Spring Sowing Update
After an unusually wet winter, which has been difficult for autumn sowings in some parts of the country, spring is looking like a better prospect for sowing seeds.
In the warm spring sunshine there has been plenty of opportunities to get on with seedbed preparation and sowing, but seed beds in places are going from too wet to too dry.
Experience shows that sowing hardy wild flower seed early in spring is a safe option in most years. Good results can usually be obtained if you sow whilst soil conditions allow with the expectation of better weather to follow. Wild flower seed is quite resilient and can last for weeks or months in the soil. Seed sitting in the soil will wait and germinate at the first opportunity given seasonal warmer weather with April showers. Many wild species are actually ‘primed' to germinate if exposed to a spell of cold weather after sowing; they can germinate more freely when the soil warms than seed sown directly into a warm seedbed.
Spring seed sown in the open before the end of April is successful in most years as there is usually enough rainfall for seedlings to establish ahead of summer. Sowing of meadow and grassland mixtures can be successful in May or even June if followed by a spell of good rain.
Rolling seedbeds in drier conditions can help improve seedling establishment.
Rolling will firm the seeds into contact with the soil and connect them by capillary action with moisture below the surface. Loose seedbeds by contrast are prone to dry out at the surface depriving surface sown seed of moisture.
Watering is perhaps an option for smaller sites. If you do decide to water make sure you water thoroughly and can keep watering through the dry spell until your seedlings are well established.
Irrigation is necessary for most green roof sowings in spring. The shallow depth of growing media used on most green roofs can only hold a limited amount of water and seedlings on roofs are therefore more likely to experience drought conditions.
Posted on 07 April 2014,