In previous years,
I’ve written that cutting
back the woody plants and tall, perennial herbs at least once a
year provides sun on the ground for tender, chicken-friendly
plants to grow.
But this was the first year I figured out how that weed-whacking
fits into an interconnected permaculture farm.
I usually wait
until I can’t stand the weeds before hitting them, but this year, we had some
deer damage near the weediest pasture at the very beginning of
July. It occurred to me that tall weeds nearby made the deer
feel safer about moving into the garden to eat my strawberries and
apple trees, so I started cutting the pasture weeds.
While I was cutting
down weeds, I realized that the nearby blueberry patch has been
suffering all summer from lack of mulch. I needed something
moderately high in carbon to promote
the soil fungi that woody perennials love, but not so high in
carbon that it would suck nitrogen away from plants ripening up
fruits. Wait a minute — those weeds I was cutting in the
pasture were the perfect solution!
In fact, I’d cut
similar weeds out of the woods the summer before for mulching
that garden spot had done extremely well. I just wasn’t
putting two and two together and realizing that I had an even
better weed source right beside the garden in the form of the
pastures. When I can kill three birds with one stone (deer
deterring, pasture improvement, and berry mulching), things get
done much more quickly!
I figure this pasture
might need its weeds cut one more time before small perennials
take over, but I won’t be sad when the mulch source runs
dry. After all, there’s always the new pastures around the coop-in-progress to renovate….
pastures since it never spills on uneven ground.