March 13, 2017

More Winter Projects: Pasture and Grain

Last time I showed you my latest hedgerow project; this post I'll show you our other outdoor winter projects - pasture and grain-growing.

We live in a mild enough climate so that most winters we can have winter pasture as well as summer forage. Last summer was so hot and dry, however, that I was late in planting. I like to plant cool weather forage in September and October, but I postponed planting until the rains started to come.

You might recall this photo from a post at the end of last December.

We've had enough rainfall and mild days to get good growth.

Here it is just before I turn the girls and kids in there. Goats must be
introduced to fresh new pasture slowly to let their rumens to adjust.

I also planted two areas for the bucks.

This is a deer and turkey forage mix of wheat, oats,
and winter peas from the feed store, just starting to grow.

Do you see how the grass is growing in rows?

A closer view.

Dan disced, but it should have been leveled too, so that all the seed didn't roll into the little furrows.

If the soil is bare then I just toss the seed directly onto the ground. This is good for spot seeding and also larger areas. I plan the plantings for when I need to muck out the barn. We don't have a seed drill so I hand broadcast it and if I can, cover it with barn cleanings.

Deer forage mix seed broadcast and lightly mulched
 with straw, hay, & manure from the goat barns.

The straw and hay from the barn covers the seed and the manure helps it decompose plus adds nitrogen to the soil.

After a couple of rains these seeds are sprouting and grass is growing.

A picture like this always looks so pretty to me!

On to grain. Every year we try to plant about a quarter-acre of field corn. This year we're moving that location to a spot that is not prone to blackberries and morning glories. Dan prepped the soil and I planted with the same pasture seed as a green manure crop.

Sprouting wheat, peas, and oats will become green manure.

Green manure is a cover crop that is tilled into the soil while it is still young and green. It adds both nitrogen and organic matter to the soil.

Our winter wheat is coming along as well.

Right now it just looks like grass, but soon it will begin to grow.

It's called winter wheat because it's planted in the fall and harvested in spring. Summer wheat is planted in spring for a summer harvest. Once it's harvested I'll plant it back to pasture.

So those have been my outdoor projects this winter, and as a result the place is greening up nicely. No complaints about that. 😄

24 comments:

Rain said...

Hi Leigh! Wonderful projects!!! I love the idea of the pasture growing. Everything looks so fresh and green, I'm envious!!! :)

Little Homestead In Boise said...

Looks great!

Seeking Serenity said...

mmmm! I always have to nibble on those tender baby sprouts

Gill - That British Woman said...

you have a lot going on at the moment.......

Leigh said...

Rain, we're fortunate to have mild enough winters to have something growing green all year long. On the other hand our summers can be way too hot!

Leigh said...

Thanks!

Leigh said...

It's wonderful having fresh greens. In the pasture for the goats, and in the hoop house for us. :)

Leigh said...

Moreso than usual this time of year. I figure I'd better take advantage of good weather though. :)

Chris said...

Having green grass is such a treat! I hope the rain doesn't stay away too long, so you can have more of it.

KathyB. said...

I found this very interesting. We just recently moved to a place where we have acres of hayfields and woods. We also like to provide forage for the wild turkeys , pheasants, quail, and deer that are abundant on our property, plus grow enough nutritious hay to feed our sheep. It looks like you've done the research that provides info to grow what you need there , and also give me some food for thought regarding our place. Blessings !

nvater said...

How do you introduce goats slowly to new pasture?

Leigh said...

I can honestly see why people would like to control the weather - for exactly this kind of thing or for whatever activity or projects they had planned. I'm sure, however, we'd all want different things at different times and be arguing over it constantly, LOL

Leigh said...

Kathy! Good to hear from you! You've moved? Acres of hayfields and woods would be such a blessing! You're right that you have to adapt to your location and particular piece of property, but it's worth the experimentation to figure it out (something I'm still working on!)

Leigh said...

That's an excellent question. I usually start by adding a handful or two of fresh grass to their feed ration. Then I let them in the new pasture for about 15 minutes before they get their grain, and gradually increase the time every couple of days or so. The microorganisms in their rumens have to adjust to the change in diet, or they can get bloat (worst case) or soft droppings at the very least. If you know goats then you know they are nutty for grain, so they will always come for that.

Renee Nefe said...

We've had a really mild winter so far this year. March is usually our worst and we've only seen a bit so far. I don't dare try to take advantage of it though because as sure as I plant we'll get blasted. No snow means it's really dry out, we've been issued fire bans twice so far...and last night I smelled smoke. :(

Sam I Am...... said...

I keep hoping my acreage will come about. I've found a place but now I need to sell this place. I pay attention to all you do and I've learned so much...now if I can just remember it all when the time comes! LOL! Your 'green' looks good!

Leigh said...

Dry conditions and smoke, oh no. I feel so fortunate we've been getting nice rainfall. March is only half over, so maybe you'll get some good precip after all. One can hope!

Leigh said...

Thanks! It's so much trial and error to learn what grows best on one's particular piece of property and how best to grow it. Then there's the weather! Still, I wouldn't trade it for anything and am glad you're heading in the same direction.

Farmer Barb said...

Jealous. We had a little taste of Spring and now we just got 11" of snow to wash it down...

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

Yes, it is looking nice and green! At the present time I am looking out at snow in my courtyard! Ugh! Do you sleep much at night? Seems like you have more hours in the day than I do!! Nancy

Sandy said...

Leigh,

Your winter wheat is coming up nicely :-)
Good think you have the perfect weather for planting.

Leigh said...

Oh dear, I got behind in my comment replies. 11" of snow! Yikes. I know you must be so looking forward to nicer weather.

Leigh said...

Snow for you too! We had a sprinkling this month but that's about it.

I have to admit that I've been slowing down as I get older. I almost feel guilty about it, but I figure there's no way to get it all done anyway, so don't sweat it! I do love being able to be outdoors and active though. :)

Leigh said...

Sandy, I've really been thankful for that because last summer and fall we had terrible planting weather. I have to admit that it's discouraging to put in a lot of work only to have the weather undermine it, but this is the life we chose and that's one of the realities. (That said, I wouldn't trade it!)