Broadcasting Wildflower Seed, Is Now the Time?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Belmont, Michigan
    Posts
    189

    Default Broadcasting Wildflower Seed, Is Now the Time?

    It seemed that when I was interested in planting wildflowers last fall that I was a day late and a dollar short! Many of the seeds required a cold storage period to break the dormancy period. So it is now the first of February here in Michigan, zone 5b, and snow is still on the ground. I think it would be a perfect time to broadcast some seed upon the snow in order to break the dormancy period before the warming spring sunshine starts germination in April.
    It seems that all the purveyors of wild flower seed suggest a "prepared plot" of ground for germination. Now all the fields around me that have laid fallow for many years only growing weeds and grass could certainly benefit with a broadcasting of wildflower seed as well as my bees. Remember again that these fields are not owned by me so the use of a tractor and disc is not an option.

    I'm perfectly content in playing "Johnny Appleseed" and broadcasting seed in these fallow fields. Unfortunately I don't have the knowledge regarding wildflowers and what seed variety would work best for this idea. The only seed that I've had any luck with is the Dutch clover broadcast in my lawn, and some white and yellow sweet clover broadcast along the gravel ditches of the country roads around me. And even that seed I believe is bi-annual.

    I do have an interest in the small corn flowers (Centaurea cyanus) but have no clue as to if this seed would lend itself to free broadcasting among fallow fields.

    Now I know that some of you are probably asking yourself, why isn't he planting trees instead of a few flowers? Well at 66 I'm in the twilight of my years and won't be around to see a nice Basswood tree come to maturity. So I have to be satisfied with what I can do in the wildflower department. I'm sure the small amount of seed sown doesn't make a difference, but it's just the principle of the effort to help the bees.

    So I guess I'm looking for a wildflower expert to answer some questions.

    What wildflower varieties would be best for broadcasting onto existing fields without any ground preparation?

    How about my current time frame and broadcasting onto the snow in order to break a dormancy period? And since the established weeds and grass have not started growing as yet, perhaps the wildflower seed will have a chance to germinate among these plants before they grow too tall and choke out the wildflowers?

    Is the broadcasting of wildflower seed onto established fields a waste of time and money due to the rate of germination being so low?

    So to those of you who reply, thank you! Even though my idea and efforts may be in vain, it does give a beekeeper a warm feeling to think that his efforts are beneficial to his bees, even if its not!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Sisters, Oregon
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: Broadcasting Wildflower Seed, Is Now the Time?

    6a high desert. Not an expert but I have been successful at getting wildflower seeds to germinate. Yes, they require stratification and periods of cold. I usually seed in fall, but conditions are right to do it now. We still have at least a month left and snow and plenty of rain. I’ll prepare by amending and raking the soil and mix my seed with sand to make broadcasting easier. Once scattered I walk all over it to get good seed to soil contact. That last step is very important. I’ll thin when needed. Be sure to get good local fresh seed. I especially like poppies, lupine, bachelors button and oxeye daisy. Right now I’m starting my winter sowing jugs and setting them out for everything thats not direct sown.
    I'm smart but at the end of the day I'm still the help.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Niagara Co., NY, USA
    Posts
    162

    Default Re: Broadcasting Wildflower Seed, Is Now the Time?

    “Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”

    ― Anonymous Greek Proverb

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Wimer, Oregon
    Posts
    143

    Default Re: Broadcasting Wildflower Seed, Is Now the Time?

    read up on seed stratifying and search for a seed stratification chart. this will help you gain the knowledge needed on flowers and cold dormancy,
    good stuff to know.
    DavidZ

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Belmont, Michigan
    Posts
    189

    Default Re: Broadcasting Wildflower Seed, Is Now the Time?

    Thank you all.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,176

    Default Re: Broadcasting Wildflower Seed, Is Now the Time?

    For me, Dutch Clover seed goes out on top of the snow right about now.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Sisters, Oregon
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: Broadcasting Wildflower Seed, Is Now the Time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenseye View Post
    For me, Dutch Clover seed goes out on top of the snow right about now.
    Totally smart. 6a with periods of rain and snow. Right now dumping aged horse manure for more wildflower areas and scattering clover seed, cold hardy annual seed and johnny jump up viola. Then walking all over it.
    I'm smart but at the end of the day I'm still the help.

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