Free delivery until end of June to following Postal Codes : M9A*, M9B*, M9C*, M9R*

Wild Flower Meadow Continued (2018)

Our Journey

Keeping the plastic sheets in place was an on-going struggle that started at the end of March after all the snow on them had melted:

100 feet X 55 feet sheet in the air

This was a 100 ft X 55 ft sheet.  We cut this into three pieces and rescued it from the fence.  This was no easy task while the wind was still very strong.  It was just two of us and screaming three year old twins.  Neighbour was kind enough to let me store them in their shed until spring.

In April, all the plastic sheets that were blown out of place was put back in place; loaded them with two loads of pea gravel and rocks from around the farm in jute bags.  Some small jute bags were purchased and empty coffee bags (also jute bags but bigger size) from Reunion Island were also used to put gravel and rocks.  Reunion Island makes these bags available free of charge to anyone who is interested.  It’s a good way to reuse these rather than sending them to landfill.  These lasted longer than the small bags that I had purchased from Lloyd at $1 per piece. 

Areas 1, 2 and 4 with weights on them

Areas 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 (closest to the camper) with weights on them. Looks so Tamed Here

In areas where the plastic sheets blew, grass started growing as soon as the weather warmed up.  These sheets were removed, the grass was cut, rototilled again, and then the plastic sheets were put back.  Due to the labour shortage, they were not tucked around like before.  Only half of these were successful in killing weeds.  Another half (about 15,000 square feet) will be re-secured in the next spring with ditches around them to get a good weed kill and then we will sow wildflower seeds in the fall of 2019.

Here are the final steps of the process:

Step 1: Remove plastic sheets

To continue on with the Wildflower Project, after the plastic sheets have been placed for a year, we have begun opening and placing them aside. There were bags of gravel and rocks on top of these sheets to prevent the sheets from flying everywhere from the strong wind that the farm receives, so those had to be removed first. And then, we roll the sheets to a side. Sometimes it would take 30 minutes to tame one sheet on windy days.

Plastic Sheet Being Rolled to One Side

Once the sheets have been put aside, the dead grass had to be raked away to prepare for the tilling process (using a power harrow to a depth of about 2 inches). There were also a lot of rocks in the way, so those had to be picked up and placed away. Simultaneously, other plots’ plastic sheets were being uncovered as this step requires quite a bit of time, especially with the wind and cold weather in the month of November. 

Raking the Dead Grass

Power Harrow to a Depth of Two Inches

Mix Peatmoss and Wild Flower Seeds in the Cement Mixer

Seed Mix is Hand Broadcasted

Spread Quarter Inch of Compost. Gater was very Helpful Hauling Compost, Seed Mix, Sraw Bales Etc.

Using a Lawn Roller to Ensure Seeds have Good Contact with Soil

Spread a Thin Layer of Straw


This whole sequence of steps was done until all the lands were prepared and seeded.  By November 12, an area of 44,000 square feet was seeded with wild flower seeds. 

Areas 1, 2, and 3

Part of Area 4 and 6

Area 4

Areas 6 and 7 Completed and Areas 5, 8, and 9 on Either Side | Postponed for 2019

Areas 11 and 12 Completed

Consultant for the project was Paul Jenkins, Wild Flower Farm.  I have followed his instruction to every word.  According to Paul, here is what will happen over the next three years and what I have to follow to get my beautiful wild flower meadow (I will follow every step religiously):

“The seed will then sit dormant over the winter and germinate the following spring. During the first year of growth weed control is essential. Perennial wildflowers and grasses grow slowly, and weeds will likely grow much faster in the first two years. Weeds can be controlled by keeping them mowed back to a height of 6 inches (15 cm) the first year. Most native wildflowers and grasses will not grow taller than 6 inches in their first year when seeded and will not be damaged by mowing. Keeping weeds cut back in the first year also prevents production of more weed seeds that could cause problems in the second year. Mowing back weeds on a regular basis in the first year of establishment is one of the most critical steps in the success of your wildflower planting. Be sure to mow weeds before weeds set seed, to prevent any further infestation.

String trimmers or “Weed-wackers” are excellent for cutting back weeds. These devices gently lay the cut material down on top of the cut stems where it will dry out rapidly and not smother your seedlings. Or, if you were to purchase a riding mower, raise the mowing deck as high as is possible to mow the areas.

At the end of the first season, do not mow down the year’s growth. Leave it to help protect the young plants over the winter. The plant litter and the snow that it catches insulates the soil from rapid changes in soil temperatures, which can cause plant losses due to frost heaving.

In mid-spring of the second year of growth, the plantings should be mowed as close to the ground as possible and the cuttings raked off. At this stage, the plants are still small and have not yet gained full control of the soil environment. Mowing in mid spring helps to set back non-native cool season weeds and grasses such as Quack grass, Bluegrass, and Brome grass etc.

Timing is very important when mowing your meadow. The optimal date for mowing can vary as much as a month in any given year, due to the differences in weather. However, we can use plants as our calendar to ensure optimal timing. The best time to mow most meadows is when the buds of the Sugar Maple tree (Acer saccharum) begin to break open in spring. This usually will occur sometime between April 1 and May 15, depending on the weather in any given year. This is usually about the time we are mowing our lawns for the first time.

This second year of growth can be a bit of a judgement call, you’ll need to keep an eye on your meadow’s growth. If you see that weeds remain a problem, you will have to mow them in late spring or early summer and possibly again in mid-summer. If you decide that your meadow is not weedy, then you can leave it alone and let the plants grow (you may even see some flower blooms!).

Please note that biennial weeds such as Burdock, and Wild Parsnip can be very competitive in the second year. Mowing them back to about one foot in height when they are in full bloom will kill them or set them back severely, with minimal damage to your plants.

A biennial weed of particular concern is Sweet Clover (Melilotus spp.). This must be controlled because the seeds of Sweet Clover are stimulated to germinate by fire and can become a long-term management problem if not handled at the outset. Mowing in mid-summer of the second year when in full bloom will usually kill sweet clover plants and prevent them from making seed to re-infest your planting. If it reappears in the third year, it will likely be on a limited basis and can be hand-pulled. Do not let sweet clover make seeds, as it can be a most pernicious weed.

Again, as in year one, at the end of the growing season do not mow down the year’s growth. Leave it to help protect the young plants over the winter.

In the third year of growth mow the meadow areas as short as possible at the beginning of the third year of growth and rake of the accumulated debris. The plantings will then be left to grow and will produce an abundance of flowers throughout the growing season.

After this growing season, the next time the meadow areas will need to be mowed will be in the fall of the fourth year of growth. Afterwards the mowing maintenance will be just once every year and a half – once in the fall and then a year and a half later in the spring.

By following these steps your wildflower meadow areas will provide you with flower blooms from spring through fall, year after year.”

In addition to the above recommendations from Paul, I will follow other recommendations for the benefit of pollinators.  I will select areas to be mowed after the second year strategically allowing at least half of the area untouched.  There is another 10,000 square feet to be done in the fall of 2019.  This will help me stagger mowing easily.

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop