Wildflower seeds may be sown in the winter months, would it surprise you? Many perennial wildflower seeds require pre-chilling, or a period of exposure to cold and moisture, before they may be sown in the spring and fall. Even on top of a layer of snow, these seeds may be dispersed.
David Salman, the creator and chief horticulturist of High Country Gardens in Santa Fe, New Mexico recommends that you winter-sow your wildflower seeds on prepared ground. Before the snow and ice arrive, he advises raking the ground to get rid of any debris and expose the ground. Using a “bow rake to make shallow furrows” if the region is bare soil, he advises.
In a bucket before sowing, I prefer to mix my seeds with sand, which helps disseminate them more uniformly. Mycorrhizal spore granules are also added to the seed-and-sand mixture. Seed germination and survival can be improved by applying a mycorrhizal substance.
Before raking the dirt, Salman recommends “turning the Bow Rake over the surface to smooth the furrows, then softly cover the seeds with a light layer of soil.” Germination can be aided by a light layer of clean wheat or barley straw.
As the temperature rises and falls, the seeds will fall to the snow. When the temperature rises, the ice beneath the earth begins to melt. The ice will re-form when it gets cold again. It’s possible that the earth will fracture or shift as the temperature fluctuates between thawing and freezing. Even though the movement is hardly visible, the seeds will eventually make their way through the snow and make touch the soil.
By December, gardeners who get snow may begin spreading their wildflower seeds and continue until February with adequate snow cover for their seeds to grow, according to Salman.
Wildflower seeds can be sown outside at virtually any time of year if you reside in a climate with moderate winters, such as California, Florida, or south Texas; the hotter and more dry summer months are the sole exception.
Wildflower seeds can be sown in the winter if you live in a place where the temperature drops below freezing but there is no snow. When you still have frost in the winter or early spring, Salman explains, spread them. Once the seeds have been sown, cover them with a layer of clean wheat or barley straw to keep the soil wet and protect them from birds.” To prevent them from being blown away by the wind, this will also be beneficial.
If your wildflower seed mix contains annuals that don’t frost resistants, such as zinnias and marigolds, Salman advises you should spread your seeds when the weather in the spring is consistently warm and the risk of frost has gone. Frost-hardy annuals, on the other hand, “wait to germinate until conditions are just right, even if sowed in January,” says the author.
It’s important to find a seed mix tailored to your area because there are so many options out there. Choose wildflowers that will do well in the growing circumstances you can offer, or mix your own seeds.
Winter sowing can also take the form of planting seeds in clear plastic containers in the fall and winter and then letting them germinate in the open air. The seedlings are transferred into the garden as soon as they are large enough and hardened off.
Even though the main objective of (winter planting) wildflower seed mixtures is to minimize the need to transfer seedlings because this is a labor-intensive process, Salman argues, ” Seed is cheap, therefore we should plant a lot more than we expect to germinate. Release a million seeds, and you’ll get one hundred plants since that’s how nature works.
To ensure that their wildflower seedlings survive the winter, gardeners should prepare their plots well in advance. This will ensure that they will have plenty of brilliant, gorgeous blooms to look forward to in the spring and summer.