I frequently find that people wanting to create meadows make common mistakes and waste their money. These include :
- Not eradicating competitive vegetation prior to sowing seed
- Using an inappropriate seed mix (i.e. annuals instead of perennials)
- Sowing at an unecessarily high rate
- Failing to undertake regular topping in Year 1 and then not following correct management in ongoing years.
- Believing that in Year 1 nothing has grown and the scheme has failed (it takes 2 years for most plants to flower), and abandoning it. In the first summer many seedlings are still less than the size of a 5p piece.
For a few special projects that order from me in advance, I may be able to obtain seed from flower-rich grasslands on neutral and lime-rich soils. The sowing rate for wild seed is usually 10-15kg/ha. I no longer collect seed myself as my seed harvester was donated in 2014 to the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust. Hopefully this will help them create and restore lots of lovely new flower rich grassland. If you are in their area there is a possibility they will be willing to loan you the machine. Currently it is based at Meadow Farm.
Sowing wild-harvested seed
This can be tricky to sow as it cannot be perfectly cleaned. We have found that using a Vicon Variespreader works reasonably well, but there is a risk of bridging.
For the majority of projects I will put together a 'bespoke' mix of appropriate grasses and wild flowers that are suited to the site conditions and location. The wild flowers (and some of the grasses) are British native origin, grown in cultivation as row crops by companies that I know well and trust. I will nearly always also use some 'amenity' grass varieties as these are much cheaper and usually suitable for most projects. I occasionally buy stocks from other reliable growers whom I know personally and who can certify the wild origin of their stock.
The price will very much depend on the quantity of seed required and the species included according to the 'recipe' for your particular meadow. Occasionally, land may require no seeding, just restoring through grazing and/or cutting and I will advise accordingly.