How To Prepare Soil For A Wildflower Garden


(birds chirping) – [Curtis Smith] Today we’re in the Texas hill country outside Fredericksburg and the home of the Texas Bluebonnets at Wildseed Farms with owner John Thomas. John, I’ve talked to a lot of people who’ve tried to plant wildflowers, wildflower meadows, and things like that. And they have a lot of failure. Can you give us step by step rules as to how to grow this successfully? – [John Thomas] Well first of
all, this starts out with a site selection. You want to try it on a site whether it’s a corner of your yard or the back end of your pasture. Figure out where you’re gonna plant. And then figure out
what you want to plant. – And there are different mixes for different parts of the country. – Absolutely. Absolutely, we have regional mixes. And we always say start out with a blend or a variety of seed rather than one or two varieties that you want. Let’s see what grows on your site first. If you have a lot of
vegetation on the site that you want to plant wildflowers, go ahead and mow it. Possibly in two different directions. Or step down mow. Mow high, mow low. And then either rake or or brush through that thatch away. – After you finishing mowing John what’s the next step? – If you have to till, go ahead and till. You don’t want to till real deep cause you’ll bring up
the dormant weed seed. Till shallow. Say an inch, inch and a half. Again, remember as long as you can achieve soil seed contact, you’re gonna get a good result on your wildflower seed that you’ve sown. And if you go out there and notice where you’re gonna plant flowers that nothing has grown, and everything’s kinda puny, that means your flowers may be a little bit on the puny side. – Um-hmm. – Again, you don’t have to do much but a good soil preparation helps ensure that you get off to a real good start. And that’s the key in wildflowers. Getting off to the good start. – After you’ve got the soil prepared, I guess the next step’s planting the seed. – [John] We recommend seeding in a wildflower blend. That means you’re gonna have
a lot of different size seeds. From almost microscopic to a gravel size. You’re gonna cast those out. The key is getting even
distribution on your land. I had a person come in the other day and she said, “John, why do my wildflowers
grow in half circles?” Well that’s how she planted ’em. (laughing) – [Curtis] Yeah. – [John] So we want to go in two different directions in our planting. And so we can get an even distribution. (upbeat dance music) – After you’ve planted the seed, how do you keep them from blowing away? – Well raking it in. We’re distributing evenly. We’re raking it in. And we’re rolling it to
compact it into the soil so once you do get a rain, your seed is right next to the soil and it stays moist longer. So raking is very important. And rolling is extremely important. If you don’t have a roller, walk on top of it. Drive a lawnmower over it. You just, compress that seed into the soil and that’s where it needs to be. A lot of folks make the mistake of well, I watered it. They go out there and they water one time. That’s probably the
worst thing you can do. – Right. – Because it swells the seed up. Imbibes the seed and then a seed gets wet, dry, wet, dry and you lose the vigor of that seed. I always say if you’re gonna water, with a garden hose or a sprinkler, I want you to keep that area
wet until germination occurs. We recommend taking a small pot. Put potting soil in a pot. And whatever you’re gonna plant out there, maybe a pinch of that mix, plant in that potting soil. Take it by the garage. Full sun. Keep it wet. And as the plants grow out of that, you take that pot to your meadow and see how you’re doing. – [Curtis] Ah, so you can
see them come up in the pot? – [John] Absolutely. – How many seeds to you
plant per unit area? – Well, as far as the seed count, we recommend a pound of a
blend per 2,000 square feet. Or a 1/4 pound of blend, which consists of about
20, 24, 26 varieties dependent upon their regional mix. – For more information about
how to grow the wildflowers, look at the Wildseed Farms website. Or contact your local
county extension agent. (soft piano music)

2 thoughts on “How To Prepare Soil For A Wildflower Garden

  1. Hi i read on the internet that you have to mow or hand cut your wildflower garden once a year, in the late fall after all the flowers have bloomed and the seeds have dropped…
    Can i just leave them alone and not cut them at all? Dont know why they have to be cut because the field wildflowers are always left alone & do fine. and when the flowers make like poppy seeds can i just make them in a paper bag and plant them next year? Because i saw something on the internet about washing seeds :S.Thx

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