Habitat out loud

SD51555

5 year old buck +
If you've ever wanted to see what I'm working on, I pulled back the curtain for a day. I'll tell you what, I won't give you guys pulling any kind of drill or seeder any guff anymore. I spread 6 bushels by hand and bucket and I thought my shoulder was gonna fall off.

 
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Kooch

5 year old buck +
Try it with a hand crank spinner sometime instead of that blower!
 

SD51555

5 year old buck +
Try it with a hand crank spinner sometime instead of that blower!
The blower was the one thing that worked really well. I was worried, as my acreage continues to climb, that I wouldn't be able to get it all done with one battery. I took a chance and spread on the fourth open setting. It really comes when it's open that much, so I've gotta scoot. But it worked well.
 

Wind Gypsy

5 year old buck +
Those blower seeders seem awesome but it seems like it would be hard to gauge where all the seed is landing and control rates. Do you feel you do just as good as a job as you would have with a hand crank bag spreader?
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
Good stuff SD!

My first food plot was only 1/2 acre big. I put it in by using a 3 tine garden rototiller. I used to hand seed with a bag spreader 8-10 acres of food plots.

I think the older you get the more you appreciate mechanical leverage.
 

SD51555

5 year old buck +
Those blower seeders seem awesome but it seems like it would be hard to gauge where all the seed is landing and control rates. Do you feel you do just as good as a job as you would have with a hand crank bag spreader?
It takes a little experimentation to figure out how far stuff goes, and how fast it comes out. When I first started, I'd weigh out my seed and measure the amount of ground I was seeding. Eventually I could calibrate myself by whether I ran out early, or had to go over that space twice and still had seed left. I've gotten more cavalier with it the longer I've had it. I don't measure as much anymore because I have a ton of flex in my blends. I know the clover will fill in any gaps. If I get the rye wrong too heavy, it'll reduce tillers. If I'm long on flax, it's flax. It doesn't outmuscle anything. Too much chicory seed? I've never seen it.

Most small seeds have nearly the same seeding rates per acre, and if I'm off a little, the blend is altered a little.

As far as reach goes, not all seed is equal, but it's fairly close. It's really only a concern if you're fanning a full 180-degrees cone as you walk. Most of the time, I only fan about a 90 degree cone in front of me, so if some seed goes farther than others, it's all going forward instead of sideways, so it'll get there. When I first got it, I had Roger the fuel man point the blower at me while loaded with a brassica blend and see how far apart we were when the seed would hit me about 30" up from the ground.

I have $210 in that blower and hopper contraption. I'd pay $600 for it if I had to. For my total investment in my property, the plots are so important that it could make the other $xxx,xxx I've got invested in it a total waste. I've had really bad luck with hand crank spreaders. That blower rig must be 5 years old now.
 

SD51555

5 year old buck +
Good stuff SD!

My first food plot was only 1/2 acre big. I put it in by using a 3 tine garden rototiller. I used to hand seed with a bag spreader 8-10 acres of food plots.

I think the older you get the more you appreciate mechanical leverage.
I learned this. Spreading 1000 lbs of bag lime by hand is far easier that spreading 300 lbs of cereal grain by hand. At least with lime, you don't have to carry it around. I can damn near stand in one place and fling it out there. When I limed that nursery plot, I put 1,000 lbs on a quarter acre. I thought to myself, "I could do 1,000 pounds every day, no problem, and in the heat." After those 6 bags of cereal on saturday, I was 100% resolute that there would be a mechanical upgrade to grain spreading by next season.
 

Wind Gypsy

5 year old buck +
Rye seed too big/heavy for the blower? And curious what issues you've had with the hand crank spreaders? I intend to keep using the earthway 2750 for over broadcasting rye/clover and frost seeding so any pitfalls would be nice to know about since I seem to be learning a lot via failure lately.
 

SD51555

5 year old buck +
Rye seed too big/heavy for the blower?
No. It's just too bulky. To run bushels through that thing, you'd have to fill it dozens of times. It'd take far longer than doing it by hand or some other means. You'd also run into dead battery issues.

Now, if it's a very small area you could do it. I probably should have used it when I tucked some test cereals into my nursery plot corners, but I was pressed for time. I put down a pound of a couple different edible heirloom cereals to see if they'd grow in my area.
 

Bill

Administrator
With the weather we’re having that would have been a 6 shirt day for me. Always wanted one of those blower seed attachments. I hate cranking and walking to plant clover.
 

SD51555

5 year old buck +
Now that I knocked down the jungle in my yard plot, it was time to pull the potatoes I had growing in that plot. I was ruth stout-ing these in between my spruce trees. It worked fairly well with a couple exceptions. I had heavy losses to slugs, and it seemed the spot was too wet. I probably left 2/3 of the potatoes there because of slug damage. The straw was wet and snotty when I pulled it back. I think next year I move to higher ground and use more coarse rotted wood chips mixed with the straw to maintain airflow. I'm also going to move them to where I know I've got a good amount of snakes looking for slugs.

Huge plus though, the deer never bothered the tater greens. I'll drop a much larger potato patch on my problem sedge grass area on one of my food plots. I've got some trees to knock down out there that I'll use for borders so I can find where the edge is. I already hit that spot with a hot dose of calcium in June.

 

SD51555

5 year old buck +
It’s been two weeks since the big mow.

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The whole system isn’t this well distributed, but it’s what I’m trying to do.

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Some spots pump out the chicory.

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Cereals are 8-11” tall after 14 days.

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SD51555

5 year old buck +
Looks great and the chicory was clearly not forgotten!

Yeah, it’s doing great. I added more this year where I didn’t have a good take. I did find some legendary chicory on the edges where I couldn’t reach it with the mower.

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SD51555

5 year old buck +
Now that the habitat season is closed, I turned my focus towards some nutrition work. I built a new hugelkultur bed. It took a bit of time, but I'm excited about this one. This is the third I've built now, and I think I've got the bugs worked out. One last thing to worry about is whether those firewood walls will resist pushing outward. If they do, I'll scoop this up with a skidsteer and reassemble it.

Anyway, if you're interested, have a look.

 

Foggy47

5 year old buck +
^. Unreal! Yikes....manual labor. What you could accomplish with a small bobcat or tractor with a bucket! A project like that is way beyond my pay grade. Nice work I suppose. I got some piles of rotting logs mixed with dirt after logging......but nothing I do required that amount of hand labor.
 
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b116757

5 year old buck +
That seems like a ton of work for a compost pile are the results worth the labor? We scrape up hay compost/manure about once a year where we feed the cattle all winter I end up with several dump truck loads usually we use the local NRCS manure spreader and spread it out in the pastures. The new farm I bought has a old feed pile probably 50’x25’x4’ high they obviously never did anything with it. I was glad to see it when I bought the place there will be some spectacular black soil at the bottom of it.
 

SD51555

5 year old buck +
That's not a compost pile. That's a raised bed garden. I'm aiming to get 5 years out of that as it sits. At some point the wood on the outside is gonna give way and then I'll need to scoop it up and reassemble it within a new container. I'll likely take that old border once it's rotten and use it to make another one. By then, I'll have a better plan in place to get back to my original design idea which is whole ash logs as a border instead of this thing.

My hope is the hours I put into building it pay back in the lack of weeds compared to gardening on the ground. The last one I've had for three years took about 45 seconds a week to weed. This one is probably 4x bigger.
 

SD51555

5 year old buck +
I grabbed a couple up close pics of my new blend for my nursery plot. This plot is close to my cabin, and up by the road. The purpose of the nursery plot is this:

*Fawn cover from drop to early August
*Beneficial bug habitat
*Standby garden space in case the resetters succeed
*September distraction forage

It got the whole treatment pre-plant - 2 ton rate calcitic lime, gly to knock out quack, tiller to the rest and to smooth it out. Here’s what’s all planted in it:

Rye, yellow sweet clover, hairy vetch, balansa, chicory, flax, phascelia, jap millet, sunflowers, some rogue BW, and collards. I am counting on the deer taking all the high preference food outta here before bow hunting starts. It’s only a quarter acre, so it shouldn’t take long to mop up the collards.

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