Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: 2 acre species rich meadow creation  (Read 3683 times)

greengumbo

  • Joined Feb 2015
  • Aberdeenshire
2 acre species rich meadow creation
« on: March 08, 2017, 12:07:44 pm »
We are just into our second year of the smallholding. Started as a 9 acre barley field which has now been divided into 6 and 3 acres. In the 3 acres we have planted around 1000 willow / hazel in 1 acre. Last year the remaining 2 acres was ploughed over and then we basically left it other than scattering spare seeds every time we went for a look around it ! Lots of yellow rattle went in as well as a host of other seeds. By the end of the year it looked very patchy but not over run with grass.

So I ahve just bought some scottish provenance wildflower mix from a local seed merchant and looking to do the entire 2 acres. My plan is to fill in the bare patches first and take it from there.

Any advice or pointers for management, good blogs / books websites etc ?

Cheers !

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: 2 acre species rich meadow creation
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2017, 12:37:51 pm »
From Kew:
<<Rhinanthus spp. are reputedly poisonous to livestock and are usually avoided by grazing animals. The seeds contain iridoids which used to be found as toxic contaminants in bread cereals.>>
Only a problem if it spreads into grazing fields.  Having said that, other sources say their sheep and horses love it.

We haven't had much success growing wild flowers from seed, so for the meadow we hope to start next year, we will try both seeds and growing some plug plants so they are established when they go out.  Clover did work well from seed.
Our planned site is very wet at the bottom, so the plants we choose will be wetland types, local to our area.  We might even make a small pond.

Good luck with your meadow - it's a lovely idea :thumbsup:
« Last Edit: March 08, 2017, 12:40:40 pm by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

BrimwoodFarm

  • Joined May 2016
    • Brimwood Farm
    • Facebook
Re: 2 acre species rich meadow creation
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2017, 07:01:28 pm »
I would start with the bare patches and sow as you go.

I've been doing this with a 2.5 acre patch myself. Sowed the first seeds a couple of years ago but a really dry spring meant we lost a lot of seeds - also, we're not at the land to scare pesky pigeons off. Whilst a lot of the annuals failed, the perennials took and last year it was full of oxeye daisies, plantain, rattle.

There was NO way I could clear and sow 2.5 acres, so we just began in strips and have now sown about 10m wide in a strip going across the centre of the field. Because it's low on grass, you don't have to scythe back in the summer and can allow the wildflowers to set seed for longer before an autumn sowing instead. That allows natural spread.

Good luck! It's just beautiful when it starts to grow and it's amazing how fast it turns from looking a bit disappointing to being filled with colour!

farmers wife

  • Joined Jul 2009
  • SE Wales
Re: 2 acre species rich meadow creation
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2017, 12:28:43 pm »
overseeding is very difficult you could put grass cuttings over the top or sprinkle some fine compost over to protect the area .  If you can make some quality beds in the patchy area areas that would be beneficial. Im sure it will work out fine as long as the beds have been cleared and tyned over a little then covered with something to protect from birds.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: 2 acre species rich meadow creation
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2017, 12:35:46 pm »
overseeding is very difficult you could put grass cuttings over the top or sprinkle some fine compost over to protect the area .  If you can make some quality beds in the patchy area areas that would be beneficial. Im sure it will work out fine as long as the beds have been cleared and tyned over a little then covered with something to protect from birds.


When we overseeded a 2 acre pasture, we used an agricultural rake to create roughed up channels, then we sprinkled seeds along those lines (by hand), then we rolled to close the soil and grass back over.  That worked for clover (I know the last thing you want for your meadow is clover making nitrogen), and perhaps would also work on your bare patches, where there is no competition.  You would do no harm to rake over the whole area to lift out thatch etc.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: 2 acre species rich meadow creation
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2017, 02:08:31 pm »
How lovely!

Continuing to mow and remove clippings is key until the nutrient level is reduced, then grazing may be a more appropriate management.
Yellow rattle is great being hemiparasitic on grass.
Removal of thatch with rake and starting sowing in your bare patches sounds good. It is worth putting seed into bare soil.
I've put in loads of wild flower seed over the years, and the only bits that have thrived a few years on are where I really took the time to plant the seed under the soil and give it a good stamp in and watered seedlings in a dry spell. Where I just raked and tamped it down, little established. In places where I gave a good rake, dropped seed into the scarified grass and trod in a bit, most was out competed with in a couple of years.

I worked for snh once a few years ago, surveyed margins where various wild flower mixes had been put in. The results were dismal because the soil fertility hadn't been addressed and so everything was a knot of grass and weeds :-(


 

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