With the first rains having blessed the autumn growing season, it is time to take action on what you want your garden to look like next spring. If you dream of wildflowers, now through November is prime time to sow. Wait until spring and your plants will likely be smaller and display fewer flowers.
While spring color might be achieved by simply raking seeds into soil then leaving to nature the job of nurturing infant seedlings to maturity, the most reliably riotous displays of color are the result of a simple but disciplined protocol.
• Remove weeds from planting area.
• Spread quality soil amendment or compost over the bare ground. A 2 cubic foot bag from your local nursery will cover a 30 by 3 foot strip or area up to 10 by 10 foot.
• Marry soil and amendment by turning together with shovel or rototiller.
• Rake the area smooth, removing any weeds and breaking-up clods as you go along.
• Sprinkle the seeds evenly, lightly raking in. Covering seeds to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep protects your work from becoming expensive bird food.
• Settle the area by quenching it with gulps of water, stopping short of drowning or washing away the seeds.
Over the next 1 to 2 months, seedlings will push up through the earth. Especially when the weather is dry or windy, help the tender plants reach optimal success by feeding with a balanced commercial fertilizer chased by gentle drinks of water.
Renee’s Garden is a California purveyor of seeds, including wildflowers. Besides seed packets, they offer wildflowers scatter canisters. You can call Renee's at 1-888-880-7228 to have them steer you towards a local retailer, or you can order directly from the grower here.