The short version…..For a more detail see Planning Your Prairie
Planting Instructions for Small Spaces
With a little patience, starting a Prairie Garden can be a rewarding process. Transforming a site into a colorful space for biological activity and discovering new species as the seasons progress can be a delightful experience.
The more time you can spend on preparation, the more successful the planting. The goal is to reduce as many weeds and weed seeds as possible. You can accomplish this by non selective herbicide applications, tilling, smothering or solarization. In a lawn area, you can simply remove the sod, put on a little top soil or compost and till it in. If you use smothering, herbicide or solarization, you will also want to till the area to allow good seed to soil contact.
You may sow your seed in spring or fall. Do not attempt to sow seed in the summer as it is more likely to die of heat and desiccation in our summer weather. Fall seeding allows perennial seeds to break dormancy over the winter months. Our Prairie Pronto Mix, however, contains species that have fewer dormancy requirements than most native perennials so that you will see some results in the first year, even if you plant in the spring. That said, you may keep this new planting mowed to 4 to 6 inches in the first year to prevent weed seed from moving in. Pulling weeds may dislodge the plants you want to keep, so mowing is a better option. Many more plants will come up in the second year and may crowd out many of the weeds. If desired another mowing or two in the second year can be tolerated to keep weeds down.
Sowing the seed
Place a small amount of sand, vermiculite, rice hulls, or other filler in a bucket. Dump in your seed and additional filler and mix well with your hands. Save half of this mixture in another bucket. Using one half of the mixture,spread the seed by hand or with a hand crank grass seeder over your entire prepared seed bed. Then repeat with the second half of the seed. By spreading half at a time, you will be sure not to run out of seed before you have covered the entire area.