Autumn might still seem like a little while away, but August is in fact the right time to start preparing your soil for Autumn sowing.
Preparing a 'stale' seedbed
A stale or false seedbed is a weed management practice. A seedbed is created a number of weeks before sowing, allowing weed seeds just below the soil surface to germinate. The young weeds can then be eradicated before sowing your seed. A well prepared seed bed, free of weeds, grass and other plants can optimise germination, survival rate and will determine the success of your wildflowers.
- Begin the process by removing grass, weeds and any other plants from the area you plan to sow.
- Loosen, or lightly turn the soil over to a depth of about 4 inches.
- Level the soil off with a rake or harrow and compact the soil using a roller or walking all over. This will increase germination.
- When the weeds have germinated the young plants (weeds) should be eradicated.
- Carry out this process 1-3 times depending on the rate of unwanted plants..
Creating a seedbed free of grass, weeds and other plants will ensure you wildflowers don't need to compete for space, moisture and sunlight.
5 benefits of sowing wildflowers in Autumn
- Annual wildflowers sown in autumn can flower up to 5 weeks earlier the following summer and generally produce more flowers than those sown in Spring.
- Root systems are established, meaning they're less prone to drought and require less watering during dry periods.
- Some species such as Yellow Rattle need the cold of winter to germinate, this is called vernalisation. Corn Poppy also germinates better with cold weather.
- There are little to no pests such as slugs, snails and aphids during the Winter, meaning that your flowers will have less damage and stress to contend with.
- Conditions in autumn are generally more ideal with extra moisture in the air to be absorbed by the seed, this also means less watering as nature takes its course.