All the work that Dan has done to help with drainage seems to be paying off. We are continuing to have excessive rain, but as time goes by, more and more of the pasture area is usable, i.e., you can walk without sinking halfway to your knees! Our little ‘farm road,’ which is the road that’s been created from the driveway down to the pasture is now relatively solid, despite all the rain, as is also the yard area around it. The main gate to our pasture, near the barn, stays dry as well. Parts of this pasture and the swale itself still get quite mucky and slippery, but they too are drying out sooner and sooner.
So with this relative good luck, this past weekend we decided to seed the pasture. There are shoots of green grass sprouting up here and there, but we need to speed up this process pronto. Dan lightly rototilled on one side of the swale, and lightly tilled with the york rake on the other side of the swale. This is to test which method will seed faster! We’ve never been much into building lawns; we’ve always prefer to just rototill up the grass and plant more perennials. So it’s rather ironic for us to be out there with our teeny little lawn seed spreader, walking back and forth spreading seed. Much alpaca information will say that brome grass is best. We decided on a simple ‘horse pasture blend’ of grasses. This blend was closer to the native grasses that grow here naturally. Once the pasture is well grassed, we plan to regularly overseed with brome grass in spring and/or fall. After we seeded, that night we found ourselves in the unlikely position of actually hoping for a light rain! And it did rain, lightly, just perfectly! We then spread out mulch hay to protect the seed from hot sun and keep the moisture in. There is also a perfect forecast for the next several days: sunny, warm but not hot, dry air, and no rain.
An added benefit to the mulch hay is that there are plenty of grass seeds in it. One tack supplier we recently spoke with said that all she did was spread out mulch hay – no seed – and her pasture came in beautifully! We have our fingers crossed for the same good luck.