Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Meadowmat vs Wild flower seed part 1

Time to stop talking in theories and try Meadowmat out for myself. But rather than just install a couple of square metres, I thought I'd be a bit scientific and just see if Meadowmat really is easier to use than seed.

I have a couple of areas in my garden that don't get a lot of attention and so I've decided to use them to compare Meadowmat with wild flower seed.  I want to see which establishes quicker, which is easiest to care for and which attracts the most wildlife.

The first area is quite small and tucked between two hungry shrubs, very close to the walnut tree where I dangle the bird feeders.  I've sprinkled on about £10.00 worth of wild flower seed from the garden centre.  It's a mix of perennials and cornfield annuals - but no grasses.  The ground is incredibly dry at the moment, we're desperate for rain, and so I've given the seeds a thorough watering to start them off. 

Time taken to prepare around 2 square metres of ground, sow seed and water in:  about 30 minutes:

Now for the Meadowmat.  This is going on to the "allotment" area in the garden.  It will have a hedge on two sides, the strawberry patch along one edge and a path on the fourth side.  It's a somewhat larger area than the seeded piece - around 10 square metres in all.  I'm just going to install 4 square metres of Meadowmat and keep the area around it free from plants so I can have a good view of what's going on.

This afternoon's job was preparing the ground.  All the vegetation has been removed, the area has been rotovated and raked.  OK, OK so I know the rotovator isn't particularly eco-friendly but with time constraints and a dodgy back there has to be a compromise somewhere along the way.  There's normally a three working day lead time for ordering Meadowmat, but I'm hoping that Robert will enter into the spirit of things and harvest some for me to bring home tomorrow afternoon.

In the meantime, here are the pictures of what's happening so far:
Before: The chosen spot for Meadowmat.  Peas n beans in the background, strawberries to the right

After:  The ground is cleared and raked into a tilth.  Just needs Meadowmat and water

Time taken to prepare 10m2 of ground as I would a seedbed: approx 1.5 hours
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