Since we didn’t want to till up our ground and hurt the existing grass, I decided to experiment with over-sowing pasture with cool-season forage. Thus far, the results have been very encouraging.
We sowed by hand, then dragged the pasture by hooking up a “drag harrow” to our zero-turn mower, then mowed the grass high so the clippings and shredded leaves would give the new seeds a little cover.
It’s important to do this before a good rain event. I finished sowing and mowing about a half-hour before we got a couple inches of rain. Perfect timing!
It’s also important to plant the right seeds in the right season. As the summer grass is dying down for the winter, we’re switching to cool-season forage plants, over-sowing with a mix of winter peas, winter rye grass, grain rye, oats, red and white clover, Austrian winter peas, turnips and daikons. The existing grass isn’t providing much competition right now as it’s dormant.
Anyhow – check out the video and you can see some results, plus how we’re moving cows from pasture to pasture. You’ll also see how cows are actually helping us seed, by sending seeds through in their manure.
I have a feeling this pasture-building method could also work in the garden, where you simply over-sow a new crop at the right time to take over from a previous season’s plants.