In the past few years, I’ve read and seen more interest in wildflowers, so I think it’s time to jump in and add my two cents.
I have watched in despair as some of my friends created a patch of wildflowers in their backyards and ended up with the most significant and ugly patch of weeds I have ever seen.
Why did they get weeds instead of wildflowers?
Two reasons. One, they were armed with a lack of useful information, and second, they were led to believe that planting a beautiful wildflower bed is so easy that a child could do it. A child could do this, and with great success.
But only if that child was lucky or had a basic knowledge of how to plant wildflowers and achieve incredible success.
In the next few minutes, I intend to provide enough useful information for you to successfully grow a beautiful wildflower bed and have your neighbors hanging over the fence, asking how you did it.
First of all, you need to understand what kind of neighborhood wildflowers like to live.
They tend to prefer open spaces with at least 8 hours of sunshine a day. It is true; they are sun worshipers. They also like the soil to be rich in nutrients and well-drained.
They don’t like compacted earth and don’t want to get their sneakers wet, just for short periods. If you have an area that tends to get wet, wildflowers are not the answer.
Wildflowers can be used for weed control and very successfully. But you have to give wildflowers a boost, or weeds will keep the area “free of wildflowers.”
Weeds and wildflowers love the sun, so whoever gets to the top first wins. None will grow well without adequate sunlight. If you use this to your advantage, you can have a beautiful wild flower bed that requires little maintenance.
The secret is proper bed preparation. It would be best if you create a foundation as weed-free as possible.
You can do this by removing all vegetation from the area you plan to plant and then prepare the soil for planting by plowing or raking to a depth of just 2.5 cm or less.
Do not mix the ground any more profound than that, or you will only disturb dormant weed seeds that are just waiting to be brought back to the surface so they can grow.
It would help if you considered spraying existing vegetation with Roundup before removing it. This will kill any roots that may still be in the soil.
Remember that you need to sprinkle weeds or grass with Roundup for at least three days before disturbing them.
If you find that the area you have chosen has a significant amount of weed seeds close to the surface, you can consider letting the soil rest for about six days after working and using it again.
Do this repeatedly, but do not mix the soil more than an inch deep. The longer you continue this process, the more prone you are to leave the bed as free of weeds as possible.
Most weed seeds germinate very quickly, so when you bring them to the surface through your cultivation efforts, you are giving them a chance to grow.
But then, when you work the soil again in six days, you will stop the germination process, and the seed will be spent.
The longer you continue the process, the less viable weed seeds you will have to face.
Of course, other sources are popping up all the time, so it’s not realistic to think that you can create a bed without weed seeds.
The most important aspect of this process is to have your bed as ready as possible, at the ideal time for planting wildflower seeds.
The secret to success is to produce wildflower seeds at the perfect time so that they grow immediately and defeat weeds at their own game.
The ideal time? It depends on where you live. If you are in zones one through six, you should plant in the spring. If you are in zones 7 through 11, you are likely to grow in the fall. Wildflower seeds like warm soil. They will germinate better with a soil temperature of 20 to 20 degrees Celsius.
So if you live in a colder region, you should wait until late spring to plant. There is no point in growing when the soil temperature is 45 degrees, and the seeds stay there while some of the weeds germinate.
It would be much better to continue working on the soil as described above until the soil temperature reaches 68 degrees. I’ll repeat, just in case you missed it before.
Do not handle the ground more in-depth than an inch. Now, to plant the seeds of wildflowers.
The best way to produce your wildflower seeds is to distribute them with a small portable spreader or apply them in a way that mimics this technique.
To get the best coverage, you should mix the seeds well with dry sand, vermiculite, or pot soil to increase the volume before spreading them.
It is much easier to evenly distribute 5 pounds of granular material over an area than 8 ounces.
When laying the seeds, walk-in straight lines from one end of the bed to the other.
Then, do the same thing on the ground side in a crisscross pattern until the first set of steps you took. This will provide a complete and uniform distribution.
That is why you should mix the seeds with some filler material before you start so that you have enough volume to work with and can cover the area thoroughly and evenly.
You can visit www.wildseedfarms.com and order a catalog or call the toll free number.
his company publishes one of the most complete and informative catalogs I have ever seen.
They have a color photo of each variety, along with a good description.
They even tell you what percentage of seeds you can expect to germinate, and it varies from variety to type, so they list that information for each matrix.
They also tell you how long each variety takes to grow and what the ideal soil temperature is.
They inform you how many seeds are in each package, how many seeds per kilo, and how much seed you need to cover a given area. Wildflower seeds have germination periods of 6 to 28 days, so you should keep this in mind when planning your garden.
If you select a variety with a germination period of 28 days, you should choose a second variety with a much faster germination period and mix them before sowing.
If you were to sow only seeds with a germination period of 28 days, weeds would jump over wildflowers and would probably end up with a weed garden.
When you mix seeds with different germination periods, the fastest germinating roots appear very quickly and act as an auxiliary crop for the seeds that need the most time, keeping weeds and birds away until all seeds can germinate.
Good luck with your wildflower garden! Have fun and enjoy it.