I've got a dry, rocky, clayey, steep hillside in coastal California (think oak savannah, but at a steep pitch) where I want to start improving the soil this winter.
However, this is heavy deer/elk country, and I'm worried that planting oats, rye, vetch, clover, etc. will just establish my lot as a salad bar and make future plantings (trees, etc.) even more difficult.
Other challenges: no water on site at this time (though municipal water may be an option in the future) and I won't be able to visit the lot and manage it frequently.
I'm thinking that some swale-digging/terracing will be a good start towards fertility, but will cover cropping these earthworks be worthwhile? And how far into the rainy season should I broadcast seed if I want it to germinate solely by rainfall?
Quite new to this, any advice is appreciated, thanks.