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DARK30

Wildflower Bed

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I planted a wildflower plot a few years ago and its really going well. The lupines are in full bloom now and the purple coneflowers are on the way.

lupine2.jpg

lupine1.jpg

My little yard helper grin....

LupineMickey.jpg

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I did some spring burning the first few years and now I've been mowing it after the snow melts. Never put any fertilizer on either ...it must be pretty good dirt.

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Oooh, I'm trying it this year. I power raked the ground real good and spread them out with hand spreader with sand to help distribute them.

Only it NEVER rains, so I'm not sure these seeds will do anything. I did keep about 60 of them to plant in a jiffy container, and they are doing well. I will probably transplant the seedlings this weekend or next, so at least I should get that many to get going.

My Mom planted some pruple lupine in our garden at our lake place, maybe 3 years ago. Last year they grew like crazy and went to seed. I scattered a lot of that in the same areas as well last fall (fingers crossed).

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That looks great! I might have to show my wife those pics, I have a 30'x50' area that it would look great on! Any reason why they would NOT be good to go over a septic drain field?

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Not a good spot for trees and shrubs but a great spot for wildflowers!

Also, with my plot, I tilled the ground for a whole summer before planting the following spring. Most of the roots that were in place were destroyed and the new growth never was able to get a hold. The spot is a long way from the hose so I only watered when I really had no choice.

And Like I say, burning is key if youn can get away with it.

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Its been dry but now the Purple Coneflowers have taken over and the butterflies love it.

coneflowers1.jpg

coneflowers2.jpg

coneflowers3.jpg

I did collect lots of seed from the Lupines and hopefully I'll get a bunch more from the coneflowers.

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Very nice Dark30!.

Obviously, you have a few years invested in your plots! They look great!

I'm in the middle of a 5a restoration, half of which is short grass prairie and forbs, and the other half is tall grass prairie with few forbs. I have about 70 forbs and 12 short grasses in the forb patch and 4 or 5 different tall grasses in my tall grass restoration, which by the way, is not photoworthy at this time. It was meadow in agrove that had a brome patch on it, and I killed it all out, disced it up, and put roundup ready soybeans in for a year to try to clean up the seed/weedbank before planting my tall grass. Well, It still needs alot of help. Prior to breaking it up:

IMG_6349.JPG

Im in my second year, and am happy with what is happening, but, I gotta tell ya, it just plain takes time and alot of hard work to get to the stage that Dark 30 is at.

In this world of instant gratification, a prairie restoration project is a humbling experience. Seriously plan on 5 years to get to the point that Dark 30s project is. I dont know how long he has been at it, as "several years " can be anwhere above 2, but by the looks of it, I would guess at least 5.

For the most part, mowing every 21 days is recommended to control weeds and enable the sunlight to get to your seeds.

The first year, the plants only make a token showing above ground, as they are building roots to survived the winter.

In the second year, you have a semi mature plant, but still have considerable weed pressure to manage, so mowing is still recommended. If you follow directions well and do your part the first 2 years, then, maybe you can let it go to seed the third year, depending on the weed seed bank that was in the plot.

Here is a picture of my restoration last year in June, just prior to mowing. P1010167.JPG

P1010166.JPG

Here is what it looked like in early June this year.

P1010063.JPG

Here is what it looked like last week. Blues dominated the early blooms, now, the yellows have kicked in, and just starting to come in now for the late July,August blooms are the purples.

IMG_72263.JPG

Heres some random shots;

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Wild Quinine: I have 2 plants so far

IMG_7224.JPG

My first compass plant.(big oak leaf looking plant)

P10100883.JPG

Because my forb patch was put in on 2 acres that was intensively farmed, the weed seed bank wasnt nearly as deep as other types of areas where you would attempt this at.

I had an inspection on Memorial day, and the guy that seeded for me, told me that he had never seen a second year planting in as good of shape as mine was, regarding weed pressure. He then proceeded to tell me that if I did some hand work, (weeding) that I would be able to let it seed itself back this year and do a burn next spring and I would be almost home free, so that is what I am hoping for. What he should have told me, is that if you spend 3 hours hand weeding every other day from late June to September, that at that point in time, you should be able to let it go to seed. Its been a tremendous amount of work, pulling thistles, marestails, and queen annes lace..... but, it is very, very rewarding spending the time out there. I literally learn something new every night or discover some new plant. Ive been anxiously awaiting my butterfly weeds to show up and I found my first one this week. Some of these plants, like butterfly weed and leadplant can take up to several years to germinate, so to see one in the second year, makes me smile!

Anybody can seed down an area and get some stuff to grow, but the key to it being awesome, is nurturing it thru its infancy.

I'm anxiously awaiting my first burn next year!

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