When planting native grass and wildflower seed, we recommend sowing on bare, weed-free ground following extensive site preparation to reduce as much dormant weed seed as possible.
Our preferred method for preparing new wildflower meadow areas is to cover newly cultivated areas with opaque tarps or black plastic for a full growing season before planting (a full calendar year is even better). We’ve prepared up to ½ acre for planting this way in a single season, and with careful treatment, large tarps or plastic sheeting can be re-used over multiple seasons to cover new areas – slowly increasing the size of wildflower plantings year after year.
When planting native seed, we recommend you hand scatter it directly onto the soil surface. Do not bury the seed or cover it with soil, however it can be lightly raked into the soil after planting. We recommend planting in the fall to take advantage of natural winter precipitation, however spring planting can also work. Note that the later into spring planting occurs, the more irrigation plants will need throughout the remainder of the growing season to get established. Fall-seeded plants usually don’t require any supplemental irrigation.
IMPORTANT INFO ABOUT PLANTING MIXES – PLEASE READ
Please note that the seed size for many of the plants we sell is extremely small! A single tablespoon might hold several thousand seeds of some plants such as Western Yarrow, Farewell to Spring, and even some of the native grasses.
While we formulate our mixes at robust seeding rates, the small seed sizes results in a relatively small volume (at least if you were expecting seed the size of lima beans!).
To efficiently spread a seed mix over a large planting area, we strongly recommend that you “bulk up” your seed mix with an inert material to increase its overall volume. We use an organic granular plant-based cat litter ourselves, but other people commonly use vermiculite, sand, corn meal, or dry non-clumpy soil.
To do this, we recommend mixing the seed and inert bulking material together in buckets, wheel barrels, or plastic totes. Ideally, try to at least add 2 to 3 times more inert material to increase the volume of the seed mix. Carefully combine all the material, and mix extensively until the seed is held in a solid suspension with the inert ingredients. It’s also a good practice to include slug bait to reduce damage from invasive slugs. (Iron-phosphate slug bait is safe for people and pets, and is organic-approved).
Once mixed, the seed can be hand scattered (like chicken feed) over the planting site. We recommend dividing your materials into at least two equal batches. Spread one batch over the entire planting area while walking back and forth. Then scatter the second half over the entire site again, walking back and forth, this time perpendicular to your first paths. As you do this, it’s a good idea to shake the mix periodically to ensure the seed remains evenly distributed in the mix.