From Across the Field – Thinking Ahead

With all of the rain we have had, yards, hay fields, and pastures may need re-seeded in areas that have been torn up. There is a method called “frost seeding” where you apply seed to the ground and the freezing and thawing of the soil in February and early March will provide seed to soil contact allowing germination of the seed. There is a little more risk of the seed not germinating than a traditional seeding, but the cost and time is a lot less. 

The secret is to have exposed soil. If you have exposed soil in your yard, simply sprinkle seed on the soil and let the frosts work it in. If the ground is thawed, you can step on the seed or roll it to improve contact. Make sure you use a similar seed variety when planting grass because some cultivars have different visible characteristics. If you are not sure of the type of grass you have, bring in a sample for me to identify.

For farmers, frost seeding works as well. Pasture and hay fields that have thin stands and exposed soil, especially fields that have been damaged from the wet weather are good candidates for frost seeding. The seed that works best is clover. Medium red clover is the cheapest seed and works well. Other clovers will also work and even grass seed. Simply apply 3-10#/acre of seed and let Mother Nature take her course. Some steps to improve germination include mixing fertilizer with the seed as the fertilizer will scratch the seed coat and improve germination. Keep in mind that when you apply this mixture with a “spinning seeder”, fertilizer will travel twice as far as the seed. Finally, this is a good option for alfalfa fields that are starting to thin out. Frost seeding grass seed can work but generally not as effective as clover seed.

Finally, it is February and warmer weather will bring out the skunks, so I want to remind you of the recipe that will eliminate the smell on animals, vehicles, clothes and people just in case they are sprayed by a skunk. One quart of hydrogen peroxide, one-quarter cup of baking soda, and one teaspoon of liquid soap and no water. Apparently, the skunk order is objectionable because of the oily substance with sulfur compounds. The chemicals in the recipe form an alkaline peroxide which changes the skunk sulfur compounds into sulphonic acid, a completely odorless substance. The soap helps break down the oils so the reaction can take place. The chemicals are reported to be harmless, but should be kept out of eyes, nose and mouth of people and animals. Hopefully you will not need this mix, but in the event that you have pole cat problems, I would cut this out and save it, just in case. I’ll end this week with a quote from Bob Dylan: “Yesterday’s just a memory, tomorrow is never what it’s supposed to be.” Have a great week.

Upcoming Events
March 7 – Pesticide and Fertilizer Recertification
March 16 – NW OH Small Farms Conference

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