These might need special care to establish, for instance you might need to scalp a portion of the pasture, fence it, and seed heavily with the natives, removing the fence once they're established (possibly as long as a year after seeding).
We've only been able to establish natives by taking this kind of extra trouble.
If we seed over-top our current pasture, will they not grow with the rest or will the current pasture out-compete?
Seeding little patches also makes the project more affordable, because dang those native seeds are expensive!
It is a pretty common practice and a lot of information can be found on it on the internet of course. It may or may not be something you are interested in.
Just do your research well. Frost seeding is specific to certain grass varieties while sheep are pretty picky in what they eat.
Of course native plants will be much different where you are!
My husband thinks I'm dreaming to believe we'll ever be able to remove the fencing. We're trying to design fencing that isn't too visually intrusive, using concrete reinforcing wire.
1. Use chickens to clear patch of dirt
2. Re-seed as necessary
3. Keep that fenced out until patch is established
4. Re-peat until complete
Is that correct?
You could try this: http://learningstore.uwex.edu/assets/pdfs/A3715.pdf
Joe Paul wrote:Hi all, we currently have a pasture already sown with seeds for sheep/cattle (plantains and rye grasses) and are grazing sheep, cattle, pigs, and geese on this successfully. We wanted to explore the possibility of adding a lot more diversity to the pasture to make it more sustainable and offer a wider range of grazing for all these animals - how does one go about doing that? Do you just sow over-top and hope the additional seeds will take root? Is there a certain list of seeds one should consider when starting to make such a transition?
Both need adjusted to your local conditions, but there are resources available to help you. Probably the best is
How do you find your sheep to take to the native grasses you have planted?
I certainly would not say I have gone to the depths you have in growing native species, but a local NRCS Conservationist created a special blend for our area and despite intensive sheep studies on the contrary, I have found with rotational grazing the sheep graze it just as well. It is the one thing I love about Permiculture Living: observation beats detailed analysis every time. Paralysis by Analysis I call it. I am not sure I am getting my lambs to ideal weight in the least amount of days, but then again I am not fighting nature either. That is worth something!
The native grasses were here originally, except for those Eastern Gamagrass clumps which I grew from seed. I plan to transplant more of those out into the meadows once I have a larger population of plants. The sheep eat the native grass but they really prefer to browse shrubs and trees. We have to keep an eye on them because when they get bored with the grass they'll pick some innocent tree to eat, and have killed many. Another purpose of all the darn fencing is to give more trees a chance to grow.
I think managed intensive grazing could benefit our place, but I don't have the personal resources to set it up.
That was how I got started in sheep farming. My wife insisted that if we get livestock again, she had to have a pet sheep like she did when she was a kid. I looked into the cost of fencing one silly sheep and then started researching the marketability of sheep instead of beef cows. After that, sheep only made sense, but man is the cost of sheep fencing expensive. I typically say bad words when putting it up, however I try to keep in mind that once done, it is a 30 year fence and try to take stock in that.
When I first started raising sheep I tried so hard to install fencing that worked and yet was easily removable to aid in rotational grazing, but nothing worked. The NRCS asked what I did to keep them in check and I said, "Nothing, I can't keep them in so now they have free range of the whole farm." (My farm is situated kind of funny so that all of my fields are located well away from any roads.) They said, "You can't do that", to which I said, "Then you get me the fence to keep them in", and so they did! I have added on plenty of fence since then, but honestly it was a huge help in getting started.