On the video clip are just some of the sites we are enhancing and have restored in autumn 2016 for Save Our Magnificent Meadows. But why is autumn sowing so important? Why not wait until the spring?
To restore wildflower meadows we usually sow a yellow hay rattle based seed mix. The parasitic nature of this clever plant reduces the vigour of more competitive grasses and legumes, thereby allowing other more delicate wildflowers to flourish. Although these seeds, aided by increased light levels, germinate in springtime, they need a period of cold weather to break dormancy. With the grass cut in late summer, followed by aftermath grazing to utilise re-growth and remove rank vegetation, autumn is the time to sow.
The drill we use ensures good seed-to-soil contact in the gaps between grass tufts, though if land conditions allow, an element of late autumn grazing can achieve the same effect with the help of hooves. Scattering hay rattle by hand or seed fiddle, then tramping with human ‘hooves’ is equally effective. So as the cold weather bites, autumn sowing allows us all to look forward to a more colourful and wildlife rich spring!
Giles and Eva