X3^^ I have one spot I’m thinking of trying it this year as well. RIT is a big no-till advocate. From some of the pics he’s posted, he’s had pretty good success with it, too. Hopefully, he’ll post on here.
Not the best results the few times I've tried it. Germination was spotty at best. The top surface of the soil usually stays too dry in late summer here in Indiana. My guess if it rained every 2-3 days for about 3 weeks, it might work. But in August that's rare. I think the few seeds that happen to fall into cracks in the soil are the only ones that came up. I've heard the notion of planting into standing soybeans just before leaf drop as a way to get better germination. My process now is till, broadcast and culti-pack. Pretty much guarantees a good stand. But if I had a no-till drill, I'd do it that way for sure.
What is planted or growing there now? Hopefully 3’ tall weeds or some kind of vegetation.
I would also considering planting something other than a monoculture. That way if you happen to have challenging conditions it’s not a waste. Ideally you would be planting into last years WR and clover.
Let me know what the soil conditions are now and we can come up with something that will work for you.
The ideal here is to broadcast the brassicas into standing vegetation and mow the vegetation down over the seed. You will have a layer of thatch cover the seed that will conserve moisture. Some choose not to mow but rather roll over the thatch with a cultipacker.
What are your soil conditions? This is a long term process that will improve soil. I would add other brassicas to the mix and also some clover. You could go straight brassicas and then frost seed a medium red but I generally sow clover into almost any plots that I plant. A month or so after the brassicas are establish you can then broadcast Winter Rye over the entire plot for even more food and late season attractant.
You have already sprayed. I spray sometimes but it’s not necessary unless you get a really noxious weed. One thing that is necessary though with this method is to become more tolerant of what farmers call weeds. These picture perfect foodplots are great but not necessary. So called weeds are readily browsed by deer. Pokeberry, ragweed, lambsquarter, and beggars lice are heavily browsed on my place.
I will pull up some photos of what I will be broadcasting into a few weeks from now and you can determine how to proceed on your place.
The following year you can add things like buckwheat into the standing Winter Rye or you can let the winter rye self terminate and get free seed.
You will need to work on that PH. You have already sprayed the area and weed season is winding down. It’s more of a judgement call at this point. A lot of throw and mow comes down to timing.
I don’t plant my WR until Labor Day because I have the invasive buckthorn and it can cause issues with WR if it is planted too soon. By September there aren’t many weeds actively growing. Most are going to seed or have gone to seed. But if you have a noxious weed or a bunch that are of no benefit by all means spray away.
Pictures 1 and 2 are part of a 9 acre destination field. I only plant about 2 1/2 acres. The rest is switchgrass, fruit trees, and road screens.
3/4 of an acre is in a perennial clover mix. The areas I plant will be divided into 2 large strips.
The first will be Winter Rye, Barley, Winter Wheat, Survivor Winter Peas, Radish, and Medium Red Clover.
The 2nd will be Medium Red Clover, Crimson Clover, Winfred Brassica, Radish, Kale, Rutabaga, and turnips. This section will be overseeded with Winter Rye just after Labor Day. I’ll rotate these two sections each year. If weather permits the Grain section will get a summer plot of crimson clover, sunflower, buckwheat, Field Peas, Sunn Hemp, berseem clover and millet.
RIT, that’s a lot of good info... thanks! I planted my three 1 acre plots last weekend. One new plot I did no till with tillage radishes, clover and turnips in different sections of the plot. It’ll be interesting on how it turns out.
The other established plots I did not use the disc. I did use my drag to ‘scuff’ it up some and then planted.
Hunt: it depends on what you planted into and the current condition of your soil. Did you mow or roll over the vegetation? Broadcast and walk away?
The thing we have to remember is soil improvement takes time. Bio-mass or vegetation is your friend when planting like this. As that vegetation breaks down it will improve your soil from the top down. If your soil was destroyed from years of tillage and disking the first few years might not be what you expect. Throw and Mow will seem like it’s behind at first but it will end up at the same level as tillage down the road. If I were you I’d overseed with Winter Rye around Labor Day.
This is some very encouraging info!! I have one 3/4 acre plot that I call "The Cursed Ground". Nothing I've planted has grown except a couple of little patches of anemic clover and dandelions like crazy! Yet the volunteer grasses will be three feet high and thick. I killed then disced it in early July this year and then threw fall rye into it. Even that is struggling. My plan was to reseed with rye again early September then hope it looks better in the spring.
I'm in Northern BC and it's a bush plot that was logged about fifteen years ago. The PH averages about 6.5 to 7 on my little prong tester.
I push Winter Rye for soil improvement and transitioning into a no till even without a drill for many reasons. But mainly because it works and it is effective. I had to do it out of necessity. But each landowner will need to asses their situation and see what works for them. Not all soils are created equal and some need more work than others. Part of my plots are in heavy clay the other half is in rock filled very droughty dirt that I am trying to convert to soil. It’s not me saying that discing and tilling destroy soil that is just a scientific fact.
I don’t have any ice cream crops for deer but as a disclaimer I have thousands of acres of big Ag around me. In my area deer never eat my plots to the dirt yet they still have drawing power.
It is important to establish a cycle of heavy biomass so you have something to broadcast your seed into and something to lay down over your seed. Winter Rye or WR will establish almost anywhere and it’s not very picky about PH or soil nutrients. The other good thing about WR is it will help with Spring weeds.
Once you get a few good crops in you can start to add things like sunflowers and winter peas. But you have to get a good layer of thatch going first.
The thatch will conserve moisture, reduce soil temps, and protect seeds/seedlings. I am going into year 4 and I have no concerns about rain. With the approaching fall and colder night temps morning dew will be all the moisture I need to keep my plots looking great into the winter.
Ambush on your “cursed ground”. Try killing the vegetation, broadcast your WR then mow down the dead vegetation over your seed. Add clover, and tillage Radish and my money says you will have an adequate first yet plot.
You can then let the WR mature and do it all over again next fall.
Thanks RIT, I'll do exactly that! And I'll also do a couple of "extreme strips" nearby that are choked with dandelions early and thistle now. I'd really like to replace the dandelions as they are bear magnets and just a salad to have with their moose calves and deer fawns.
Troy, the stuff I planted says fall rye on the label. Store also had rye grass. I just thought I read on some ag site that the fall rye didn't head out. I'm no farmer, but looking at RIT's pics, I'm going to throw a bunch more around this early fall!
Thanks AP and T-Roy. Just trying to offer a different perspective. There are those that will disagree adamantly with the process and it’s effectiveness. But there are options for folks that don’t have big expensive equipment. Even if I had a no till drill not much would change in my planting process.
That being said I just finished placing all of my fall seed orders. My plan is to document my process and progress in this thread with plenty of photos.
I’ve really pumped up Winter Rye as a staple of this process. You can see the WR is still green whenever everything is brown as can be. This is a transition/kill plot that parallels the destination field between two bedding areas. There isn’t a better place to sit when the temps drop.
RIT- I am very intrigued by this no till rye and brassica you are doing. my land is wet/mucky from april to early june, then dries out considerably until the winter. I have had some success using a 3pt tiller and turning the plots over and then broadcasting in the rye and brassicas but I always fret about making the ground too dry as it powders up badly after I till it. currently the rye is all brown and dead with not many weeds in the plots. From what I understand, I could broadcast the brassicas the first week of august, then immediately mow the plots down on the seed. then come back mid September and spread rye? I will admit to some laziness and I usually just broadcast both at the same time in separate passes. have you noticed any less germination with the no till method?
I haven’t noticed less germination because I would seed the same rates for both methods. What you will notice is that the initial growth will appear slower. So weeks 1-4 it may look like the TNM (Throw and Mow) is a failure or you didn’t get very good germination. But the TNM method will catch up to traditional in my experience.
I would say in your situation you could compromise and plant both Mid August. (Unless you have buckthorn) I’d still overseed a second time for any spots that didn’t fill in.
One thing you will see broadcasting brassicas into last years WR is a Nitrogen issue. So there is a thing called C:N ratio. That is carbon to nitrogen ratio.
In perfectly healthy soil you are looking for 24:1 Carbon to Nitrogen ratio. That’s 24 parts Carbon for every 1 unit of Nitrogen. When that is your ratio the soil Microbes are just moving along working their magic to decompose the plant matter and turn it into usuable Organic Matter. This allows them to release the nutrients like N,P,k, and even some micronutrients like zinc back into the soil for the next crop.
Now here is the concern with mature Winter Rye. The C:N of WR straw is 80:1. Once you mow that down almost all of the available N needed to feed your Brassicas will be tied up decomposing the WR. This is why it’s always good to mix Radish and clover into your WR Mix. Ideally you would have two strips in the same plot. One would contain your grains, while the other would contain brassicas and clover. I normally like to have an abundance of N producing crops in my plot on the side that is going to get fall brassicas.
Not to go all nerd but understanding soil biology and what makes it run goes a long way in reducing inputs of time and money. When your soil is covered it reduces the effect of erosion from wind and rain, keeps the soil much cooler which stops evaporation. In your case it sounds like you need more of that. All that to say if you put brassicas into that mature rye be prepared to hit it with some nitrogen if they show signs of stress.
The brassica mixes I planted on July 23ed are showing promise. I had rotto-tilled an ten foot wide swath through the Cursed Ground and even it is looking not bad. It is super easy to see the difference in growth rate for the seed that landed in moist soil. It’s a bush plot and the big trees suck all the moisture up along the edges. I also ran a drag over the thin strip of tall clover and the new growth is nice.
The one thing I think that really helped my germination was packing the entire planting with very knobby quad tires. I need to build a culti-packer!!
Now my plan is to kill the one remaining weed infested area in late August then throw fall rye down and flatten the dead weeds with a drag.