For many seeds, Autumn is actually the best season to sow, as Seedball co-founder Dr Emily Attlee, explains:
“Autumn scattering has a number of advantages. For a sea of beautiful, pollinator-friendly plants to appear throughout spring, scattering wildflower seeds in autumn will give you a jump start on the year, allowing enough time for them to germinate and, and can often lead to bigger, healthier flowers than those sown in the spring.”
The advantages of scattering Seedballs in the Autumn
During the autumn months, the soil will still be relatively warm, having stored up energy from the summer sun. There is usually extra moisture in the air too, and both of these conditions work together to aid germination, which provides seeds with the best possible start.
Some seeds also require a cooler period prior to germination, so autumn is the opportune time to get them ready for the following spring, as the cold winter months will provide this drop in temperature.
Sowing in autumn also means that with increasingly likely rainfall, nature will take care of the watering for you, so very little effort is needed to keep the seeds thriving.
Be sure to check out the FAQs page for great advice about preparing your patch and scattering seed balls.
When is it too late to scatter Seedballs?
A gardener’s Autumn lasts until the first frost and this depends an awful lot on where you are in the country. If you’re in the far north of Scotland your sowing window is way smaller than if you’re on the Isle Of Wight. If there’s still a little warmth in the air and the nights haven’t become icy you’re still good to sow.
Autumn sowing usually means less watering…
As the weather becomes more changeable and rainfall increases it would be unusual for you to have to water the ground where your Seedballs are scattered. Seedballs are already a low maintenance way to garden, scattering in the Autumn makes them even more so!
What about fallen leaves?
So you’ve decided where you’re going to start your wildflower patch only to discover that the ground is now covered in fallen leaves. As they break down leaves release nutrients into the soil.
Wild flowers prosper in poorer soils so these should be gathered up before scattering and any that fall afterwards gathered up before they get chance to decay. Collect them into a bag, stash them at the back of the shed to break down and use the resulting leaf mould on your vegetable patch.
What to do with wildflowers when they’ve finished flowering
Wildflowers can be broadly divided into three different kinds of plants. Annuals flower and set seed within one growing year and then die. Biennials do the same over two years. Perennials flower and set seed but live on, some for a few years some for longer. You can cut back annuals and biennials after they’ve finished flowering but by leaving the stems to collapse and decay naturally you create valuable habitats for insects to overwinter. Seed heads will scatter across your patch, creating food for birds as well as seeding your patch further. Perennial flower stems can be cut back to around 20cm. Be sure not to damage any of the new green growth when you’re doing so.
Never cut back on frosty days.