During the hay cutting weekend, we seeded an area of the first meadow with a wild flower mix. In order to encourage the germination and establishment of the new wild flowers, the turf was almost shaved with enthusiastic raking to expose patches of bare earth thus reducing competition with the bullying grasses. Cannot now remember what the desirable percentage of bare earth was that we were aiming to be exposed – it was weeks ago and I’m old – but probably about 30% to 50% of bare earth was exposed.
What is really noticeable now is that this area is covered with numerous and exuberant worm casts. And when I say exuberant, take a look at these:
We are not expecting any of the seeds to germinate until next spring – but the mix includes yellow rattle so we will be boiling over with impatience to see whats going to come up and how different this area looks compared to the rest of the meadow. The idea is that we cut the hay from this area towards the end of next summer and lay it on other areas of the meadow and the seeds fall out and reseed these new areas without having to buy any more seed. The seed was expensive – or most certainly would be if you tried to do a large area with it
We bought the seeds from Emorsgate Seeds as recommended by Kent Wildlife Trust because its native seed. We bought 0.3kg of EM5F which is a wildflower mix for loamy soils which should take the meadow a step further towards the MG5 community of plants that we are striving to take it to. This is a plant community classification from the NVQ survey and I’m not sure that I currently understand it sufficiently myself to explain to you, but hopefully I will in the future if you can wait until then. Anyway, this 0.3kg cost in the region of £60 to £80 and so, as I said, you wouldn’t want to buy too much of it.
So its a wait until Spring to see what outcome there is to our new seeding, but for now the worms seem to be thoroughly enjoying having this area of earth as a playground.