Building Up Our Pasture Land
Our land was a hay field until it was subdivided off of the main farm in the mid 1970's. Once it was subdivided, the land was left to the forces of nature for the last forty plus years.
As you can imagine, the property was entirely overgrown with weeds, poison oak and poison ivy, bittersweet, strangle vines, brambles and Elm Trees, Cedar Trees, Autumn Olives, Black Cherry trees, a few large Oak Trees, some Black Walnut and Hickory Trees and a few others.
The property has been a challenge to eradicate some of the more invasive plants because we will not use any commercial sprays or chemicals on our property. We have dragged the property, used a torch, pulled the offending plants out by the roots, used a homemade weed killer that works really well, (recipe here), and have let the goats and chickens try to hinder their growth. Some plants have succumbed but other plants like the blackberry, brambles, bittersweet and deadly nightshade have persisted.
Although very time consuming, at least for the deadly nightshade plants, pulling those plants out by their roots seems to be the best way to eradicate that plant from our property and especially our pasture land. I am not exaggerating when I say there were hundreds of these plants growing on our property. Every year I pull every plant I see, put it inside of a plastic bag and send it to the landfill.
We scraped, raked and reseeded the bucks new pasture area alongside the barn with a pasture seed mix. Originally we regraded the area and torched the ground to help kill any undesirable weed seeds before reseeding the area.
One thing I've noticed in the pasture is the goats avoid eating any plants around a deadly nightshade plant that is growing. When I see an area that has a few plants growing that seem a little larger than the rest, I investigate and sure enough, there will be a deadly nightshade plant growing in that little patch of uneaten pasture.
Hopefully we're close to having this plant out of our pastures and hopefully in time, no longer on our property!
We are looking at starting our own hay field that would be about two aces for hay to help feed our animals and lower the cost of their feed next year.
One thing's for certain, when it comes to building a new homestead from scratch, it takes a lot of time, planning, research, labor and money depending on the item or thing you need.