For sale – Kidney Vetch Wildflower Seed Mixture
Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria) is my favourite part of the seed mixture because it’s so good for wild insects as a source of nectar and pollen. On ebay I’m selling it for 99p + 40 pence p+p [LINK to ebay] – or you can buy several packets from me direct (please email me: Jason Ball @ Natureheads.com).
This seed mix was harvested from an outstanding Oxfordshire wildflower meadow. It’s as natural as you can get – with seed pods and odd bits of dried plant litter – so you’re getting the combination of wildflowers and wild grasses that were actually growing in the pasture (gorgeous Yellow Rattle for example).
Content weight: approximately 3 grams in each packet.
Great for wildlife
I call this wildflower seed mixture ‘Small Blue mix‘ because Kidney Vetch is the foodplant for the caterpillar of the Small Blue butterfly. Small Blue is on the priority list for UK Biodiversity and the famous wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation. You can download a Small Blue factsheet from the Butterfly Conservation website.
Bees just love Kidney Vetch and when you see bumblebees delving into the vetch for nectar, you can see how well adapted the flowers are – it fits snugly, and daubs the visitor with pollen. This and other members of the pea family – like Gorse – are important nectar sources in May and early June. Wildlife gardeners know that wild bees need our help, and they are so useful to a garden, as pollinators.
Kidney Vetch likes alkaline/limey conditions and it does best as a coloniser of bare patches and gravelly areas. It even germinates in the hoofprints left by cattle, the ideal grazing companion. Beware – they get eaten out by sheep and rabbits.
Because this is a mixture of seeds it could be something you sow anywhere, but alkaline soils, and especially chalky soils will be best.
I’ve been very pleased to see Kidney Vetch has successfully germinated in a ‘butterfly scrape’ which I excavated to expose bare chalk. I raked over the ground to create a shallow seed bed. After sprinkling the seed I raked it over again and stamped over the whole area to ensure good seed-soil contact. Watering is a good idea, of course, or sow when plenty of rain is due.