Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Making Hay

The deed is done.  I have chopped down my MeadowMat, flowers et al, and now all of those lovely seedheads are drying in the sun.  Well, OK, I confess, I did cut around a couple of blooms, they were just to pretty to massacre and I would like them to finish flowering and set seed for next year.
freshly cut meadow hay drying in the sun

As I set-to with the shears (I only have a few square metres, so no need for labour-saving machines) I felt as though I was positively scalping my MeadowMat.  In actual fact, I fear I should have cut it even shorter. 

On the MeadowMat production field, our most successful batch yet is the one that Robert has kept really short. The grasses are there, but regular mowing has kept them under control and allowed the flowering plants to really thrive.  That batch is ready for despatch NOW so this would be a good time to place an order.  You can buy online at www.enviromat.co.uk/buy_online.php

Just one of the ladybirds living in my wild flower meadow
My hay was cut on sunday.  I've been turning it every day and giving it a good shake to make sure as many wild flower seeds as possible fall back into the sward.  As long as the rain stays away, the hay will be dry enough to bag up by tomorrow.  On sunday the fledgling hay was teeming with ladybirds and spiders.  Hopefully by now they will have crawled out of the hay into the bottom of the meadow where they won't be gathered in with the harvest.

The plan for the rest of the summer is to let the wild flower meadow recover from it's haircut and then keep trimming it back and removing the cuttings all through the autumn and winter.  When I look at my patch, and compare it with the new production, I can see that my grasses are far too vigorous.  No doubt it's because the soil in my garden is a bit too nutrient-rich.  I need to weaken the grasses in order that the flowering plants can thrive, and to do that I must keep mowing and not allow any extra nutrients to get into the soil.  So no grass clippings and definitely no fertiliser.

After just a couple of months of enjoying this small area of wild flower meadow, I'm hooked.  So as soon as I can, I shall be ordering some more MeadowMat to increase the area.  As for creating a wild flower meadow from seed, I don't think I'll try that one again...
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