There are a number of us who have managed to create wildflower fields or areas on our property. I am sure we have used different methods of sowing the seeds & achieving our goal. Please tell us how you did yours, how many years it took, what lessons you learned along the way and what, in hindsight, you would do differently.
Here is a link to the traditional method of establishing a wildflower meadow. If you google how to do such, this is the same method you will come up with all over the internet, on wildflower seed seller sites, in books & magazines. There is nothing wrong with this method however, it assumes you have the time, money, access to water & equipment. In reality, most of us don't. In my case, I have 6 acres and there is no way I can get water to all of that or cover it all with plastic or have or purchase enough compost etc., etc., etc.
I live where pocket gophers do. They leave the most hideous looking blight upon the fields in the form of the dirt mounds that they pile up one after the other as they move along underground making their tunnels. I had always envisioned wildflower fields covering most of the property. One winter day, getting disgusted looking out at the gopher mounds and thinking about how to create wildflower meadows, I had an epiphany. Why not turn a negative into a positive? Can it be done? I said to myself it was worth a shot. So I gathered a hand sized garden spade, a large square edge garden spade, a bucket full of wildflower seed and an empty bucket.
Out into the fields I went. The mounds look like this:
The thread "Gopher mounds"
in Plant ID forum
The idea was to break the mound down to ground level, while spreading some of the dirt around to make a larger area to sow seed. This way the seed would be touching dirt (or sand in my case) rather than the field grass. This would hopefully allow the seed a better chance to germinate & take hold. I would shovel some dirt into the empty bucket for sprinkling on top of the seed once sown.
Breaking down the mound & spreading it out
Once the mound is spread out, you sprinkle seed over it
Sprinkle a whisper of dirt from the dirt bucket on top of the seed
And then do what I call the wildsowing dance which is lightly stomping on the whole to tamp it all down
And then you move on to the next one. Here is a whole line of the mounds that I have done.
After that, you let nature take her course. The strong survive.
You sow the seed in the fall or winter anytime after the first 3 frosts have occurred. I have found that for the most part, the seed sown in one year will not really come to fruition until the following year. Some do, but most will not be evident until the next year. My theory is that they need to pass a winter first. Nature tells them when to germinate & grow.
I have refined the sowing method from the above. Experience has taught me that I can cut certain steps out of the process. Now I take a hoe & use it to knock down & spread out the mound. Sprinkle the seed & there is no need to sprinkle dirt over the seed; just do the wildsowing dance & move on to the next one. The process goes a lot more quickly & it seems like the end results are every bit as good. I only need 1 bucket which is the one with the seed in it, and the hoe.
I have also just plain walked out there & free thrown seed. This does work but you will not get nearly the amount of germination as you do when sowing seed in direct contact with soil so you will be wasting a lot of seed which equals dollars.
We have the fields bush hogged around Sept. each year. The wildflowers do re-seed themselves and the bush hog helps to spread them around.
I began by primarily buying the wildflower mixes designed & sold for my region. I added individual species such as phlox, rudbeckia & tickseed as I wanted a lot of those. After the first 2 years of using the regional wildflower mixes, I learned what really worked here & what didn't and thereafter, I have only ordered seeds by individual species. More bang for your buck and not wasting time, money & effort on seed that won't work out in your particular circumstances.
Hindsight being 20/20, here's what I would do differently:
Starting with the first year, I would have bought & sown a whole lot more seed! I would have had far more wildflower coverage much faster.
Here's where I am in year 4.
The thread "Year 4 Wildflowers progress"
in Wildflowers forum