To think about before you sow...

Close up of green grass with spots of purple and drops of dew

There’s plenty to think about when planning a growing project – perhaps more than is apparent at first… So hold your horses for a moment and take a look at our list of 10 things to consider before you even start:

1. Stamp of approval

 Always ask permission from the landowner before you sow your wildflower seeds. Even an unloved, messy old plot will be owned by someone.

2. To sow or not to sow

To protect wildflowers already growing in the countryside from cross-pollinating with the flowers you’re sowing, make sure you don’t sow seeds in or near open countryside or nature reserves. Be aware of what is already there.

3. Location, location, location

Where in your space should you sow your seeds? Most wildflowers like plenty of sunlight so you’ll need to consider the amount of light and shade. Remember there will always be more shade on the north side of big plants – so maybe even get a compass out…

4. Tooling up

Do you have what you need for a growing project? Maybe you need to borrow some from friends or volunteers. Or perhaps you’ll need to buy some, if so, you might want to think about ways of raising some money.

5. People power

It’s all about the people. Many hands, light work, you know how it goes. Get thinking about where and how you could promote your project to find local volunteers.

6. The add-ons

Compost, pots, more seeds, gardening gloves, refreshments for the troops – all things you might need to borrow or buy for your space. Make sure you take this into account when planning your time and budget.

7. Timing is everything

March to May is the best time for Spring sowing but if you sow too early a late frost could put an end to aspiring seedlings and if you're too late it could be too hot and dry. It's therefore important to have a sustained length of warmer weather before you sow, but try not to wait beyond May! Watch our handy animation to help you work out when Spring is...

September and October are the best months for Autumn sowing, but beware; too early and the soil is dry and hard, too late and it may be wet and muddy. And if it’s too cold the seeds won’t germinate. It’s all dependent on the weather so keep a beady eye on the forecast.

8. Water, water everywhere…

Or maybe not. How do you plan to get water to your space? Does it have access to an outside tap? If not, you might want to think about harvesting rainwater by installing a water butt.

9. Proper preparation

Prepping the ground may take longer than you think – removing grass, weeds, rubbish, digging over the soil etc is time consuming (and exhausting!). Don’t underestimate it and build in plenty of time with your helpers for this activity.

10. Trash or treasure?

Be strategic when clearing your space. Don’t be too quick to clear everything away – grass clippings can be used as mulch under trees and gravel as grit in containers. You might want to leave rotting logs or thick undergrowth to encourage insects and fungi.