"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Eco-friendly weeding - part 2

So, armed now with our new (important) knowledge of our soil health, we can plan for next year's fodder.

But, before we can even consider adding anything (lime) to the soil, we need to get rid of the forest of weeds that has sprung up on the 1hA area.  Weeds are always a good indicator of soil health - they will flourish in poor soil - big time!
A carpet of weeds swathes the land...
It is not a small task.  Quite monumental in fact...

And, RMan almost wavered.  But, as always, he had me chirping in his ear - keeping him on the straight and narrow LOL  How did he almost waver?  Because of the size of the task he wanted to take the easy way out and use Roundup.

Not whilst I am here.  Roundup is not an option.

I don't like being a naysayer - and, whenever possible, I will try and figure out an alternative on my own, or, failing that, I will throw idea's around with RMan until the two of us hit upon a solution.  Which we invariably do ;)

This time the solution came to me in a lightbulb moment.

We should segregate the land, dividing the fodder growing section from our veggie / fruit section with a fence.

And, I can hear you thinking - "Exactly how is that going to benefit us?"

The land around us is severly overgrazed by all the neighbours animals - cows, sheep and goats. Ours has had 5 years with no animals.  But, if we "invite" the sheep over for a temporary munch, we can't sit and watch them 24 /7 until the deed is done.  With a fence in place, they can happily gobble down all the weeds without fear that they will access their "forbidden area" and eat what they aren't supposed to.

RMan is the type of person who works best with visual evidence, so once again Google Earth came to the rescue.
The Google Earth image I used
to convince RMan my idea was
He loved the idea.  And, he loved it even more early the next morning as we sipped our morning cup of tea / coffee and discussed it whilst wandering the land.

So - give RMan an idea that he likes, and he'll run with it.
RMan and John - working in overcast, hot weather.
 Add to that a howling sou'easter for two days -
not condusive to flimsy marker lines remaining
straight, but they did good :)
This past week has been a frenzy of buying gum poles and getting them into the ground.  In between the gumpoles we're going to continue the wooden horizontal plank theme - similar to what we did with the paddocks - thus visually tying the two area's together.

As soon as the fence is complete the sheep will be invited over.  They can munch away to their heart's delight, whilst simultaneously leaving their droppings behind.  RMan will mix that in together with the remnants of the weeds (hopefully, with only a few seeds), and the 2 tons of lime that he's going to add in a couple of weeks time.

Win-win for everyone :)


  1. Well done you, for finding such an eco friendly solution.

    Jean x

    1. Jean - I can't help myself LOL

      This may be commonplace for established farmers, but RMan and I have ventured down this path pretty late in life, so the fact that I'm considering using animals to assist is pretty big LOL

  2. Once we no longer had horses in our meadow, I got two goats , in the hopes they would eat the lush, sweet grass there and I wouldn't have to mow it so often. Instead, they ate the brake lines on my truck, the fruit trees, the sides of the buildings, the chicken food and everything but the grass. They weren't penned in though, they were free roaming. Maybe your plan will work better since they'll have to eat what's in their pen.

    1. Harry - Goats are well known for beig generally destructive and "stripping" the land - pulling the grass up by the roots as they graze. That was one of the things that put me off goats.

      Yeah - I hope "retristing their access will help... ;)

  3. Sure hope that works. I don't think sheep try to break into forbidden areas as much as goats do.

  4. I love that you do it without glyphosate.
    Our "organic" beef lady just bought a field and sprayed the whole thing with it.
    I think we are rethinking our beef lady!!
    I don't know how anyone considers that organic.
    I hope your way works. Please keep us posted.

    1. Sue - Even the name gives me goosebumps LOL Hmmm, perhaps finding a new beef supplier is not the worst idea.

      I will do an update - later in december / early January ;)

  5. one week of munching. Hope you can see encouraging signs. Do you have weeds that the sheep enjoy?

    1. Diana - We had rainy weather so the competion of the fence was delayed. RMan has gone to the sawmill today, so - hopeuly - tomrrow or Friday the sheep will arrive... :)

      Yup - they have stripped bare all the vacant land around us - ours is probably going to be a smorgasbord for them LOL


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