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Mini Meadows Are the Perfect Small-Space Garden

March 30, 2020

Cheap and easy to plant, trending mini meadows work in even the tiniest garden space.

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Photo: American Meadows

Creating a Mini Meadow Is Easy and Wallet-Friendly

A gorgeous garden doesn't need a lot of space or money. You can grow a mini meadow in as little as 50 square feet and less than $20, says American Meadows owner Mike Lizotte, aka "The Seed Man." While a traditional meadow is a field covered in grasses and wildflowers, a mini meadow fits a wealth of pollinator-attracting native and wildflowers into a small space. "It might be a few thousand square feet, it might be a window box in your apartment. Simple, easy, informal beautification from planting flowers!" Just 1/4 pound of wildflower seeds, Lizotte adds, will cover up to 250 square feet. Use a regional mix if you start from seeds, so you'll get varieties selected to thrive in your region.

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Photo: Storey Publishing

Mini Meadows

Preparation is the key to a successful meadow, says Mike Lizotte, author of Mini Meadows: Grow a Little Patch of Colorful Flowers Anywhere Around Your Yard. "The better your prepare your growing area, getting rid of existing vegetation, the better your results will be." Start by working your soil until it's loose and friable. While a soil test isn't always necessary, Lizotte says it can be helpful. Ask your local cooperative extension service to do the test so you can add amendments like fertilizer, compost or other organic matter, if they're indicated.

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Photo: Rob Cardillo

Sowing Seeds

Starting a meadow from plants or plugs is fine for gardeners who want "instant gratification," Lizotte says, or for those planting on difficult sites like hills and slopes, but most meadows are grown from seeds. Some seeds are small and tricky to handle, so if you're starting with 100 percent pure seeds, he suggests mixing them in a ratio of one part seeds to five parts builders' or sandbox sand. The sand will help distribute lightweight seeds more evenly and let you see where they land. Scatter them over your site with a spreader or go back and forth several times, tossing handfuls from a bucket, as he prefers to do.

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Photo: Michael Lizotte

Grow a Mini Meadow Under a Window

If space is tight, use what you have. Even a strip of good, well-drained soil under a window can accommodate a bed of bright meadow plants. "Annuals are very popular," Lizotte says. "Not only do they provide instant gratification with big, bold color just weeks after planting, they help suppress the weeds as your perennials (assuming you planted a mix of annuals and perennials) develop their root systems during their first year of growth." Some of his favorites include poppies, cosmos, calendulas, borage, alyssum and zinnias. Remember: for best results, choose meadow plants or seeds recommended for your garden zone.

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