This is an absolutely vital step in the installation of any successful flower seed project. Though it may sound tempting to randomly cast your seeds into thin air and hope they will sprout, it is simply a waste of time and money to do so on a site that has not been properly prepared for planting. Though many flower seeds are tenacious by nature – others are delicate and need pampering. Therefore, the best rule of thumb is to always remove as much unwanted debris from the site as possible before planting.
There are several ways to effectively remove existing growth and cultivate your soil, and the size of the site will typically be the deciding factor in which method is ultimately chosen. For smaller sites, a rake, hoe, or shovel is often sufficient to do the trick of removing unwanted grass, weeds, etc., while for larger sites, a roto-tiller is often the preferred method. Regardless of what tool or machine is used, the important thing to remember is that the more growth that can be removed, and the more the soil can be loosened, the better the environment for which your seeds to ultimately thrive.
So now you’ve got some sweat on your brow and you’re ready to plant! There are many effective installation techniques, but again, the size of the project will probably determine which makes the most sense for you. The two methods that are probably most advisable for the home-owner are 1) the old fashioned hand-broadcast method (for smaller jobs), and 2) the use of a rotary or “cyclone” seeder (for larger jobs).].
The former involves simply scattering the seed evenly over the site by hand, while the latter accomplishes the same results through the use of a hand-cranked spreader that can be purchased relatively cheaply at any garden center. Regardless of which sowing method you choose, we strongly recommend mixing your seed with regular “sand box” sand at a ratio of about 5 parts (sand) to 1 part (seed). This allows for more even distribution and also provides a convenient way to mark which portions of the site have been seeded and which have not. This is not a required method for a successful planting, but most will find it a simple, affordable, and practical step after sowing, we recommend that you lightly compress your seeds into the soil – no more than a ½ inch - so as to protect them from birds, wind disbursement, etc. The key here is to compress them, but not bury them. If the site is of a manageable size, you can accomplish this by simply walking over the portion that’s just been seeded, or if it’s a larger area, you might want to use a standard seed roller; often used when planting grass seed.
The bottom line is: work the soil as best you can, but don’t panic when some weeds sprout along with the flowers!