, or marrow stem, kale in your deer food plot is that marrow stem varieties only take about three months to reach maturity. (Stemmed varieties can take five or six months!) That timeframe, combined with kale’s cold-hardiness, means that it is possible to plant kale along with your other food plot crops in the late summer. Kale is a cool-season crop, though, so avoid summer seedings in areas where the summer heat is more intense.
That’s just about the complete story on kale. Be sure to establish it as you would any of the other brassicas:
· Plant in a plot location with good soil drainage
· Use a soil test to determine that you soil pH is between 5.3 and 6.8—amend the pH as needed.
· Sow seeds ½-inch deep in 6 to 8-inch rows
Brassicas also like to be planted in a moist seedbed, so keep that in mind if you’re planting in an area where drought is common.
For a complete nuts to bolts summary of deer food plots, everything from location strategy to making your own mixes see Deer Food Plots Made Easy.