You’ve already taken the first step in helping to Rewild Ireland by redeeming your wildflower seed pack. Now it’s time to get sowing! Follow the below steps to sow wildflowers for bees and other pollinators.
HOW TO USE YOUR SEEDS TO PROVIDE WILDFLOWERS FOR BEES AND POLLINATORS:
We ask that you sow these seeds in your own garden or outdoor space.
- Clear a patch of bare soil before sowing your seeds, then cover them lightly with sand or soil and rake them into the soil. (You can use your fingers.) Alternatively, fill a hanging basket or window box with feed-free compost and sow your seeds and cover lightly.
- Wildflowers will grow better in a sunny, sheltered site with no competition. Wildflower seeds germinate at different times and at different germination rates. There are 30 different species in this mix, so be patient for your colourful flowers to bloom!
- Always keep your wildflower zone in enriched fertile soil and free from grass, which may choke or overrun them. Once given the chance to grow successfully, they will be able to look after themselves, and you’ll have established your very own Wildflower zone. In autumn, cut away the summer’s growth to 20cm and clear away the cuttings.
Bonus: Some dead hollow stalks can be collected from your wildflower zone and made into insect hotels for winter pollinators.
Whether you received your seeds in April or May, it’s not too late to sow away! While it will be late for summer flowers to bloom in their first year, June sowing simply means you might see flowers later in the summer and into autumn. But by next year, they will all have caught up with each other.
Each 4-gram pack of seeds will cover an area of 5 square metres in a clean, small bed. This equates to about 3-4 hanging baskets. However, if sown on a tray first and then transplanted, you can get a whole lot more!
In preparation for sowing your seeds, we recommend utilising one of these three methods for clearing grass from your soil area:
Dig: While this method is a bit more labour-intensive than the others, digging will allow you to immediately sow your seeds. Follow the below steps to dig up your grass:
- Water the area a few days prior to make the soil easier to work: Soil should be moist, not soggy, as saturated soil can result in poor plant growth.
- Cut sod into parallel strips: Using an edger or sharp spade, cut sod into 1 foot-wide strips that are 1- to 2-feet long (depending on density and thickness).
- Pry up one end of a piece of sod and slide the spade or fork underneath, cutting though any deep taproots (a root system with one main root growing downwards with very few small roots branching off to the side). Now it’s time to lift out the piece you’ve cut. Make sure you’ve included the grass’ fibrous roots (a dense network of roots closer to the soil’s surface) when lifting up your sod, and shake off any loose soil.
- Inspect the newly revealed soil and the underside of your sod. Look out for potential pests, such as larvae, and remove any rocks or roots.
- Restore lost organic material: In order for your wildflowers to grow healthily, you can restore lost organic material via compost, green manure, etc. Any missing topsoil will also need to be replaced.
Till: While this method can be difficult on rockier, clay, or wetter sites, tilling will retain organic matter and is quicker and easier than digging. However, using a till can churn up thousands of dormant weed seeds (and propagate certain weeds), so, once the work is done, you might consider holding off on planting for a few weeks after tilling and keeping the soil moist in order to pull any weeds that emerge during that time. If all is clear, it’s time to get sowing! To till your bed, follow the below steps:
- If the garden hasn’t previously been worked, it may require a more heavy-duty machine or may also require more than one pass.
- Once completed, simply remove and shake the soil from any remaining clumps of grass.