Well my September planted clover and chicory plots failed. I got sprouts but that's it in most places. The soil seems damp not dry. I don't know what happened. The soil was disced to perfection and drug to smooth it out. This is my 3rd replant of one type or another in this plot over the last 5 years. The soil test said ideal in the spring. I ended up planting after the summer, September.
Well that sux and I'm sure you are bummed. Couple things, did you use cover crop of WR or WW? That helps. Was the soil firm but not hard before spreading small seed like clovers and brassica? It should be. No more than inch settlement when you step on it with your size 11. Did you pack seed into soil with ATV, tractor , packer, feet, after spreading? That helps. Regardless of soil test with tilling did you add fert, especially N, such as 19-19-19 and urea? Another plus.
Good news, not all is lost. Overseed with WR and/or WW next couple weeks before rain. Also the clover is slow to start, but by next spring will probably take off. Frost seed a white and red clover early to late March next year. Add fert of 0-20-20. Bet you get a decent plot. Good luck. We all have failures. The last two years have been rough planting due to inadequate or poorly timed rains. I had to overseed some of mine after 12 weeks of no rain after planting. Always have you options.
And finally, it gets said all the time, have an exclusion cage, it can seem a plot failure when in reality can be kept browsed before chance to let plants take off.
On clover I wouldn't call it a failure. More will survive than you think. If you are really skeptical, frost seed more clover the end of winter, some of my best clover is frost seeded. A little more seed is cheap insurance...
When I plant clover and chicory in the fall I don't expect anything from them till the following spring. That is why a nurse crop such as wheat or rye is so important. Those fall planted perennials are much more concerned about what going on below ground than above ground the first winter. Like others have said frost seeding thin spots late winter will help.thicken it up.
I've had great planting by frost seeding. To me the clover looks OK and will keep coming up. My best clover plots are by frost seeding in Feb. Doing another 2 plots this coming Feb. One will be a new plot on my farm and the other will be on the neighbors old airplane runway that I bale hay off of for my cattle that he gave me the OK to frost seed clover. The old runway is over 1/4 mile long and is a great deer attraction but they allow no hunting.
The only failure in plotting is not planting. Every other outcome will successfully educate us and deer will be fed either from planted seed or germinating weeds we disturbed. Success isn't always pretty to our eye.
The only failure I see is that you didn't plant a nurse crop with the clover and chicory. Like was mentioned above, don't expect much out of either of those in the first fall. I have several new Durana patches this year that the clover looks about like what you have in your first picture, except there is also about 80# of cereal rye / acre in it as well. Next spring if we have plenty of rain I will let the rye go to seed and terminate on its own. If we are short on rain, I'll terminate the rye at the boot stage to conserve moisture for the clover.
Chicory - it will lay down flat on the soil once temperatures get near freezing. Next spring it will come up with significant leaf growth.
If you have some rain, you might consider going ahead and broadcasting cereal rye in what you have now.