Monday, April 8, 2013

Starting a Hay Field

We have now owned our property for a little over a year.  Those of you that have been reading for a while may recall the roller coaster ride that was finding and buying this place.  The people who had rented it for the last several years had NOT taken care of it.  Trash everywhere, house needed completely remodeled, fences in need of repair, and overall lack of care and maintenance.

Although we have worked very hard to make improvements, we still have a long ways to go.  Picking up trash is a big thing.  I can walk around and fill a large empty dog food bag.  Two days later, I can fill one again going over the same places.  Junk just keeps coming out of the ground.  It's mostly small broken pieces of plastic, wire, baling twine, etc.  Years of "it's not my property, I don't care" makes me very mad.

Another improvement we will be working on this summer is the pasture.  The plan is to focus on one section at a time.  The first part will become our hay field.

Step One:  Remove trash... check.
Step Two:  Use a drag to loosen rocks to be removed... check.
Step Three:  Rent brush hog to cut grass then drag again.  (in the works for this week)
Step Four:  I'm not really sure yet what our next step should be.  The ground isn't ready for alfalfa and there are still quite a few unwanted grasses.  I'm thinking that we might plant a timothy/clover mix to add to the soil. 

Everything I read about starting a pasture includes chemicals, burning, or tilling.  While I'm not against initially tilling up the ground to plant seed, we don't have a tiller.  Dragging it seems like it may break the soil enough.

Just another lesson in homesteading.  We are learning by trial and error.

Now I'll leave you with this cute picture.  My son John told us that he was in jail today.  I would love to know where he picked this up from.


  1. Look into a no-till drill. It plants seeds without disrupting the ground as much.

  2. Love this! It is so exciting to think about having land.. I can't wait! Love your blog!

  3. Here in Kansas - it is best to test soil for ph - you need around 6-7 ph for growing brome grass - you also need to know the nitrogen and phosphorus and potash which will also be told in the soil test -you can get a soil test at the county extension agent - for agriculture - he will also advice you on the amounts of n-p- k you need per acre. the nitrogen makes the the top grow the phosphorus and potash are needed for the roots!! and when you are starting a grass - the roots are actually the most important!! a lot of people start - with a mother crop - here it is good to plant grass like brome or fescue or timothy in the late summer!! a lot of times it is best to prepare the ground to plant wheat and interseed brome or whatever grass you want in with it!! you might want to block every other hole on your drill so the wheat isn't as thick as normal . The way I do it it - is to prepare the soil Plow - disk and harrow - the go get proper blend of fertilizer and have it mixed into the fertilizer - you can broadcast the grass seed with the fertilizer - BUT I go over the field 2 times in 2 directions - since the grass seed wont spread as far as th fertilizer pellets - so spread 1/2 the amount of fertizer going 1 direction and the go in opposite direction or at 90 degrees - by spreading 1/2 the fertilizer 2 times that should make 100% !!Anyway after you spread the fertilizer come back with drill and drill your wheat into the field for a mother crop !! and then wait for rain - here in Kansas - mid September is a good time to plant grass seed and wheat . I should have said - if your ph is way off - you should spread your lime or whatever is needed to correct PH before you work the ground!!

  4. If you don't want to work soil - you can plant red clover in late winter - the clover seed can also be spread with the fertilizer - it is best to spread in late winter while the ground is still freezing and thawing - this will work the seed into the ground and allow it to have enough cover to germinate . Clover needs more phosphorus and potash to grow - less nitrogen - and the clover will produce some nitrogen since it is a legume - it is better to inoculate the clover to make it produce more nodules to produce more nitrogen .


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