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Return to Index - Wildflower Growers Manual

Page 5 Seed Sowing

Wildflower Seedbed

A level seedbed is not required as long as the seeds come into contact with the soil. 
Insure that the soil below is firm,  yet fine and crumbly on top for the seed to settle in and then send out tiny roots into fine soil. No need to water or fertilise.

Before you sow, firm or roll and apply a light raking or harrow to finish the bed and create a freshly moved soil or 'ferment', to increase the soils biological activity. 
Roll and or lightly rake after sowing. 
Seeds take from four to eight weeks to germinate. 
So if extremely dry, it helps to keep a seed bed moist. But we never water, just let nature take its course.

Seed sowing instructions. In most cases a gram and a half of wildflower seed is used to sow 1 metre. That is a level teaspoon full = (00.0015 kilo) or 1.5 grams

Wildflower seeds are varying weights and sizes, always stir the seed before and during sowing to insure that the seeds of all sizes are spread over every metre.

To achieve the best results before you sow wildflower seed, rake very lightly or roll the soil  and sow, then follow with a light rolling or rake to barely cover the seeds. 

seeds are best sown by hand or with aero type seed fiddle, many commercial sowers are unsuitable as the seed separates and large seed goes in one direction and small in another, seed also settles in large spreaders with small heavy seed coming out first, so if you must us a seeder use a small amount in the seeder at any one time.

To sow seeds, use the Broadcast method stand with your back to the wind if at all possible, start at one end of the bed, one metre out from the edge and be careful to only sow one metre wide. Scatter the seed, dont chuck it out in one place.


As you walk leave a footprint mark in the soil (it's useful to have marker sticks which can be moved as you progress) so you can see where you have walked, when you get to the end, turn around, measure out one metre wide again and sow back to where your footprints were.  This way you will sow in lines (but the seeds will not grow in line). If the wind is blowing against you, keep 'stooped' over and release the seed close to the ground, so it doesn't blow to far away. If very windy sow half metre strips. Skilled sowers can sow wide strips in windy conditions

Wildflower seed germinates due to sunlight, the deeper you bury it the less chance of successful germination. 
As long as the soil remains moist wildflower seed does not have to be buried, just raked into the soil, barely covered & rolled to insure that the seed contacts the soil. 
Bury seed to 3mm on dry soils, so it will not dry out. Press the seed into the surface on stick wet soil. All wildflower seed is barbed when viewed under an electron microscope, it uses the bards to work its way to the best level in the soil

While a garden roller will do, or a harrow, you can roll using a Cambridge 'ridged' roller or a tree branch tied to a toe-bar on a ride-on mower.
If you have a clay soil and for some unforeseen reason cannot create a fine seedbed, cover the seed with 2mm of sand or sifted soil or hydraseed the site (seek advice). Seaweed to act as fixer is now often used

In areas where wild birds might eat the seeds after sowing, rake the seed to cover it with no more than 2 or 3mm of fine soil that you created making the seed bed. 
Use a scarecrow to stop birds eating the seeds. 

Cambridge Ridged or tree bush roller

On large areas raking the seed after sowing is unnecessary, instead use a Cambridge roller or branches of a Hawthorn bush well weighed down with boards, rope or bricks and tied to the tow-bar of any vehicle. Drag over the soil, it's an old trick.