This spring or autumn sown mixture is a fast growing collection of vivid colours including eye catching reds, piercing blues and sunny yellows. The Cornfield annual mix work well on most soil types and unlike many perennial wild flower meadow mixtures, does well on fertile soils.
When to Sow: The annuals should be sown from March to May in the spring and September to early October in the autumn, ensure Poppy especially is autumn sown for a more reliable germination.
An autumn sowing will produce earlier flowering plants in the spring season, producing a mass of flowers in late May and June with corn cockle, cornflower and poppy most abundant. A spring sowing favours the bright yellow corn marigold and leads to a later flowering period from mid-July onwards.
Sowing Rates: Sow at a rate of around 1.5-2.5 grams per m2 (6-10kgs per acre).
Preparation: For best results sow into a clean, weed free seedbed, it is important to stress that the seedbed needs to be free from weeds as once the wildflower mixture is down it is difficult to control weeds if they come through. Cultivate the ground to create a fine, firm and level tilth.
Sowing: Broadcast the seed evenly by hand or with a spinner across the soil surface, consider mixing with dry, sharp sand to help bulk out the seed and achieve an even sowing cover. Finish the sowing by lightly raking or harrowing to cover the seed and then treading or rolling to consolidate the area to ensure the seeds are in good contact with the soil. The seeds are very small, it is important to note that they do not need to go in at any depth, sowing any deeper than 1cm could result in a patchy take of the mixture.
Managing Cornfield Annuals: No management is required between sowing and flowering except perhaps taking the opportunity to control sporadic weeds. Be very careful if the area does require weeding that you don’t pull up any of the wildflowers! In the beginning it can be difficult to differentiate between wildflower and weed!
Once the cornfield annuals have finished flowering they will die away in late autumn as the weather gets colder, now is the time to cut them down with a flail or strimmer. After flowering the plants may well set seed in late summer and early autumn, while these seeds will be viable if they drop to the ground, expecting a similarly vivid show in year two on the same site from the original sowing can be risky. Lightly disturbing the ground in Feb/March can stimulate a flush of new seedlings from the dropped seeds, but re-seeding from scratch will give a more reliable and consistent showing.