spend a lot of time reading up on homesteading topics over the winter,
and this year I fell in love with buckwheat in the abstract. But
as I experiment with the crop in real life, the scales are falling from
my eyes. In our vegetable garden, buckwheat
failed as a cover crop
in our dense clay soil, and I’m not all that impressed with its
progress in the grain
half of the chicken pasture either.
I opted not to irrigate
in the forest pasture despite a moderately dry summer since I want to
eventually grow trouble-free crops that can be planted and then
forgotten about. The buckwheat doesn’t enjoy this decision —
every afternoon the plants wilt and look very sad. They bounce
back overnight, but the chicken pasture buckwheat’s growth is slower
than that of the later-planted buckwheat in the irrigated garden, even
though the chicken pasture soil is a well-drained loam enriched with
copious chicken manure.
Unfortunately, our old
field corn seed didn’t even come up, so our droopy buckwheat and some
beans are the only plants currently growing in the grain paddock.
In retrospect, I wish I’d planted the whole area with oilseed
sunflowers — next
waterer is a great
addition to any pasture, coop, or tractor.
http://ecosystemstewardship.blogspot.com/2011/09/from-pasture-to-corn-via-chickens-and.html A nice experiment to clean a place from sod to corn passing by chicken & rapeseed (can help if you want to direct seed it without working the soil)
http://www.extension.org/pages/18570/hairy-vetch-for-cover-cropping-in-organic-farming A nice review around covercroping
also with a mix of scatter & mow, herd effect, around the idea of pasture cropping experiment it would be something to do!
Like: Scatter seeds/ seedballs into tall pasture, weeds, before a good rain, then:
or mow on top, before or after the rain/ the sprouting, preferably in a moment that all the pasture’energy is out, (descending moon, in flower if i remember good) to tired it a bit and have a richer mulch
or ask to the neightbours for cow/horse/donkey/geeses close grazing and good seed-to-soil contact..
Something like this.
Then, scatter new seed mix before the coming harvest, harvest it, then ask again the neightbours..
Its just a dream for the moment and i dont know how could it be possible to rotate chickens with cereals without to work the soil and without the chickens eating all..
but we have a good growth of rye simply hand scattered into the clover and its encouraging..!