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Table Talk: How Much Seed Do I Need?

January 14, 2019

By: Barb Holtz

Throughout the year OPN Seed (Ohio Prairie Nursery) offers information and products at a variety of events. When I staff our table, I have the pleasure of swapping garden stories, catching up with past OPN Seed (Ohio Prairie Nursery) patrons and fielding queries about about native plant landscaping. This series answers some of the most common questions.

Question: How Much Seed Do I Need?

A little seed goes a long way. The majority of our Seed Packets contain 1 PLS (Pure Live Seed) ounce of seed unless noted otherwise. Those packets will cover approximately 250 square feet. For larger areas, check out our pre-designed mixes here. Custom mixes? We do those too! Give us a call at 866-569-3380 to talk to one of the Prairie Guys.

Our Prairie Guys work hard to get a good representation of each species in each mix. Consider the detail of this task when an ounce of Partridge Pea has approximately 3,800 seeds while an ounce of Cardinal Flower has approximately 400,000 seeds!  It's like comparing an egg in a recipe to individual sugar crystals in that same recipe. Keep this in mind if you buy species indivudually rather than blended.

If you choose to shop around before you buy, make sure to read ingredients on other "wildflower mixes". Are all the species beneficial to birds, bees, butterflies and pollinators? Are fillers part of the blend? I can assure you that OPN Seed (Ohio Prairie Nursery) adds no fillers to their native seed mixes and takes great care to ensure you're seeding a mix that benefits the environment.

Because a little seed goes a long way, broadcast your seed for success. We recently introduced rice hulls to help ensure your seed is spread more evenly over your planting site. You can also use contractor sand which is preferred over play sand which tends to clump when it's wet. Once your seed is mixed with your carrier, sow half the seed in one direction and the other half perpendicular to your first pass. The rice hulls or sand aid in seeing where you've sown and helps ensure seed isn't concentrated in one place. Even the keenest eye would have have difficult time discerning small. dark kernels from the dirt-y backdrop. Once broadcast, turn over your leaf rake or use your fingers to jiggle the soil surface to assure a seed/soil connection. All those tiny seed coats yearn for the soil's embrace. And here begins the patient wait for the germinating magic to begin.

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