Planting our Native Grass Meadow
Austin rented a tractor this week to plant a native grass meadow in our floodplain. This is what he does for work, so it’s neat to have a demonstration site in our own backyard. The cost of the planting is covered by our enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program, a governmental incentive program that is trying to take marginal floodplain land out of production and restore it for wildlife habitat and to protect water quality.
Maybe you’re wondering what grasses are considered native and why they are desirable to plant. The types of grasses we planted include Gamma Grass, Indian Grass, Little Bluestem, Big Bluestem, and Switchgrass. They are important wildlife habitat because these grasses all form clumps so birds like quail can easily run around between plants, protected. The grasses also have extraordinarily deep root systems so they’re especially helpful for stabilizing erosion-prone areas.
Because I have the inside scoop on these things (i.e. I’m married to the contractor), I know that you can also slip in wildflower seeds into the grass mix. So not only are we going to have native grasses, but we’ll also have a sprinkling in of everything from Coreopsis and Black-Eyed Susans to Gallardia, False Indigo and Partridge Pea.
[Originally posted on Midwayfarm.blogspot.com in 2010]