Brandon Greer wrote:
And my neighbor pretty much recommended the same as she did. That's why I feel like this site is my only hope at doing it right because the locals evidently cannot help me. But it's also difficult to know what parts of the conventional methods and the permaculture methods do in fact overlap. For example, would you plow the ground before planting the prairie plants? The locals so far are recommending I do but what is the permie take on it?
Dan Grubbs wrote:Is it a fair characterization definining swales as "nothing more than strips of depression."?
Paul Ewing wrote:I am guessing from your location you are up around Commerce or Paris. I am not as familiar with that area as that from Denton West, but you are still far from Humid Subtropics. Maybe not Semi Arid, but close. I am guessing about 38-40 inch rainfall or so. We have about 34 inches here on a good year an hour northwest of Dallas.
The reasoning for Bermuda grasses is that they perform well in North Texas and produce a lot of forage and hay. It also is one of the more persistent perennials in our three to four months of 100F+ summer. Lots of stuff doesn't make it because of the heat, especially clovers and alfalfa. The problem is that they put you on the nitrogen train. Bermuda really needs 300 pounds of nitrogen an acre to perform and more is better. This is very hard to do without chemicals, even winter seeding clovers only does about 100-150 pounds of N. You can run broiler pens over the fields and dump the 300 pounds/acre in one pass, but broilers really don't get much from Bermuda grass except in the early spring when it still has clover and ryegrass from the winter overseeding.
You can look at doing something like B Dhal Bluestem which produces almost as well as Bermuda but with much lower nitrogen requirements. You can get by with 50 to 100 pounds of nitrogen an acre and be within 250 to 500 pounds of total dry matter production. Other options are crabgrass and cereal rye rotations or greenleaf corn and forage soybeans or cowpeas.
About half of our pastures are Bermuda and half a mix of native and introduced forages. I am seeding 5-10 variety mixes in the fall and summer working to establish a mix of nitrogen fixers and biomass plants year round. It is hard especially since I am not real keen on breaking the fields up to establish the proper seedbed. Since you are doing such massive clearing already it will be easier. We are at the tail end of time to plant a few cool season things. I just put out a mix last week of ryegrass, turnips, radishes, three clovers, hairy vetch, and winter peas on a couple acres that was the pigs winter pasture. I may get a bit growing there an I may not. If not it will be there for next year.
Brandon Greer wrote: Yes, I'm about 10 minutes from Commerce. From what I read I get 44 inches of rain a year.
Brandon Greer wrote:Thanks for all the info. Can you please explain a bit what you mean by rotations with regard to crabgrass and cereal rye?
Brandon Greer wrote:I'd also be interested in knowing what exact varieties you have chosen to put together in the mix you're planting. What three clovers have you chosen? I assume you chose them based on their ability to withstand our heat?