I'm interested in playing with growing some field crops this year, probably for chicken feed but also potentially for our own consumption if it works out well. I'm considering corn, wheat, and oats to begin with. The corn I'm going to grow near my garden in a three sisters configuration. The oats and wheat, I'm not so sure about. I'd prefer NOT to plow with the tractor because I'd like to avoid fossil fuels and I've read that tilling destroys structure, increases erosion, and eventually eliminates the topsoil. I don't know if a tractorless approach is realistic, though. The site will be a cleared but unmanaged field, probably was a hay field or cattle field in the past. It's got a variety of grasses and weeds in it, and was bush hogged this summer so there are still some brambles that will try to pop up but the saplings have been hogged down. Here are two things I'm considering: 1. Broadcast seed in February. I've read (but can't find anything on it now) that if you do this, the freezing/thawing cycle creates heave which will work the seeds lightly into the ground. Germination rate is less than if you actually planted the seeds but it's a method that leaves a small footprint on the environment. My main concerns with this are that the seeds might wash or blow away or get eaten by birds. Also the seeds might just lie there and never germinate. 2. Seed balls. You make balls of seed and mud and toss them into the field. The mud encases the seed and retains moisture, which of course helps germination. Also the mud ball won't wash or blow away nor will it get eaten by birds. I think this method will be very time consuming. Does anyone know of a method to plant a field crop such as oats or wheat without the use of a tractor?