Sowing a Modern Pictorial Meadow

At Pig Row we are trialing annual meadow mixes from Sarah Raven. The mix we sowed today was the Pastel Annual Mix (£4.00 for a 6g seed packet).

It can be sown from April onwards when all signs of frosts have passed. Today, after weeks of bad weather, snow and rain, we managed to get out to the bed we have prepared for the seed mix. We have developed this bed from a storage area for piles of stone, brick and wood. 

To a new bed that we cleared of perennial weeds, dug over and then sprayed off with a weedkiller. Though we are not fans of weedkiller, when dealing with an area of the garden that has not been cultivated for a long time, it is the quickest way to bring that plot back into use. We advise that you follow the instructions on the weedkiller. We left our freshly dug plot after using weedkiller for three weeks, due to weather conditions. However, leaving the new bed for a fortnight will allow you to see whether any disturbed weed seeds have germinated. We would never advise planting directly into a bed that has been weed killed before two weeks.

We raked over the fresh bed to a fine tilth. Levelling out some of the bumps and clods that the snow and rain had missed.

We broadcast the seed over a 2.5m square area, doing this is small batches rather than broadcast from the seed packet. We found that by placing a small amount of seed in our hand that we could control how much seed was broadcast. This meant that we did not miss out patches. You could mix the seed with sand (50:50 mix) if you are planning to sow a bigger area (though a 6g packet will not stretch beyond 2.5m square) then sand will show against the dark earth allowing you to see where you have sown.

We chose to cover the new bed with fleece. Even though May doesn't always bring frosts, we have learnt on Pig Row never to underestimate the weather. It is better to be safe than sorry. We remove this fleece during the day and cover up the plot at night, when the seeds start to germinate we will leave uncovered and only cover over if frost is forecast. We will be sowing another mix from Sarah at the end of the month. We want to see how an early sowing marries up with a later sowing at high altitude (Pig Row is over a 1000 feet above sea level). We will be sowing poppy seeds from our old garden, Drovers, throughout Pig Row as we strive to bring the growing population of butterflies into our garden along with the declining bee population in the area.

All prices where correct at the date of publication, any changes to prices are not the responsibility of Pig Row. We advise you always check with the suppliers of seeds direct before purchase.