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Do cover crops really germinate and thrive in a natural pasture?

 
Thomas Alexander
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Location: Uruguay
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So that's my doubt in the title of the topic. Has anyone tried something like seeding cover crops in a natural pasture (mainly grass family). The natural environment here in Uruguay is mainly grassland. Thanks in advance for any info on this.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Are you referring to a specific Natural Farming technique? I'm familiar with Fukuoka planting cover crops in fields of annual grain, not in pasture. Under most conditions pasture grasses will out-compete most other plants, in my opinion.

 
Thomas Alexander
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Location: Uruguay
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Right, i'm familiar with Fukuoka's ideas and techniques from his books, but to make them come real could be a challenge here because of the pasture thing. So is there some technique i could use to get some cover crop working amongst the pasture, and eventually keep the pasture at bay? Specially a no-tilling, no herbicides aproach!
 
Cj Sloane
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Thomas Alexander wrote:So is there some technique i could use to get some cover crop working amongst the pasture, and eventually keep the pasture at bay? Specially a no-tilling, no herbicides aproach!


Not sure what you mean by this. What do you want instead of pasture?

If you're trying to turn pasture into something else then cover crops are the wrong approach.
 
Judith Browning
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Every fall for a few years we have been planting a variety of clovers and some alfalfa throughout an area of old pasture that we call our orchard. We also spread wood ashes there over the winter to raise the PH a little. Over the summer we mow wide paths. It's way too early to judge success though. The crimson clover is reseeding nicely but every winter the deer graze it down to nothing and then leave it alone to bloom and set seed.. More of the white clover is getting established..I planted some mustard and buckwheat over the summer but it didn't do as well. This year I want to add vetch to the mix. There are still some poor pasture grasses but I am hoping gradually the clovers will make the soil richer and take over. But it is an expeiment and we are only out the cost of some seed. In my thirties I would not have been so patient!
 
Thomas Alexander
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Location: Uruguay
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Well, i would like to turn a part of this pasture into a vegetable garden at some point in time, and i thought a cover crop was the way to go for a start. Esentially i would like vegetables to grow there in a natural way. Is there a way to accomplish something like this? I doubt scattering seedballs on the pasture as it is now would have any success towards the vegetable garden. And if not a cover crop, then what kind of seed should i scatter?
 
Cj Sloane
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Annual vegetables are tough because you're always fighting succession. Permaculture solutions for this tend to be sheet mulch the area or built a hugelkulture or maybe go towards a food forest. Watch geoff lawton's new video about turning pasture into a food forest using chickens.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Depending on your conditions, sweet potatoes might work as a dense enough ground cover to out-compete grass; I can't off the top of my head think of anything that might work as well. But I agree with CJ, chickens would be the easiest way to get rid of the grass to prepare the ground for planting.
 
Lynn Sue
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A fairly well accepted method of planting into an established pasture is to graze it down fairly low to set back the existing growth, then plant your cover crop with a no-tilll drill into the residue. If you want to just augment your existing pasture plants, hopefully they new plants will become established before the old plants get back on their feet; then they can all live happily ever after. If you want to establish a garden plot or clear some spots to plant trees, your no-till planting might consist of buckwheat. Plant it thickly in the spring, and before it goes to seed, mow or graze it and it should have suppressed a lot of the other vegetation, and you will have a fairly competition-free area in which to dig/plant. If the buckwheat goes to seed, you will have another buckwheat crop, which you may or may not want. There are other "smother" crops but I am most familiar with buckwheat. A "chicken tractor" setup can be used to do the initial heavy grazing before you plant, too, but it can be difficult to get enough cleared that way in time to plant a significant area.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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