How to plant

Prepare the Ground

Bee buffet seeds performs best in low nutrient soils, which haven’t been heavily fertilised in the past. For best results sow into bare soil after clearing all existing plants and weeds from the area.

Cultivate the ground to a depth of 10cm to relieve compaction and create a ne level tilth, free from obstructions (to allow for mowing at a later stage). Finish the seedbed by treading or lightly rolling the area, so that it is rm enough to stand on without leaving indentations.

Where weeds have been prevalent, allow a ush of weeds to germinate and remove these before sowing. In areas of high fertility, it may be necessary to remove the topsoil and sow into the subsoil. High nutrient soils encourage weeds and fast growing grasses which may outcompete the wild owers in this mixture.

Bee buffet can be used to overseed into existing grassland, provided the sward comprises only ne leaved grasses and does not include ryegrass, agricultural species or weeds. Cut the grass as short as possible and thoroughly scarify or rake the ground to remove any thatch, moss and other debris from the area.

Sowing

Bee buffet should be sown between March and November. Spring and autumn provide ideal conditions as moisture and warmth are in good supply. If overseeding into grass, it is best to sow during autumn when grass growth has slowed down.

Distribute seed with a handheld or pedestrian spreader, at the recommended sowing rate of 3g/sqm. Mix the wild flower seeds with an inert carrier (such as sharp sand), at a ratio of four parts sand to one part seed (by weight). This makes it easier to achieve an even distribution and also provides a visual marker, making it easier to see any missed patches and avoid seeding areas twice.

Regularly mix the seed when sowing, as seeds will naturally separate due to variations in size and weight.

Once sown, ensure good ‘seed to soil’ contact by lightly raking to a depth of 0.5cm or rolling the area. When overseeding this encourages the seeds to fall down to the ground underneath.

It is also possible to broadcast, drill or hydroseed this mixture for larger or hard to reach areas. However, broadcast spreading throws heavier seeds further so this may impact the distribution and when drilling, the seed must not be buried deeper than 0.7cm.

Sowing Rate

The sowing rate of 3g/sqm is designed to produce optimum results. Reducing
the sowing rate is likely to result in invasion from weed species. Increasing the sowing rate generally leads to reduced diversity as the more aggressive species will outcompete slower growing plants.

This rate also applies when overseeding into grassland as many seeds may fail to germinate due to the increased competition from the existing grasses, and some seeds not reaching the soil surface.

 

 

Maintenance

First Year

Bee buffet contains mainly perennial species, which can be slow to establish and are unlikely to ower in the rst year. Annual species such as Borage, Corncockle, Corn ower and Field Poppy will generally flower in year one.

During the rst year remove any weeds which grow before they run to seed, either by topping, mowing or by hand for smaller areas. Weed growth is common due to the action of disturbing the ground (rather than being caused by contaminated seed mixtures).

The area can be cut once the owers have died back in the autumn. We recommend leaving the area undisturbed for as long as possible, ideally until February / March (before the rst spring growth). The dead owers and stems provide a diverse environment which is a haven for wildlife through the winter months. In particular, it provides habitat for butter ies such as the Red Admiral and the Clouded Yellow which remain in their chrysalis during the winter months.

Cut the area down to around 10cm using a scythe, strimmer or mower, leaving the cuttings for up to a week before removing. This will allow them to dry and shed seeds back into the soil.

Second Year

After twelve months the sward should be well established and requires little additional maintenance. Simply follow the same annual cut pattern (either in spring or autumn depending on your preference).

As an ongoing process, observe and remove any weeds which invade the area.

Over time, some species within the mixture may become more dominant due to environmental factors and natural selection. To encourage diversity, simply reduce the number of dominant plants in order to restore the balance.