Procrastination is defined as the action of delaying or postponing a task which needs to be accomplished.\u00a0 It\u2019s something us humans are remarkably good at, and while it may have gotten you through high school and college, it will not favor the food plotter.\u00a0 Every year around the end of August, I start to get a handful of emails and phone calls asking if it\u2019s too late to plant food plots.\u00a0 My initial reaction is always the same and goes something like this, \u201cWhy didn\u2019t you ask this question a month ago!\u201d.Fall hunting season always sneaks up on us \u2013 one minute it feels like an eternal wait, and all of a sudden that wait turns into one week away with so much to do.\u00a0 Unlike hanging treestands, planting food plots isn\u2019t something you can typically do during an evening after work.\u00a0 I\u2019m sure you know food plots take time and prep, so let\u2019s get to the question that likely landed you on this page.Is it too late to plant a food plot?The short answer is it depends.\u00a0 Here in the upper Midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan), fall food plots need to be planted no later than the week before Labor Day, and preferably around the first of August.\u00a0 Anything after that and you\u2019re really betting on Mother Nature to be in your favor.\u00a0\u00a0 The biggest determining factor is when will the first frost occur or as I call it, DUFF (days-until-first-frost).\u00a0 The next biggest factor is what will you be planting and the final factor is when will it rain.Fall Planting Dates Rely on Average First Frost DatesYou may see generic planting dates printed on a food plot seed bag or on a seed manufacturer\u2019s website and wonder how they determined them.\u00a0 Quite simply, they are determined according to the average first frost date in your area.\u00a0 Most fall food plot forages, and I\u2019ll emphasize most, need somewhere around 45-60 days to grow before the first frost.Often times seed manufactures will give you a fairly wide range of acceptable days to plant, but just because it says you can plant on \u201cSeptember 15th\u201d doesn\u2019t mean you should. While they may be trying to add a few late-season sales, the seed companies aren\u2019t necessarily trying to trick you, but rather they don\u2019t have the space or resources to give you the exact planting dates for your specific region.\u00a0 This can get you into a bit of trouble, especially in the north.\u00a0 For instance, Seed Company X has the entire state of Wisconsin and Michigan color coded the same to match up with a specific range of planting dates.\u00a0 Anyone who lives in these states can tell you that the first frost occurs much earlier in the northern parts of the states than the southern, so if you plant towards the end of Seed Company X\u2019s recommended planting dates in the North, you will likely be very disappointed.The best way to figure out the planting dates for your specific area is to visit this Old Farmer\u2019s Almanac Link and type in your zip code.\u00a0 The date it spits out as \u201cFirst Fall Frost\u201d what you should use to backdate 45-60 days from to get the optimal planting dates for your specific area.\u00a0 For example, the average first frost date for my area is October 4th, this would mean I should plant between August 4th (60 days) and August 20th (45 days) for optimal growth. Anything after August 20th would be leaving it to chance. I should also note you don\u2019t want to plant too early, either. If you plant too early, there\u2019s a chance the plot will over mature and become unattractive.\u00a0 Whitetails like young growth and the 45-60 DUFF planting window will give you just that.What do you plan on planting?The second factor that will determine if you still have time to plant is the specific type of forage are you planning to use.\u00a0 Typical fall food plot forages include brassicas (turnips, kale, radishes), oats, rye, winter peas, and winter wheat.\u00a0 These are all cool season annuals that grow quickly, hence why they are planted during the late-summer and early-fall.\u00a0 That being said, some grow faster than others and will be better for those who procrastinate.For the fruit\/bulb bearing forages like brassicas and winter peas, it\u2019s best to plant them closer to the 60 DUFF mark. If you\u2019re late to the food plotting game and running out of time, I\u2019d recommend planting your plot with oats and\/or rye.\u00a0 Both are very hardy plants that grow fast and provide plenty of nutritional forage.\u00a0 This would be my go-to planting if I was under the 45-days-until-first-frost (DUFF) planting deadline.\u00a0 If you get a decent rain shortly after planting, followed by some warm weather, these seeds can crank out some serious forage in less than a month.Soil Moisture and RainThe final factor relates to how fast your food plots will germinate. If you\u2019re running late, every day of growth is crucial.\u00a0 Remember, days are getting shorter at a rapid pace and fewer hours of sunlight equals slower growth rates.\u00a0 If you\u2019re planting with less than 45 DUFF and there\u2019s no rain forecasted for the next two weeks, you\u2019re essentially counting on 30 growing days because the seed won\u2019t germinate if there\u2019s no soil moisture.\u00a0 If you can, wait until the radar shows good odds of rain before you plant.In the end Mother Nature determines when the first frost will occur and when the rains will fall. Sometimes all you can do is hope and pray. \u00a0If you can\u2019t get your food plots planted before the 30 days-until-first-frost (DUFF) mark, I\u2019d recommend throwing in the towel and waiting until next year.