Monday, February 4, 2013

How to Hand Seed a Prairie in Winter

We completed our first small wetland creation project this past summer, but decided to seed the surrounding land with native flowers and grasses during the winter.  This method is super simple and very successful.  Here's what we did.

1 - We purchased a bag of the Basic Prairie seed mix from Cardo JFNew and stored it in the refrigerator until we decided on the perfect day for seeding.  (You can also collect seed if you have some good sites.)

 2 - We headed out to the land surrounding the green barn and wetland.  Look at the wintry landscape!  Soon the garden will be in full bloom again....already our seed orders are rolling in. Yippee!

 3 - We took handfuls of the seed...

4 - and scattered it about. With the snow on the ground it was very easy to see where we had seeded and where we still needed to put seed.

5 - After we hand seeded the entire area (10 minutes maximum), Steve thought to run a garden rake over the  area to mix the seed in with the snow a bit so the birds wouldn't eat it all.  The new snow falling also helped to quickly cover it up.

6 - Finally, we wait.  Yup, that's all there is too it.  Winter seeding allows the various seeds to go through all their necessary dormancies and stratifications to ensure successful germination.  Normal freezing and thawing will work the seed down into the soil with no more effort on our part.  The ground underneath the snow is ready for the seed and we plan to monitor to make sure no invasives creep in and try to take over.

For such a small amount of effort, the process gave us a gargantuan amount of satisfaction.  No more mowing, many flowers and grasses to appreciate and an incredible new home for wildlife.  If you've not read this article, check it out.  It's why we do what we do and discusses one of the most meaningful, impactful things we can all do at our own homes.

The snow is falling here again with another 3-5 inches forecast.  We are grateful for a real winter this year!


  1. Hi J&S...less mowing is good : )...I love this type of planting to : ) Hope you have big bouquets this summer!! Practically bare ground here...crazy weather!!
    Enjoy the snow and a warm fire!!

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  3. Hi Jennifer and Steve! Looking good over there, can't wait to see those flowers in bloom. We've not gotten much snow this winter yet, but they are wanting 1'-2' to hit us on Friday, so we'll be digging out from that for sure. It's a pain for the chickens, they are not snow friendly. I'm looking forward to spring this year as it's been a long, housebound winter for me with my bad leg and ankle, so I'm just awaiting the beautiful calls of the songbirds. We had a pileated woodpecker visit us a couple days ago! So I know spring's on her way. ~Vonnie


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