Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Frost seeding

There is one good thing about the freezing temps at night in late March: frost seeding.

Yes, we're skeptical, too. But it's worth a try if you don't have the equipment or power to till a field to turn it into pasture.

Jason and his hand-cranked seed spreader
What you need: green manure seeds to blanket your field and a stretch of days with freezing temps at night and above freezing during the days. We chose red and white clover as our green manure seeds because they are perennials and provide important nutrients to the soil. Jason got up early one morning (when the ground was still frozen), filled his hand-cranked seed spreader, and went forth to prosper our pasture!

The idea behind frost seeding is to let the ground do the tilling work for you: as it freezes, there are cracks in the soil where seeds (the smaller the better) can get through... as it thaws, the seed gets worked into the soil, safe from birds and with plenty of water to help it germinate. A few days of this freeze/thaw cycle is best to make sure the majority of your seeds have been worked in. And that's it. Then you wait for spring to see if it comes up.

So... we wait.

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