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Seeding through mulch  RSS feed

 
pollinator
Posts: 650
Location: northwest Missouri, USA
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Need some quick ideas ...

I have 12 acres of pasture that is doing really well except for a lower area that gets soggy in the rain. That area, about 3 acres, has been a boon for curly dock. My plan has been to cut it down to help other things out compete it and seed it with Japanese millet and buckwheat now and some cereal rye in the fall. So, I brush hogged it all down last weekend and it created a pretty good mat of mulch. However, I currently only have a 3-point broadcast seeder available to me. Any creative ways to get the seed down in the mulch to make reasonable seed-to-soil contact? I don't have a drill or I'd simply use that. I'm open to getting creative. I don't have any grazing livestock to put in there as I don't have any perimeter fencing in this area.

Help!
 
Posts: 210
Location: SE Oklahoma
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Dan Grubbs wrote: Any creative ways to get the seed down in the mulch to make reasonable seed-to-soil contact?

Help!



Drive a vehicle over it? Invite some horsey friends to ride over the area and trample it for you?
 
Posts: 514
Location: North-Central Idaho, 4100 ft elev., 24 in precip
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Put some chains on your tractor and drive in reverse over the the area as you're broadcasting, zig-zaging as you go to get something like even coverage and contact......solar fence charger, some poly line, and rent a few cows for a week or two......sometimes the NRCS guys have or know somebody with a pasture drill you could rent or hire out.....scrape the "mulch" layer off, spread the seed, then re-spread the mulch.....or jsut spread the seed and hope for the best!
 
gardener
Posts: 1884
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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Interesting question.

The buckwheat and millet seeds are pretty big,but I don't know about the rye.  If the dock is pretty well pulverized but not stuck together, then the bigger seeds should settle down through the mulch. "should", that's conjecture, I have no experience on it, but I do think the size of fragments of the plant material is a variable to consider, and how matted together is it.  When cut was it wet enough to make a kind of "paper", or  did it stay fragmented.

If it's not the kind of chopped fragments that will allow the seeds to drop through, you might need to do something about it.  Dragging the chain might disturb the mulch enough to let the seeds through.  If you want animal hooves to push it through the mulch, the ground beneath might need to be semi soft,soft enough that their hooves sink in a bit.

I suppose it is too large an area to rake?

Probably you will get higher percent germination if you do something to get the seeds down through the mat,but if you have more money than time, you could just buy a lot of seed and hope some of it makes it.
 
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I usually direct seed mulch but I'm smaller and go back with a rake. I've seen all sorts of things just dragged behind, like a pallet with rocks, a chain link gate, a few heavier logs, pick something heavy that'll mix things up. Of course if you have disks you could just till the field.

If you could keep the birds off your field it would probably be fine to broadcast and hope for best.

What was wrong with the dock? You could have just taken that to market...
 
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Some might take exception to this idea but the best thing to do if possible is to let the stuff that was cut dry out and then see if you can burn it off...Then seed.  I cleared about 5 acres of brush recently by chopping it down by hand and with a bush-hog.  A week later I was able to burn it all off.  The absolute best consequence of this is that it actually killed off many of the plants that had been cut down there and kept them from resprouting.   Of course,..  be careful to contain the fire. Pay attention to wind and moisture levels and make sure it doesn't get away from you...  Also be careful to keep the fires away from trees that you don't want to damage...  (it doesn't take much heat around the base of their trunks to seriously injure and ultimately kill hardwood trees) One of the best tools for controlling fires  is what I call a "flapper".., I made one from a 2' by 2' piece of conveyer belt attached to the end of a pole.   My son visited me yesterday and commented on how beautiful the converted area turned out to be..   No more tangled thicket,..'
 
Joe Wamsley
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Could you post a photo or description of flapper? Are you just smacking the started fire down with a heavy piece of rubber?

I just became aware of flame weeding and I am really interested in the process.
 
Posts: 19
Location: London, England
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I've tried carelessly scattering a variety of seeds over mulch with very little success - except buckwheat, which took quite well. Have you tried just casting them over the mulch? My situation was a cool English autumn and a mulch of old leaves (mostly about 1 year old). The winter weather soon killed of the buckwheat, by the way, but the germination rate was good.
 
gardener
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Dan Grubbs wrote:Need some quick ideas ...

I have 12 acres of pasture that is doing really well except for a lower area that gets soggy in the rain. That area, about 3 acres, has been a boon for curly dock. My plan has been to cut it down to help other things out compete it and seed it with Japanese millet and buckwheat now and some cereal rye in the fall. So, I brush hogged it all down last weekend and it created a pretty good mat of mulch. However, I currently only have a 3-point broadcast seeder available to me. Any creative ways to get the seed down in the mulch to make reasonable seed-to-soil contact? I don't have a drill or I'd simply use that. I'm open to getting creative. I don't have any grazing livestock to put in there as I don't have any perimeter fencing in this area.

Help!



So you are planning to seed now? If you are waiting till fall, most of the mulch layer will be ready to accept seeds and the seeds you mention will most likely sprout well by just broadcasting with your seeder.

Don't make it harder on you than it needs to be.
 
Posts: 67
Location: Northern Tablelands, NSW, Australia
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I'd spread the seed and drag a chain over it. When doing this kind of thing we've had reasonable success by broadcasting first, then slashing the pasture. The slashing process knocks a reasonable amount of the broadcast seed down to soil level. Of course, it's too late to do this in your case, but maybe keep it in mind for next time.
 
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