Sunday, November 22, 2015

Rake versus divot

The Bluegrass Mass came and went, and it has been truly wonderful to go back to working on the music I had sort-of set aside back in August to do that gig.  I have two recording projects going now, and I hope to have something in that arena to share before too long, but this post focuses on dirt.

Prairie planting this year is complete.  I wasn't really going after huge areas (for the first time in years!), but going through what has already been done and adding some things, as well as planting in a few spots where I'd had to go after some evil and left a blank area.

I did decide to try a bit of an experiment, though.  Before 2013, when I got the Palouse Conservation District grant and some professional advice, I had usually planted the seeds I had collected or bought by digging a little divot, a shovelful, turning it on its side, chopping up the dirt (the soil here is so lovely that it would generally just crumble into a perfect planting medium), like this...

I had gotten results from several species using this method, and it seemed fine for places where I didn't want to disturb other plants. 

However, knowledgeable people I met as a result of the PCD grant told me that the best way to prepare an area was to rake it to expose the dirt, put the seeds on top and rake a little bit of soil over it, like this...

They were right that many species preferred the raked area method, especially those, like clarkia, cinquefoil, and delphinium, that had tiny little seeds.  But the fact is that this method has not given me as good results on several species.  In the last two years I have not gotten a single gaillardia or helianthella, species that I had previously gotten to grow in my divots and that I would like to have many more of, so this year I have gone back to divots for them.  We shall see...

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