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Sowing Wildflower Seeds

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In the spring many of us will drive the back roads of the county looking for the yellows, reds, blues, purples and white flowers of the various wildflower species that call Tuolumne County home. You can enjoy a similar display right in your own garden by sowing wildflower seeds over the next few months.

It turns out that seeds sown in February and March will produce a wonderful parade of blooms in the summer. If you sow seeds in February you will have less bird predation and if sowing in March you will have flowers through the summer.

Even if you have a small suburban garden, a small patch of wildflowers will enhance the beauty of your garden. An added bonus is that the wildflowers will attract native bees, birds and butterflies.

I would recommend purchasing your wildflower seeds from a company that collects their seeds in California. Some companies use seeds from other states as ‘fillers’ and these plants could be invasive here in California. There are several reputable seed sellers that you can find on the internet. My favorite is Larner Seeds. Most of their seeds come from wildflowers grown on the company’s property in Bolinas, California.

So, what is the best way to sow your seeds? Here is the technique we use in the UCCE Tuolumne County Master Gardener demonstration garden. You will need the following supplies: a small bucket, wildflower seeds, and soil from your garden. Do not use potting soil. If you have heavy clay soil, you can add a small amount of compost.

For every packet of seeds, put 1 cup of soil in the bucket. Moisten with water until a small amount of soil formed into a ball holds its shape. Add the seeds to the muddy soil and stir well. If it has not rained, water the area where you will sow the seeds. Make small balls of soil, a bit smaller than a ping pong ball. Toss the balls in the area where you want the wildflowers to grow. That’s it. The mudball protects the seeds until they germinate.

Be a kid again….make seed mudballs, toss them around and enjoy beautiful wildflowers this spring and summer.

Carolee James can’t wait to make seed mudballs in the coming months for her home hillside and the demonstration garden meadow.