Balance in Life, Soil, and Nature

On Target With Nature Podcast

Episode 08 | April 3, 2023 | John Stoltzfus |
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Balance in Life, Soil, and Nature

Welcome to the latest on Target with Nature recording, brought to you by John Stoltzfus. You may think by hearing my recordings over the last year or so, that all I would think about and do would be spend time in nature. This is far from the truth - right now, especially I have a very hectic schedule with the food plot season coming and all the property plans to finish. Sometimes it feels like I'm just going in circles, but then I must remind myself that I do bring it on myself.

So I have definitely overbooked a little and need to find that balance. And why do I bring this up? Because I believe it is real for all of us. This week it was planned that the dads take breakfast to school, and I really didn't have time, but I knew I wouldn't wanna miss it. So it is up to us to prioritize what we can and what we have time to do. And sometimes it takes taking a self-evaluation to see what needs changed to make things better. So I would encourage more of my customers to reach out to some of the local dealers that we have set up just to help spread out that workload.

It is seasonal, so I understand that it is usually this time of the year that it happens to me all the time that I fall behind and catch myself thinking, "Boy, I really need to balance this out a little bit better and get some more help," but we have set up dealers, and I'll mention those here at the end of the call, that are very aggressive and have been getting involved over the last couple years, and Craig and my oldest son Daniel, also a big help in taking calls and answering questions for people for food plots.

But while we are on the subject of balance, let's dive into soil tests a little bit. The question that I often ask get asked is, "Should I take a soil test?" And then I usually ask the question, "Do you shoot your gun before you go hunting?" Meaning, do you sight your gun in before you go hunting? Of course, most of us would not think of going hunting with a new gun without sighting it in. The same goes for food plots, and before we go just dumping fertilizer and lime on it, it is worth knowing what we're starting with, where are we at now, and I guess that's the whole thing that we do as a self-evaluation. Where are we? Where are we at? And whether that's in our marriage or in our church or community, or - where are we? That's just a question we should ask ourselves.

And when we go into this planting season, I think it is important to know, like with our food plots and with our hunting property, where are we and what are we trying to accomplish before we just go into dumping anything into it, we should have a plan. And that's what I've been helping people with over the past month, but I've gotten myself into a little bit of a jam and trying to do too much. And so they have been very patient and I think I have two more properties that I will walk, and then that will be it for the season, and hopefully that'll allow me to get everything caught up before we get into planting season.

And that's the other question I had, and I'm gonna touch on that real quick here. I had a customer that planted Plot Shield last week. It's still way too early to plant your summer annuals. The only thing that you could plant now would be your clovers, and if you wanna plant something like Spring Fling for turkey season, that could work great to plant now. Anything else - even in southeast PA here - you're not gonna wanna plant till the last week of April to beginning of May. Basically, the soil temperature has to reach 60° at 9:00 in the morning. So yeah, you don't see the farmers planting, and they know when the planting seasons are. So once you see them starting to plant corn and soybeans, then we can think about planting our summer crops.

But, just to go back to the soil tests, what are we starting with? We'll help decide what we need to apply, and also what we wanna plant to get the best results possible. The better balance the soil is, the better tasting plants it will produce. Plants are only a transfer agent of what's in the soil, and weeds are only telling you that your soil is tight and outta balance, and it is trying to - it's nature's way of trying to - balance that soil out. So if we're not gonna encourage it or help it with the right things it needs, then it's gonna get some weeds in there that are gonna try to balance it out. I'm also a firm believer that by using a natural base fertilizer that can bring the nutrient levels up together are much more effective than just dumping lime on, or just focusing on N, P, and K synthetic fertilizers, but then missing all the trace minerals and calcium, magnesium, boron, sulfur, molybdenum, all those other trace minerals.

So we are trialing a new fertilizer called Nature's Trophy Blend. It will be called NTB for short, which comes outta Canada. They use natural ingredients combined with some other things. It's all natural ingredients. It could be a certified organic product, but they combine all that into a pelletized fertilizer. So it can be spread with just a bag spreader for the small plots or those cone-shaped spreaders that are readily available. So I'm excited to see the response that we get from this new product in our food plots. It was based on, well, actually they took the last five years of soil test data - that means the results from the last five years - to help formulate this blend. So I believe that it will address most of the needs that my customers have had over the last 5 - 10 years with often the phosphorus being lacking, boron's almost always low, sulfur's almost always needed, and calcium's - readily available calcium sources - almost always needed.

So we wanted to have a dry blend available to compliment the Thunderstorm (Fertilizer). The Thunderstorm does work as a soil applied fertilizer, but it is more of a maintenance fertilizer than it is something to bring the levels up in the soil. So I'm excited to see what response we get from this. It may be somewhat limited this year, being it's a new product and we didn't know how much we wanted to order. We wanna test it more on our own plots as well. We are confident that it's gonna have in there what we need, but what the response exactly will be, we do not know yet, so we're looking forward to that.

I will mention some of the phone numbers for some of the dealers here that I think that you guys should reach out to. And that is some of the local dealers that have been taking some of the load off of us and helping out here. Woodland Repair - Isaac Esh is in Southern Lancaster County in like Rawlinsville / New Providence area, and his phone number is (717) 847-3711. Henry Fisher - Whitetail Food Plots and Rentals (717) 385-1129 - is in the Christiana area. He's not far from us, and he has - as well as Woodland - they both have no-till drills and food plot equipment to rent if you are looking to do your own plots, and they offer the service to plant for you. If you're just so busy, you want a food plot, but you don't have time, then I would encourage you to give one of these guys a call. I believe they could fit some more people in their schedule and would be able to help you get your plots in.

The other one that came on board last fall and has moved a good bit of product for us already is ESH Hardware (717) 768-8497 up in Intercourse, and I'm very excited. They have a really nice store. It's convenient location for you to pick up seeds, Thunderstorm Fertilizer, WhitetailMaxx minerals, or any of the products. We do have the new High Voltage lures with the hemp ropes, and that's a topic that I will have next week on when you should actually get those established to get deer on that pattern.

So I would encourage you to give those guys a call. And then also for the guys that have properties out towards Perry / Mifflin / Huntington / Fulton - out that way, Back 40 Land Management is doing a lot of planting for us, and his phone number is (717) 594-8708, and he has been doing a lot of planting for us in the past couple years and has a full line where he has an order to pick up with the full line of seeds. Then there is Blaine Sporting Goods in Perry County, Blaine Pennsylvania. His phone number is (717) 536-3264.

And then we also have some other ones in other areas. Food Plots R' Us is in Ohio, (330) 359-0014 ext 2. And we have a new dealer in Myerstown, Hubers Animal Health. They are in Lebanon / Myerstown area (717) 816-2246. And Michiana Wildlife Solutions out in Indiana - Goshen, Indiana - (574) 825-3911. And I would encourage you to give some of those guys a call. Starlight Gifts is up in Montgomery. They are (570) 547-1566. And yeah, there's several other ones that are also looking to come on board. So I'm excited to balance some of these things out, and hopefully branch out to where we can expand it and offer these products to other areas.

As you plan for what you wanna plant. I would encourage you to look at a seed blend that has at least three or more different varieties in it. On annuals, especially, get something diverse that is adaptable to whatever weather and also soil type that you are planting in. But the weather - we don't have control of the weather - so if we plant something that is adaptable to different weather, some seeds - or some plants - will do better in dry, some will do better in wet, and so if we have something that can be diverse and adaptable, that will help us have more success. We have spent the last 10 years now in testing and researching, and we'll continue to do that and to see what we can do to find that balance between products, and also to help out with new ideas that may help you with with success.

So you'll hear and be able to see some of those ideas at our field day this year. Those tickets are now on sale, and it will be a first-come, first-serve. It's gonna be limited to 100 adult tickets and it's, they are $75 each. And the children for did I say 12 and under, or was it 14 and under - now I can't remember - I better figure that out. We're basically gonna keep that to about 50 children. We have a guy that is gonna be taking care of that and giving them activities and things that will help make it exciting, and I think that's $30 $35 a ticket - I don't have it in front of me right now, but yeah, call in and order your tickets. First-come, first-serve. (717) 989-6239 ext 1, or visit the Annual Field Day page.

Until next time, we hope you take time, spend a little time in nature and enjoy its many blessings.

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