I helped my sister turn her back acre into a wildflower meadow. We started 3 years ago...she was going to go with grass and I convinced her she had no use for a huge lawn out in the country (and backed up to a Concervancy). It was a LOT of work but the pay off after three years is great and every year it looks different until the seed planted is mature. 1...cut everything off very short. 2...place black plastic over all for a couple months...securing it on all edges to sterilize the dirt. 3...work in needed amendments (after checking what it needs) 4...seed ...there are a lot of seed mixes out there to pick from...they are not cheap...I added some wild seeds I harvested of favorite plants 5...mow in the Fall and Spring to allow sun through
Sorry for the overload. I am a high school math/science teacher, so I have a hard time not going technical, and I just despise Monsanto. Have you seen Food, Inc. or The Future of Food? The Monsanto/ RoundUp story that upsets me the most goes from about ten minutes to fifteen minutes in on the clip below. www.thefutureoffood.com/onlinevideo. ht ml
No offense to GARDENGIRL54, but depending on your definition of "safe," DDT is safe. Certainly RoundUp is not organic, but certainly it is the most effective, inexpensive broad-spectrum herbicide on the market. By broad spectrum, I mean it kills everything, broadleafs to grasses - farmers use it to "sterilize the soil" before planting their crop. It is very water soluble, so it will get into the ground water if you spray it on your field before a rain, but actually water solubility is one of its saving graces. It's the fat-soluble poisons (like DDT) that build up in your body - water soluble things you can pee out. And that is probably why the primary risk to animals is kidney damage - 'cause your kidneys have to pull it from your bloodstream into your urine. It IS absorbed through leaves - that's it's primary method of application - as a foliar spray. But it also biodegrades faster than most herbicides (wait two months and half of what you sprayed simply doesn't exist anymore) and tends to bind to the topsoil, so generally if you spray your field with RoundUp, you're not treating all the land downwind/downstream from you, too. Keep in mind though, that unless you buy Monsanto-patented RoundUp ready wildflower seeds (this doesn't really exist), the RoundUp you spray in the field to kill what's there now will kill your wildflowers, too, unless you wait for it to biodegrade or get rinsed by the rain deeper into the soil than the roots of your flowers. Here is an EPA Technical FactSheet on RoundUp www.epa.gov/ogwdw000/pdfs/factsheets /s oc/tech/glyphosa.pdf
If you want to prep the field organically, removing the weeds with a sodcutter and then broadcasting seeds is the way to go. A lot more work, though.
Thanks for Round UP info...It may be that some of us have been "over doctrinated" & makes the use of any manufactured chemical product is worrisome. Would you be comfortable using it in a community garden that has used only organic methods to date...I would love to be relieved of poison ivy detail... Whether or not we decide to go ahead w/ project, I am planning to play "Johnny Appleseed". I have been saving native seeds and plan to do some random broadcasting of sun lover seeds. It Will certainly not do any harm., & maybe surprise us w/ result
Rutgers actually recommended using "Round Up" made of Glyphosate to elim. weeds. I questioned this immed. & was told that it is not absorbed by plant leaves & is one of better herbicides...That seems to go against the whole concept of going green, would still enter water supply...I know, I pull Poison ivy by hand (After very carefully protecting arms & legs) etc. WE are trying very hard to convince this community about advantages of more natural lawn cultivation,conserving water, etc. I found it disturbing that a major local source for info for master gardeners ,people like myself, agricultural devel. etc would encourage this.
I can see how there could be some difficulties in establishing a wildflower meadow on an area that size. The grasses that are there will probably continue to grow and compete with the wild flowers that you add to the area unless you somehow eliminate them. You might have better luck with removing the grass with a sod cutter then sowng a wildflowr mix of seeds. You will probably still have some weed seeds volunteer but since the wildflower and weed seeds would be coming up at the same time, the wildflowers may well take over.
Thanks to all for internet suggestions! I was surprised to get a very Negative Response from local "Garden Experts"...Rutger U Extension Service & Master Gardeners in Trenton NJ as well as Mike McGrath host of nationally sindicated "You Bet Your Garden" ( check him out on net"). Intent was to estab. flower meadow on football sized space in my adult community in lieu of more lawn to maintain, water, & polllute w/ current chemicals being used. etc. Both felt it was not as easy as I thought to do this, Must clear existing weeds, make sure ph of soil correct etc. What Ever happened to "Mother Nature" Who manages to populate every sidewalk crack, highway island, & roadside ditch? Any thoughts on the subject before I ditch idea & stop pursuing it w/ Landscape committee I am part of?
I want to create a wildflower "meadow" over my septic drainage field, but am having trouble figuring out how deep the roots go. I have never heard of seed balls, but am going to look into them.
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