Today we had a special visitor, Dave from the East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District. He came out to do a site visit, which is a free service this government organization offers.
Our main goal was to gather information on how to manage our land with our farming goals. The main problem we have is mud and lack of pasture grass. We learned a few things we already knew, our lot is heavily wooded and we have not enough established grass in place. It was one drawback we knew when buying our country place, as we decided it is easier to remove a few tall trees than to plant short ones and wait for them to grow.
We love our woods and want to keep it. But, it does mean we need to come up with some solutions for our animal pens. Our take-a-ways from this site visit include:
- We need to create a sacrifice area for the horses. This would be a large pen where they can be out of the mud, but that won’t be the pasture. A sacrifice pen would have sand footing and be the place where the heavy hoofs stay until the ground is drier.
- We need to amend our pasture’s soil. Add lime and fertilizer.
- The weeds need to die. Unfortunately, we need to get brave and use a broadleaf chemical weed killer. This is not ideal, but hopefully, we can kill off the weeds enough that longer term, we can be herbicide and weed free.
- The grass needs to be re-seeded, heavily. We are supposed to overseed the entire pasture with a pasture-mix seed blend. Then overseed again in the shady areas with a shade blend.
- The goats need a separate pen. Ideally, we would create a small pen just for the goats within the pasture. We can turn them out more often than the horses (as they are not as hard on the soil) but when the grass is young and the ground is wet, we will need them to stay off it.
Our tentative plan is to start this process this June. The ground will be drier so we can get a tractor back there to scrap off the mud and add the sand. We hope to do two seedings, one in the spring and a backup next fall. More to come on this project for sure!