Soil management and improvement – part 3

With the lime down a few weeks ago and lots of rain and lots of sunshine, the grass and weeds have been growing strongly. I’ve already run the lawn tractor around a couple of times. The weeds had to be dealt with in order to give the new grass seeds a fighting chance and all that fertilizer needed spreading.

We don’t have a tractor and the jury is still out on buying or renting. One of the main issues is that our place is small and most agricultural contractors don’t have the compact equipment. Fortunately our friends at Turner Feed & Seed recommended a guy with a small place of his own that would be a useful contact. I called Johnny and he came around the property with me and discussed what we are trying to achieve. As it happens, Johnny looks after the pastures for our neighbor. All we needed was a dry weekend with light rain forecast just after. …… and we waited, and waited and …….

Eventually the weather was right and Johnny came along with all the equipment and supplies to spay weed killer, aerate, over-seed and then spread the fertilizer.

Johnny gets the booms lowered and I'm on gate duty

Johnny gets the booms lowered and I’m on gate duty

Now that’s a nice little tractor. I have to say that I’m quite tempted.

Aerating the pasture

Aerating the pasture

Because pretty much all our pasture is on a slope, it is very important to minimise the opportunity for soil erosion. In an ideal world we would like to have over seeded with a “no till seed drill” but they only work effectively on flat ground. We have far too many lumps and bumps. As the next best option we chose to texture to ground a little with a big aeration roller and the broadcast the seed.

Overseeding

Over-seeding

Johnny then used the same spreader to put out the fertilizer.

In some areas , mainly around gates and the top fence, there is very little existing grass. In order to stop the seed being washed away by the first heavy rain, I spread straw as a mulch. This will also help retain moisture.

Mulching the pasture

Mulching the pasture

Of course it didn’t take long before the chickens wanted to see what was going on and what they had missed under that straw. I do hope they don’t eat all the seed.

Rodger comes to see what's going on

Rodger comes to see what’s going on