Since I have been home and a touch football shaped amount of thinking has vacated my brain, I have thinking about grass. Not the sort of grass that would pay Lantanaland off in a few years, rather the pasture that my cows exist on.
The grass has grown ok this summer but I am highly suspicious that under the status quo I am over stocked. I still have one paddock unfenced, which is probably a third of Lantanaland so I'm not overly worried, even though fencing it will mean more money. But I need to find low or no cost ways to improve my pasture and feed situation.
Clover worked well last year and I am giving the small paddock in front of the house a rest and have seeded it with some grass and done a little spraying. I am also watering it with the house grey water to get some tree fodder started, pigeon pea and mulberry, as well as bananas, arrowroot and comfrey. If I add some clover and lucerne into that paddock it should be a good treat paddock to give them a boost.
Next season I will try a permaculture trick I learnt in my PDC. You get some clay, compost and pigeon pea seeds. Throw them all in a cement mixer with just enough water to loosen. Then you roll bits of the mix up into small balls and put them in the sun to dry. Once they are hard you throw them round the paddocks. The idea is that when it rains, it softens the clay, and the seed sprouts into a nice rich mix to get it started. The other one I'd like to try is getting a whole heap of passion fruit growing over the thicker lantana down the bottom of the hill. Clover seed is also a good one to mix in with the cow feed as it passes straight through them and starts life in a nice fertile growing medium.
I am really just fiddling on the margins I guess, but without large amounts of cash to do a good seeding program, or rip furrows and plant, or bulldoze large swathes of lantana, I shall just have to satisfied with small incremental improvements.