Friday, September 14, 2007

The Pasture

In order to prepare for getting alpacas, we will need a barn and pasture.

This is a picture of our barn and pasture. At the time this picture was taken, we had started clearing the pasture area. While it looks like there is a lot of grass, there really isn't that much. Most of what is green are weeds that we need to pull up. The barn and pasture at one point belonged to a horse, but it has been about 6 years since the horse was there. A lot of plants had started to grow in that time!
We had to clear out all the weeds, wild blackberries, wild black rasberries, ferns, and small oak trees. Our time table was to get this done before early September so that we can plant grass. Grass needs to be planted in late August to early September so that it can have at least six weeks before a good frost (in the 20's). Since we tend to get frost earlier than other areas in our zone, we want to get the grass in as soon as possible.
After we cleared the land of weeds and small trees, then we could prepare the soil. First J rented a rottotillar to turn up the ground. We hope that will help destroy the roots of the weeds (especially the ferns). We hope anyway! What a difference that made, the pasture area started to look like a pasture. The next step was to sprinkle lime all over the ground because our soil is very acidic. The lime helps neutralize the soil so that the grass will grow. We also put down fertilizer. The ground does have a layer of soil, but underneath that is sand (since we live in Michigan, the soil here if very sandy) so the fertilizer will help. The next phase is called "dragging" (at least that's what J calls it). He tooks a riding lawnmower, then tied a piece of fence to the back of it, and put weights on the fence, then rode all over the pasture in this. The fence dragging behind the mower smoothed out the ground and mixed the dirt with the lime and fertilizer. Then it was time to water and let the lime and fertilizer settle in. A few days later it was time for grass seed. Then water, water and more water.

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