Achieving a continually blooming wildflower meadow with minimal weed growth has been the subject of study on the academic front for the past two decades. Perennimix follows the teachings of much of this research, but also adds a few caveats from years of experience by utilizing the following protocol:
1. First, spray the entire area to be planted with a glyphositic herbicide (i.e. Roundup) and allow the weeds to absorb the herbicide for at least 24 hours. After this time has passed, remove the weeds and respray the area.
2. Distribute two inches of fine grained mason sand over the area to be planted. This sand acts as a sterile barrier to weed germination, but will also allow for adequate drainage and allows the designed seed mix to germinate.
3. Take your perennimix and pour into a bucket or bowl of adequate size. Add either sawdust or sand and mix by hand thoroughly. This will act as a medium and allow you to broadcast your seed mix evenly and not have higher concentrations in one area versus another.
4. Spread this mix by hand over the desired area, and using a landscape rake, rake in heavily the top inch of sand. The sand also doubles as a scarifier, scratching the outer coating of the seed in order to facilitate germination.
5. Next, take a fiber jute role (commonly used for erosion control available from most home and garden stores) and roll over the seeded area. Use sod staples if available to secure the fiber jute roll. The jute roll works well in keeping rodents and birds from digging in the sand and looking for the seed, retains water moisture for the seed, and also keeping the sand from eroding in heavy rainstorms. The jute roll also serves as a good indicator of when to water, as the jute will turn a drab light color when dry that the sand will not display.
6. Water in heavily. Continue to water frequently for 14 weeks, and then gradually taper off the watering to once a week. Your perennimix will come in nicely, and you will not need to water at all the second year.
7. Monitor your mix as it grows for weed growth. Spot spray if necessary any weeds that have emerged; do not pull out any weeds as it will expose the soil and break the armor against weed growth that the sand provides. If you are unsure of what is a weed and what isn't, don't spot spray or worry, as there won't be that many weeds to affect your perennimix.
8. Enjoy your perennimix! Leave the foliage throughout the winter, as it provides aesthetic winter interest, especially on behalf of the grasses. The winter foliage will also provide food and cover for wildlife.
9. In the middle of February, string trim with a weedwacker all the dead foliage, and shake the foliage vigorously to expel the seeds. Remove the excess foliage.10. Enjoy! Your perennimix will achieve high concentration of plants, which will inhibit weeds in the following years. You will have continual blooms to provide year-round color and interest. In the first year, you will have blooms, but the second year is when the real show begins with spectacular color. This process is actually much easier than all this verbiage insinuates, and provides a world-inspired meadow or bed, expertly designed.
Q: Do I really need to use the sand as you describe above?
A: The short answer is No, but it surely helps keep the weeds down and produces a well drained bed for the plants to thrive in. The fiber jute roll also is great for water retention for the seedlings and keeping out animals. Many of the species selected are adept at germinating in sandy conditions, helping them get a head start in infilling the area and keeping weeds down. If you do not have the resources or time to spread a thin layer of sand, make the seed contact with bare soil and mulch with salt hay or straw.