I have a nice little spot in my backyard landscape where a planting of wildflowers would be great. So I was thinking late this past winter that I’d plant them as soon as the ground thawed a bit, but then I got to thinking is spring the right time to plant wildflowers? I knew if I planted my wildflower seeds in the spring they’d do just fine, but then I got to thinking, Mother Nature does her planting in the fall right? I figured if I planted late fall during the dormant period I might get better blooms, and they’d definitely bloom earlier. So I decided to do some research on fall planting to be sure I got exactly what I wanted out of my planting, and this is what I came up with.
My thoughts were confirmed as soon as my research started, and I guess it’s common knowledge that Mother Nature does her seed plantings in the fall. One of the first things I learned was that planting in late fall meant I’d be planting during the dormant period. When preparing to plant during the dormant period you must wait until a killing frost hits, click here for frost dates in your area. If you don’t wait for the frost to hit there’s a chance your seeds germinate, and are killed when that frost does hit. So keep your eye out for temps to reach -28 degrees Fahrenheit which is when you can expect a killing frost.
After that frost hits you’ll need to get those seeds in the ground. You’ll want to do your planting before the ground freezes. The soil needs to be workable, and not frozen when you plant. The area should be tilled or power raked to bare, workable soil, and you might want to till twice just to make sure any dormant weed seeds that come up don’t compete with your flowers.
It’s very important to sow the seeds as soon as the soil is ready. Now here’s smart tip, take a piece of plywood, or some flat hard material, and lay it over the seeds. Once the board is down walk all over it, “pressing the seeds into your newly worked soil. The reason for the board “pressing” is so that when the spring rains start your seeds are washed away, and it also makes it harder for the birds to get after the them. Tip number two don’t water, you don’t want your seeds to germinate now you want them to germinate with the help of the spring rains.
So there you have it, a very basic description of how to play Mother Nature when it comes to planting wildflowers. Keep in mind that spring plantings are also fine, but I always say the more you do in the fall the more you can enjoy in the spring.
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