by Mike Lizotte
So now that we know the best time to plant this fall, I would like to turn our attention to the preparation of an area for fall seeding. Whether sowing in the fall or spring, the proper preparation is always important in determining success or failure of a wildflower planting.
Better preparation = More Flowers!
For one reason or other, this is the one area that we tend not to put as much time and effort into as we should. I know the thought of having to fire up the roto-tiller or work the ground with a spade for a few hours doesn’t appeal to most, but it’s the most critical step for success with your planting, both long and short term.
No matter if you're sowing 5 acres or 5 square feet, the better you prepare the area and get rid of weeds, grasses and other competition, the better results your planting will yield. I wish I had a nickel for everyone who told me, "I just threw the seed out there in my field" and then are disappointed when they don't have wildflowers. You're not giving the seed a good chance of survival if it has to compete with existing root structures in the soil. The better you prepare the area enables two very important things to happen:
- Allows the seed to germinate in soil with very little competition to start.
- Once your seed begins to germinate, it will be better suited to compete with weeds and grasses that might try to grow back.
Timing is key!
For fall seeding, timing is the key. We want to plan on working the soil before the ground freezes, but we're not actually going to seed until the ground is nice and cool. It may be 2-3 weeks after tilling or preparing the area that you're actually sowing the seed. We don't want the seed to begin germinating before winter! The seed will just lay dormant through the winter season and begin to germinate once the ground warms next spring.
Don't cover me please!
Similar to a spring planting, there is no need to cover the seed. However, In some cases, such as if you're seeding a slope or the area may be exposed to strong winds, you will want to cover the seed with a light layer of straw.
So you're well on your way to a successful fall planting! Follow these steps and you will be bursting with color early next season.
Our "autumn season" is upon us...Embrace the opportunity to enjoy fall gardening...The Seed Man