Saturday, January 18, 2020

Train Your Horse from the Ground Up. Build Your Pastures From the Ground Down.

Yesterday was a big day for our program. Today will be even bigger and it is days like yesterday and today that will give us tomorrows.

In a miserable wind yesterday,several families of kids spent the morning developing a new vermiculture site for the program. We used horse manure, poultry manure, rabbit manure, some old hay, and "wild" worms that are living in the soil here at the horse lot. We experimented by adding some commercial organic microbes to the mixture along with a bit of vermicompost from our largest worm program.

There will not be a lot happening until spring when the microbes are warm enough to take off growing, but then the mixture will quickly be converted to the "starter batch" that helps increase the amount of microbes in our pastures.

These microbes will fight soil compaction in the pastures. The best way that we can reduce soil compaction is to reduce the number of animal units per acre. That means either fewer animals or more land.

We opt for more land. 

Toward that end we are converting about fifteen acres of mixed forest into silvopasture. The land has not been cut since at least 1970. I am removing nearly everything but for large pines and some select large  hardwoods.  Looking to leave about 75 trees to the acre. In the process I am removing many thousands of wild blue berry shrubs that will sprout out in the spring providing additional forage.

For the first year we might have to simply allow the native grasses in the seed bank to take root but eventually it will be a strong mixture of wild life friendly grasses and forbs. The brush is being piled into lengthy brush piles for wild life habitat.

Today area Scouts will be out helping our program participants build that wild life habitat. In an hour the sun will be up enough for me to resume cutting.

We will be taking before and after pictures from today's efforts.

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