The start of our journey for how to create a wildflower meadow…
When we bought our house, it came with a field – we didn’t set out to buy a field so didn’t really have any plans!
The field itself is approximately 6 acres of arable land on the edge of Oxfordshire. Since the early 1970s it had been used to graze cattle or make hay; it occasionally floods when the Thames breaks its banks.
For the past 7 years, we’ve simply given the hay to the farmer in exchange for his work. However, this year he didn’t want to take the hay, giving us a fab opportunity to reconsider how best to use the land…
Having long had an interest in wildlife (including bees, obvs!) and the preservation of our beautiful countryside an idea started to form – maybe we could create a wildflower meadow. For the last 6 months, we’ve been donating 5p for each of our products sold to BBOWT (the Bucks, Berks and Oxon Wildlife Trust); a chance conversation with one of their team helped us to create a plan for how to transform our field into a Wildflower Meadow.
Here’s what we’re planning to do: (NB there are links to individual blogs detailing what we’ve done at each step)
Step 1 – cut the hay from the existing field
Step 2 – cut the grass short – just before the chain harrow and tine the grass needs to be as short as possible
Step 3 – Chain harrow https://nevesbees.co.uk/how-to-create-a-wildflower-meadow-step-2-and-3/(basically ‘scarify’) the field to remove the hatch from the surface and expose more soil
Step 4 – Tine (like a fine ‘Plough’) strips across the field to reveal more soil but leave some of the existing meadow seeds and perennials – the plan was to expose around 50% of the soil
Step 5 – Cut the ‘green hay’ from our donor meadow and spread it over our field – timed such that the yellow rattle seeds are ripe
Step 6 – roll the field – to embed the seeds and prevent loss by the weather or being eaten by birds!
Step 7 – Sit back and hope that Mother Nature takes care of the next bit!
We thought it might be of interest to share our progress – watch this space for a series of blogs about how we’re getting on 🙂
NB the picture was taken in May 2019 of the donor wildflower meadow from which we’re getting the ‘green hay’