I'd like to heal/rehabilitate the pasture. I'm planning on developing it as silvopasture over the long term, with polyculture fedges/tree lines and raising ducks/hens/geese/hogs in the 'paddocks'. I have access to a compact tractor with a chain harrow and a flail mower. I'm not able to overwinter any large animals, other than some laying poultry (perhaps a dozen or so).
I've read up on overseeding pasture, and I'm considering a seed mix of pasture grasses, brassicas, clovers, vetches, daikon and rape.
My conundrum is a lack of experience and a limited cash flow (I'm asset comfy while cash flow is minor). I've been researching bulk seeds and convectional overseeding rates and it seems I could easily spend hundreds of dollars just in a seasons worth of seed (keep in mind this is Canada, where everything costs more... except health care).
Please advise me how I can heal/rehabilitate my pasture, increase the pasture botany and build soil, while keeping costs as low as possible. Maybe there's no way around it; I just have to spend the money. But maybe... there's something awesome and simple I just don't know...
I'm seeking pasture seeding ideas/techniques that are at a budget level (both time and money). I guess I'm wondering if it's possible to 'underseed' (as in lesser amounts and therefore cheaper) a pasture with highly vigorous plants, plants which are still useful to poultry and pigs, and let those plants reseed over a year or two, in the 'go forth and multiply' sense. Are there certain species or certain densities of seeds that can make a difference? In the same vein, at what minimum seeding rate per acre is it not worth it?
At the same time I do understand that different species have very different seeding rates... And I'm not looking for shrub/tree culture ideas; I am planning food forestry areas on the property, but I'm like to keep this 3.5 acres as mostly open pasture.
It just occurred to me: Perhaps I'm seeking a variant of the 80-20 concept (the Pareto Principle) for pasture seeding. The idea that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. So again I ask: Is there a tricksy/folksy way to reseed a polyculture pasture?
If you want to start a small plot, send me a PM with your address and I can send you a starter sample. If you collect the seed heads and spread them around, you can assist how fast it gets established in your pasture.
Jd Gonzalez wrote:I am new and have no experience in pastures. But here in Virginia Polyface farms (Joel Salatin) uses cell grazing for chickens, turkey, pigs and cattle. You might want to check his approach.
Welcome to permies, J.D. That's good advice about Salatin. If you go into "My profile" at the top of the page, you can fill out your location and climate zone. This helps others understand your situation when you post about your crops or projects.
I've seen chicory growing wild in a trucking yard near Kirk's location. Sometimes it is found on the edges of parking areas. Definitely not a needy plant.
As to how to get them to establish, if you have livestock of any type, and can use electric fence to mob graze them, then you are in business. Each time you confine the animals to a small grazing paddock, hand broadcast your seed there. The trampling action of their hooves will press the seeds into the soil, and you should get pretty good germination. This is the easiest, and most sure way I have found to get new plants to germinate in an established pasture.
good luck! you have a good project; done right, it will be worth the effort and cost.
Dale Hodgins wrote:
There's an added bonus to this. In a short time you'll have an ample supply of the world's most awful coffee substitute. I've had a few cups of chicory. Not my cup of
Seriously Dale. I dont know who ever came up with that horrible idea.
I do like to nibble on chicory flowers all summer long. Great morning bitter tonic.
also recommend foliar feeding every 2 - 4 weeks throughout the season. Foliar feeds are the other toolbox that is often ignored by farmers. remember, healthy plants build healthy soils very quickly.. the 2 work WELL together as a system as whole. To learn more about using these tools together come see us at Farmacyseeds.net We have lots of educational tools and its all free. I'd be glad to help guide you through the rehab process for your land. you'd be amazed what can be done in just 1 year with the right foliars (these are extremely cheap and use a very small amount of material to drastically increase plant health and performance without compromising biology or suppressing the natural systems.
hope this helps!