Collecting pasture seeds with a mulching mower

DIY pasture seedsRemember how I told you that the
broilers had scratched lots of bare spots in the sloped powerline cut
?  After
moving those chickens out of the pasture for the last time, I wanted to
seed the bare ground with pasture-type plants, but I didn’t have any
seeds on hand and didn’t want to go to the store.

As I pondered, it
occurred to me that our “lawn” was chock full of white clover and
broadleaf plantain seed heads since a drought had kept the weeds from
growing tall and we hadn’t been forced to mow in several weeks. 
(As the quotation marks around “lawn” suggest, we don’t keep up our
short grass expanses for aesthetics, just for utility, so if it doesn’t
rain, we don’t mow.)  What if I ran the
mulching mower over that seedy area,
allowed the leaf matter and seeds to collect in the bag, and then
spread the result on the bare spots in the pasture?

Mulching mowerA friend of Mark’s has used
this same technique to harvest shirley poppy seeds from a large
planting, so I knew the idea had merit.  And the harvest and
spreading went without a hitch.  However, that pasture didn’t get
the three fallow months I was counting on, and
displaced hens
short work of any seedlings.

Even though this
particular iteration of the experiment didn’t precisely work, I suspect
the idea has merit and wanted to share it.  The good thing about
harvesting your own pasture seeds is that you’re bound to be planting
varieties adapted to your local conditions, and you can also turn your
pasture into an
herbal ley by capturing mixtures of
chicken-friendly plants rather than just grass and clover.  Maybe
next time I’ll spread the mulching mower contents out on a tarp to dry
in the sun, then store it for fall so I can put the seeds on pastures
that definitely won’t be messed with until spring.

Our chicken waterer never spills in coops,
tractors, or pastures.

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