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In this lesson, you will learn how to sow a flowery meadow.
A flowery meadow is a wild, untended garden space giving local wildlife refuge and a source of food. They also attract pollinating insects, and bring a lush, rustic feel to your garden.
To sow a flowery meadow, we will need:
Step 1: Begin by mowing the plot
Step 2: Choose a sunny place in order to promote maximum flowering and define the border of your plot of land using the string and wooden posts.
Step 3: Decompact the soil with the help of a broadfork or garden fork
Step 4: Remove the top-most layer of soil where any existing vegetation may be growing. Be sure to remove as many roots as you can in order to prevent plants from re-growing.
Step 5: Use an edging knife to define the edges of your plot
Step 6: Get rid of any remaining large clods of soil to leave it as fine as possible
Step 7: Rake your plot to render it even and to remove any remaining pebbles.
Step 8: Make a false seedbed. Leave your plot as it is for one or two weeks. At the end of this period, the seeds of self-propagating plants will have germinated. Pick them out with your hand, or using a hoe.
The seed mixes sold in shops are composed of seeds as well as a medium, such as buckwheat husks, allowing for a more even distribution when sowing.
Sow roughly 8 grams (0.3 oz) of this seed mixture per metre squared
Weight out this amount and make a mark on your recipient. This will allow you to sow more precisely and easily, while eliminating the need to weigh out your seeds each time
Step 10: Using the handle of a tool, mark out the surface into square metres: a metre is roughly equal to the length of one large stride.
Step 11: Sow a measure of seeds for each square metre
To sow evenly, keep your hand closed except for your index finger. Distribute the seeds in small quantities using large arm movements. Do not hesitate to add some seeds along the edges of your plot.
Step 12: Use the rake to mix the uppermost layer of soil and spread the seeds evenly amongst the entire surface
Step 13: Pat the soil with the back of a your rake to ensure that the seeds make good contact with the earth.
Step 14: Water your plot to promote the germination of your seeds.
Step 15: Keep the soil wet until the seeds begin to germinate
The prairie will flower around 6-8 weeks after the seeds have been sown. It will continue until the end of the autumn when you can scythe your plot
The richness and diversity of plants will attract a variety of insects which will benefit your garden. They will all find a safe home there and help to create a rich and balanced ecosystem. Pollinating insect such as bees, hoverflies and bumble-bees will gather nectar from nearby food plants. Other insects, such as spiders and ladybirds will help control the number of pests. Certain plants themselves will also play a role in this biological struggle. For instance, the borage will deter slugs and some caterpillars while the marigold can help repel aphids.