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Pasture / soil building plan and species. Conversion from woods. Long post, many questions. sorry.

 
Connor Ireland
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Howdy. I've got some dirt in the Ozarks of Arkansas, its wooded forest with mostly r/w oaks, pines, cedars, hickories, elm, maple, sweetgum, sycamore, huckleberry, dogwood, on sandy/stony/loamy soil from 5-25 degrees slope, north facing. It has never been cleared, I suppose, until 20 years ago there wasn't a black-top road within 9 miles of here. There is woods just like this in every direction for miles, broken up only by pasture in the bottom lands and homesteads. We're calling it Mt. Tickmore, because its got a lot of fuckin ticks!

So what I have growing here naturally is nice, but there's a lot of it around here and I don't feel much of it is worth preserving. I want to convert it to some sort of meadow or pasture, a big field of grasses and flowers, most of them 'wild foods' that could be crops if I really needed them to be. I have some fruit trees, I want lots more, long-term. I want to run some swine, some ruminants.

We're felling trees in the next few weeks. Some will be boards, some will be firewood - but many are just in the way and will be laid on contour, immediately I will sow lots of turnips. Early in the spring I will get a couple goats from my neighbour and buy X number of pigs***, and move them through the cleared area with solar step-in electric fencing**. The goats will eat down all the brush and the pigs will nose out the turnips and poop everywhere. Right behind the swine I'll plant my seed mix, which I have just ordered off Amaz'n. Maybe I got too much of some things, certainly not enough of others! I'm trying to learn by doing, which can be a pretty awkward process.


1 Lb Turnip Seeds - 'Purple Top White Globe' Bulk Vegetable Seeds -- This is the only one of these plants that I want to save for the pigs and goats. Everything else will get a couple years to establish.

Big Bluestem Grass 1 #
Red Bee Balm 100 Seeds
Great Burdock 200 seeds
Groundcherry 200 seeds
Echinacea Pallida 300 seeds
Chicory 2000 seeds
Creeping Thyme 2000 seeds
Nodding Onion 500 seeds
Salsify 200 seeds
Hyssop 1 oz (should be a lot of seeds.)
Red Yarrow 2000
Crimson Clover 1 lb
Evening Primrose 2000 seeds
White Clover 1 #
Blue Indigo 60 seeds
Wild Ginger 60 seeds


**My neighbours have used step in electric with their pigs, others with goats. It sounds like it worked better with the goats, but I am at peace with having lots of escape-problems. Hopefully, feeding a daily ration will keep everybody coming home in the evening.

QUESTIONS: I want to broadcast as much as possible. Are any of my chosen species unsuitable to broadcast, IYHO?
***I think I can get 2 goats from my neighbours, and I have the amounts of seed listed above. Generally, how many swine do you think I can support?
How much space can I really seed with the amount listed above? I know that I can only do like 1/4 acre with the bluestem. How does this figure relate to my pig carrying capacity (Wouldn't want to clear land that I can't seed.)
Which ones are aggressive and which can't take competition? In terms of grouping them.
Am I missing out on anything I can't live without?
Pigs would progressively prepare the land for sewing. Would I have problems planting all these things progressively throughout the spring/early summer? Do I need to put down some things during the wet season, then other things as conditions get hotter and drier? This would result in a gradient, as blocks are cleared and planted different species would go in.

Thank you, I love you all.
GOALS: Sunlight coming in. A place that deer like to come. Pasture for one dairy cow or two sheep, +/-. Soil retention and building. Very happy bees.
 
Paul Cereghino
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Posts: 855
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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I don't know your ecosystem, but would recommend looking through the native flora for pasture elements that are robust.
When you have only a few perennial seeds (for example Echinacea, nodding onion, bee balm) consider cultivating in a bed then either using it as a seed crop, or transplanting out roots in spring or some combination thereof. I have been much more satisfied with results. In general, I have found that developing some seed beds helps me get the quantity of seed I want for broadscale sowing. Unless you are absolutely sure about bluestem on your site, you might consider diversifying your grass mix.
I have a recent interest in fodder beets or mangal beet. They might fit you interest, while adding another family to your root forage. I wonder about jerusalem artichoke and another compliment.
 
Nathan James
Posts: 8
Location: Missouri ozarks
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@ Conner: have you got started on any of this plan? It sounds pretty good. I'm also in the ozarks and have a lot of woods and little pasture. I've been toying around with maybe converting some to pasture. I'm just not too up on the standard practice of doze it all off and burn then plant grass etc. thanks and good luck!
 
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