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Grandma’s Restored Prairie Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Seeds from 60-80 species of grass, wildflower, and sedge.
  • Land

Instructions:

  1. The first step in making a prairie, as with any recipe, is the prep-work; in this case, of
    the soil. You will want to take your land out of agriculture (because let’s be honest,
    it’s probably in agriculture) and till the field to bring good soil to the top and to bury any leftover corn (because let’s be honest, it’s probably corn).
  2. The second part of the prep is to acquire the seeds from local remnant prairies (with permission!). Ideally, you can access multiple prairies within a 15-mile radius of your own site, to ensure that your plants will be adapted to the environment of your specific area, but also contain a decent amount of biodiversity. If you can’t collect the seeds of 60-80 different species at local remnant prairies, store-bought is fine—but be warned, a good seed mix can cost $6,000 an acre (no, that wasn’t a typo).
  3. Mix all of your seeds together. My tip is to use relatively little warm-season-grass seed, because just a few of those go a long way. You will be able to develop your own desired ratios through trial and error, but you’ll probably want to use all of the wildflower seeds that you can get your hands on, because flowers are pretty.
  4. Use the shotgun approach to disperse your seed mix across the desired area. For those of you unfamiliar, “shotgun approach” is a fancy way to say, “just chuck all your seeds willy-nilly.”
  5. Make sure you disperse your seed mix in the fall, because many plants need to go through a stratification process of freezing and thawing before they will germinate. If you can, try to get it to snow right after you throw your seeds, because the snow layer will keep the seeds from blowing away or being eaten.
  6. Let sit for 6-8 months.
  7. Enjoy your new home-grown prairie.

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