Monday, March 11, 2013

Time to Mow the Meadow

Once again it's time to mow the meadow. Actually I could have done it several weeks ago or even last December but there are things to consider as to when mowing should be done. Do it too early and you might kill some animals such as turtles and birds. Do it in January and you shred up the seeds (and rose hips) that birds like to eat over the winter. I wait for the Maple trees to start blooming because it shows that insects are around once again. They're mostly bees, gnats, flies, and a few butterflies that over winter as adults. Some Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) are in the chrysalis stage now and there's always the fear of mowing them down some butterfly. I don't think anyone has an answer to this other than to say only mow half the meadow, but then what do people who burn their meadows do? I know large meadows often have patches that don't burn but generally the whole field will go up in flames. It's not something I worry about becuase my little meadow garden is only 10' by 15' or so, and there are other native garden patches that I don't mow at all.

Even in this small space it filled our lawn mower twice. Really there's not need to collect it other than to compost or mulch something. Most of the seeds that are going to germinate or grow, likely fell out of the plants last year. Rudbeckia seems to always grow this way. However, it's likely something may grow, and the same effect is why they tell you to use Straw instead of Hay when mulching. The process of haying a field happens during the growing season, and is when the farmer cuts everything to a certain height, and the resulting hay bales are almost always guaranteed to have weed seeds mixed in them. 

I mowed just in the nick of time though. All our crocuses are starting to open and my beehives are starting to forage again. I'm currently harvesting honey from the hive that passed away. It's a thick and rich, dark brown honey one gets from autumn flowering plants such as goldenrods and asters. Unfortunately the winter chill has sucks a lot of the moisture right out of it and it's flowing at a snails pace.