Smaller seeds work better. Red clover works really nice on fertile ground sweet xlover for dryer poorer areas. Legumes dont like acidic conditions. Annual rye is a nice cool season annual that froat seeds nice and millet works good for a warm season.
You can pull hay off a round bale and throw it over the fence it works fine.
Also the reason that square bales are expensive is because they are hard to handle and wont shed rain so they need to be covered. Buy them when they are freshly baled in the field, this will be much cheaper.
I'd still buy a round. Never leave them on end the rain will get into them.
Just throw that bale out in the pasture. I Get little to no waste doing this provided that the ground is frozen. Areas around feeders get heavily soiled then the cows wont eat what they drop on the ground and walk on.
By feeding in a new spot everytime you are giving them a clean plate and they will lick it clean.
This also spreads manure and seeds from the hay in your pasture.
I throw some straw down with the bale for microbe food. I want to tie up the nitrogen to prevent leeching. Wood chips would also work.
Legumes make little balls on their roots that are realeased as organic matter thats high in nitrogen. This is only released when the roots die back after being mowed by an animal or herbivore. What makes them special is that they pull this nitrogen out of the atmoshpere if they have the right bacteria assosiated with them.
You can buy legume inoculants to make sure they are getting them.
I think that sweet clover is the hardyest legume it grows on soils with absolutly no organic matter without problem and seems to love that compacted spot right at the edge of roads. But id plant a mix of all the legumes you can get your hands on with a few grasses.
Also look into nitrogen fixing trees they spread nitrogen with leaf drop.
I vote hugelkultur on contour in your garden area. Assuming its not dead flat, in which case build it any direction you like.
Try digging a hole about 2 or three feet deep where you want your garden and see if it fills with water.
That marshy area is basicly a swale already i wouldnt worry about more water catchment for your garden area.
If your water table gets higher than 2 feet for extended periods id be thinking raised beds aswell.
Now if you could make some more dams up that stream from you then we would be talking year round stream.
How is your land shaped? Rectangle square? Where is the water? Im doing an ally down the middle of my pasture to give access to water. Then i can give them there daily grass from the ally. I put my chickens right beside the water since this is where the main and consistant parasite load is.
The rest of the grass get enough rest to not have to worrie about it. Try not to think of how many sqr foot the pastures should be but how much they need depending on how the grass is doing. They will need alot more room with low grass growth then with fresh green growth.
This is why you need electric in the middle so that its easy to move if you change your mind and depending on the weather.
If you can get set up to give the cows freah grass every day and provide them with water and mineral then you will be in a good spot to put your pastures in wayyy better shape. Then worry about moving chickens around and reseeding to better plants and whatever else.
Western ceder will only grow with good moisture, swaps ect. Although once established they will grow even after the land has been drained. So yoy may have a spot where some swales or a dam and you could keep some of those winter rains on the property.
If you hot compost it the seeds will be killed off. If your just looking for a burn pit just cut the top off a 45 gal drum and drill a few holes in the bottom. If you want to get fancier old propane tanks or fuel tanks with atleast 8 inch exhast. But this isnt a rocket stove.
I dont think its very common to grow alfalfa as far south as you are but its worth a shot, its a great plant. Id add red clover, sanfoin,trefoil and a vetch. See what works. But also im not sure if there common as far south as you are Comfrey.
Those weeds and the best thing you can have to break up your soil and get organic matter in the ground. But i can hear you when you are worried about them taking a foothold. Observation is best.
I would watch the weedy spots and mow just before they go to seed. In other parts of the pasture maybe there isnt so many weeds so i would just leave it.
You have to remember that the taller the forage is the longer the roots and thats where you build soil.
You have to remember that they where doing thing in non degraded topsoil that was full of goocd microbes and nutrents. They could mine the soil in one spot for years before moving on.
Also deer where quite likley more afraid of humans then they are now.
Yeah maybe some of this stuff is more of a pig pasture then a cattle pasture. Im just tryingg to get away from the whole feed hay and grain half the year thing. Maybe getting away from the whole grain thing altogether and still diniah a steer in a reasonable amoumt of time.
So i just got 3 bottle calves and im probly getting 3 more this week. Id like to get up to about 20 cows in the next 3 years. I have about 80 acres in pasture so it makes sense. It is to much land to keep up with trying to establish food forests or gardening ect.
So im in alberta canada zone 3 and im looking into different crops i could grow that might work for hay, silage or grazing. I like to think outside the box and do things differently. Maybe thats why i make a good permie. Im thinking perenials obviosly.
Im along a river and the soil is river silt ontop of gravel. There is water in huge amount at 4-5 feet when the river is high and at 7-8 feet when the river is low but the topsoil drains very easily. I even extreme rains never leave standimg water.
The pasture has be left to go wild for 5 years beforw i bought the property and was pasture before that. The organic matter levels are high i have good earthworm counts ect but have to add compost to grow gardens ect.
But im not going to rule out annuals but if we are going that route i want some weeds none of these plants that cant outgrow the weeds i already have. Id like annuals that will grow alongside or in small tilled strips to begin with the perenials. There will be no large scale tilling.
So far im thinking comfrey, Jerusalem artichokes and maybe nettle. I picture maybe mod grazing this once during the season then maybe doing in field silage, bale grazing or maybe some swath grazing in the winter or fall. Also i see it as a finishing crop. Id like to use as many differnt plants as possible, even some that if they would just end up as a mulch since id need that.
Ive already been broadcasting. By which i mean throwing it up in the air by hand and walking around the field. Sweet clover, alfalfa, cicer milk vetch, amd sanfoin. I can get those seeds at my local seed supply. Id like to feed them to the cattle and get them to distribute them once i wean them.
But im all ears has anyone tryed anything out of the box? Or even have an idea of somthing that might work? Id like a 20+ species mix to see what likes my place.
Its to warm out yoy need to plant them earlyer in the aeason or find a shady spot.
On a plus note the seed pods are delicious if you get them before they get to mature. They taste just like radishes and you probably get a bettwr yield this way.
Can't see why not maybe plant it in a legume for nitrogen fixation to help with the decomposition.
Also id make some mushroom slureys. This could be a good way of growing mushrooms from brush instead of bigger logs.
First get something growing on it to stabilize it i had a simular bank although only 4 feet high. I put down some pasture seed with lots of rye grass in it to hold the bank together. But if it is to shady or acidic grass might not work for you.
You need to slow the water rushing through this gully. Most of the time this is a problem that starts at the niebour 6 places up and gets worse till it gets to you.
You can throw things up against the banks or make a series of dams to slow the water and try to get it sinking in and stop erosion. You will be suprised how much soil and organic matter piles up if you slow the water.
Ofcourse this all depends on how much water we are talking about.
Funny how people have no problem with chicken shit on their lettace but their own pee is a issue.
Some compost exttact would work well. Last year i had the same problem and just used a 5 gal pail put some horse manure in it let it sit over night with water. Then pour around the plants.
Bubbling it would work better but i think if your soil isnt to heavy and you have good microbes in it. It should go areobic in the garden.
My garden took right off when i did this but it was to late in the year for some things since i was scared of burning plants.
Dont worry if you cant source every ingredient for the tea. I make mine with just goos old compost most of the time. It works wonders but the kelp salt and molosses will help.
Molosses can normaly be bought at a feed store instead of online fairly afordably, i use honey since my nieghbour keeps bees.
The salt and kelp are harder for those of us who dont live near the ocean to find.
Look up compost teas. No need to buy anything. Although im sure that stuff will work fine some soil from the drip line of an old deciduous tree will give you the same thing. Bubbleing the mix gives the microbes air to do there thing in the tea.
So what you need.
Compost home made is the best.
I use burlap sacs but ive also used landry bags.
Imurse them in the unclorinated water. I do it in a 1000l tank but a 50 gal drum works fine. Then get the bubbler going.
Most people have a air pump to airiate it but i use my air compresser.
Just compost works fine but if you want to get fancy.
Put in a shovel scoop of soil from a decidous tree.
Molosses/honey dont need much.
Mushrooms for the spores, oyster, shiitake, morels, any other wild or store bought ones you can think of. I perfer to use wild ones.
There is lots of videos on this on youtube look it up. If you use it as is pour is around plants or dilute as a foliar spray.
I think that this is just a case of reinventing the wheel. This would already happen if i just take that same compost and lay it on the ground. I guess you would need to add worms if you had some real dirt or if you wanted more worm species.
I guess iy would be good for a business selling the worm casting or if uou where doing it in a tiny area on a big enough scale to worry about watertablr contamination.
Its likes taking a great thing that happens naturally and putting it in a aquarium.
Ill be getting a soil test this spring when everything melts, we have 3 feet of snow right now.
I read some articles from the county about soils in the region and they all say calcium carbonate soils low in sulfur and nitrogen. But i see acidic plants growing not sure what to think about it, nature has figured aomthing out.
Im in the process of making a chicken tractor for the roosters, we are incubating our own eggs. Im hoping i can seed behind them and rake it in. Ive order small samples of lagume grain and broadleaf pasture plants.
The plan is to seed as many things as possible and see what grows.
Last year we started a small orchard and the plant growth was pathetic ill need to compost them this year.
Maybe with some compost tea aswell. Part of the problem was probably that we had a bit of a drought and it was hard to keep up with the watering of the young bareroot trees. Im hoping by next year they will have some better roots by the time the dry season starts.
The other thing is the pasture the grass grew about three feet high last year which i was impressed with im thinking about trying to do i giant tea to compost all this biomass as quick as i can. Would that work? Ill need to figure out what i can use to make it. I see recipies online for small scale but it wouldnt be econmical to buy the ingredients from the garden supply store to do it on a large scale. I guess all you really need is compost. I talked my nieghbour into letting me use his truck for this. It has a water tank that can hold 30 cubic meters. Then i would use my air compressor to airate it.
That was my other thought i have some spruce trees that are 30+ inch across which isnt normal for my area. Also there is lots of wild saskatoons which i believe also like it acidic. Ive also been thinking about strawberrys as a crop since there is thousands of wild ones on the property.
Maybe i already have some sort of micro bacteria or fungi dealing with nutrient availability or somthing.
Ive started some compost piles for the orchard and the garden but was thinking more along the green manure lines for the property on the larger scale.
So im in alberta canada (zone 3) and ive got 145 acres of land along a freestone river. There is about 80 acres in pasture the balance is spruce and polar forest. The pastue has been empty for dive or six years and trees are comming back. Under the land its old riverbed gravel sand or silt dependent on where you dig with 1 to 2 feet of topsoil. So its a calcium carbonate soil and a home ph test said ph was 7.8. I also tested the wellwater(15 foot deep well water is at about 7 foot) and got a 7.8 aswell.
So i was thinking about useing elemental sulfur to bring the ph down in the soil but then i read an artichle saying that the calcium carbonate would need to be nutreulzed. They shoulded a case with a soil ph of 8 where they as a test spread 10,000 pounds of elemental sulfur over an acre and lowered the ph to 7 for one year. Then it leveled out at 7.8.
After reading that i decided it was probly best just to grow things that will deal with the high ph.
Legumes seem to do well.
Anybody know of crops that work good in alkaline soil or maybe perfer it?
I havnt found many cases of alkaline soil acidic seems to be more common.
Another thought i had which i might do is to do a few small fenced plots then once they have gone to seed. Let the deer after them.
If anyone has any othet ideas of plants that might do well let me know. Im in zone 3 alberta canada on limestone soil(old freestone riverbed) Ph 7.8.
So i was reading about useing cattle to seed legumes ect and i thought this would be a excellent way to improve pastures. Problem is that i dont have amy cows yet, maybe next year. So i was wondering if anyone has had any experience using wild birds or your chickens which i do have. For this. Im thinking about doing cicer milk vetch, sainfoin, trefoil, sweet clover, and alfalfa. I already have lots of white red and aslike clover growing