Sylvain Picker wrote:You can try "Frost Seeding", an old farming method used with small seeds (it does not work with large seeds like peas). It consist of direct seeding very late in the fall or very early in the spring over damaged pastureland in order to rejuvenate them. You can do a google search about "Frost Seeding", there is a lot of documentation about the method. Some big seeds like peas or buckwheat could be sowed without burying them if you walk or use a heavy roller over them to bury them a little bit. Many plants like the cold weather, soil humidity and hot sun of spring and will grow very fast in those conditions and compete successfully with weeds. The beauty of "Frost Seeding" is that you are seeding in soil conditions that are too wet to use any kind of tools or machines, so you are getting a jump in the season and that give more time to your seeds to grow at a time when the weeds are small.
Leaf lettuce, radish, alfalfa, clover, dandelion (yes I do plant dandelion), chicory and probably many others are not harmed at all by the cold and even seem to enjoy when some snow falls over them, even if they have already germinated. I would explore the "Flower Meadow" methods as some of these flowers could probably be used to supplement chicken forage and at the same time give the eggs that really incredible free range taste. May be you could also explore the butterfly flowers too as chickens are very happy when they can find some insects to eat.
Lovro Kancjan wrote:
I have an exact same dilemma.
John Polk wrote:Most seeds need a good, direct contact with soil in order to germinate, and set roots.
If you just sow on top of a thick leaf layer, you are likely to have mostly fresh sprouts laying on top. The direct sunlight will kill them.
If you have chickens there, they will happily eat all the fresh sprouts laying on the leaves.