Are you using plants to do this, or has your primary focus been on increasing both diversity and mulch?
I've had a renewed focus on building up the organic matter in my depleted soil, and have noticed how the plants are responding to this.
I agree. I really gained in that regard when I read Teaming with Microbes. They are really big into actively aerated compost tea as an application to boost the soil life. I think that this might be a very useful additon if one has a good aerator/bubbler and high quality compost, or manure, which I don't yet. I really like, however, that Jon's book focusses on doing this all with plants, detritus, and no till.
I think having the idea of feeding the soil life in mind rather than feeding the crop helps me to make better decisions.
I think it's equally important, though I understand the challenge. Planetary wise, I think that field cropping with these methods is going to change the soil health faster than veggie growing, but I think that our veggie food production systems need to change to this type of farming as well. I like that Jon talks about his own garden a bit. How he makes a hole or furrow big enough for the seed or transplant and that's it. There are parts of this also covered in the following video by Emelia Hazelip:
I am very keen to have a greater diversity in perennial pasture and other perennial plantings. With some annual vegetables it's been a challenge to do polycultures, and with others it's easier. Maybe with annuals in a home garden it is not much of an issue?
I think that will likely be the case for most farmers. I really like your method of planting into a harvested cover crop, and then mowing to cover your seeds. I'm not sure that goats are ideal for rotational grazing, but I like that you are doing that!
Progress is slow because for one - it's seasonal. Second, the seasonal conditions vary so much each year. Sometimes I feel discouraged, but I take heart in knowing we're heading in the right direction.
Roberto pokachinni wrote:Hi Leigh. How many acres is your project.
I really like your method of planting into a harvested cover crop, and then mowing to cover your seeds.
I'm not sure that goats are ideal for rotational grazing, but I like that you are doing that!
Roberto pokachinni wrote:So, I've been mulling over an idea to turn perennial pastureland sod into super-productive vegetable garden areas without tilling and minimal disturbance. . . . Thoughts, or suggestions?
I like what Gabe did with his garden area. He used wood chips for his huguls which is different. He didn't explain the system that much, however. I'd be interested to know how deep he put the chips (how much soil was put on top of the layer with the chips?), what was the chips-to-soil ratio when he mixed them? how old were the chips? What species of wood was used? How long ago did he do it to achieve that much break down? How much was it watered? Was it an effective system in the short term, or did it draw too much nitrogen while the chips were first breaking down? Lots of questions, but great results, for certain.
an interesting video along those lines I'd like to share. It's an interview by Dr. Mercola with regenerative rancher Gabe Brown, about how he made a beautiful garden on compacted pasture land.
I think that Jon wrote in his book that the results are often not immediately apparent... That two to three years minimum is required to really see the changes in plant growth, even if one is focussed on observing it. I think that having the greenest and healthiest winter hay crop ever is definitely encouraging!-particularly when you have been at this for so short a time! Way to go!
Sometimes I feel discouraged, but I take heart in knowing we're heading in the right direction.
Roberto pokachinni wrote:I'm curious about the smaller paddock system that you are making for your goats (how small are they?), and how you are judging the recovery time for their return in the rotation (are you using key indicator species for observing recovery?).
Are you using irrigation? It seems that Savory's approach hinges on the need for waiting for rainfall to boost plant growth after grazing. It's my thinking that this could be achieved faster if one had reasonably inexpensive access to water and using that to irrigate right after the goat's graze, at least for a few years while you are developing your soil food web and diversity.
My understanding also, is that with the grazing by the goats (or any animals) that some of the plant roots which associate with the eaten leaves will die off feeding the soil life that likes to eat dead roots, and then when the leaf is regenerated from the remaining roots that the soil microbes that benefit from the chlorophyll sugars will get boosted, and this is what makes the Savory method so potentially great for soil building if it is done with the thought of not over-grazing and also letting the plants recover fully before returning.
A permanent causeway into the center of each of the two paddocks closest to your goat pen would allow you to use the center as a hub to create pie-piece-like shapes for smaller paddocks and quicker access for getting your goats into position and back to the barn for milking.
I think that Jon wrote in his book that the results are often not immediately apparent... That two to three years minimum is required to really see the changes in plant growth, even if one is focused on observing it.