This spring on Tullamore Farm, there is a focus being placed on pollinators and wildlife in general.
The aim is to protect habitats already there, create new habitats and increase pollinator numbers.
There are plenty of grass margins on the farm and these margins and verges will not be mowed or treated with pesticides.
Plants that grow naturally, such as dandelions, daisies, vetch and grasses, can provide plenty of food for pollinators and corridors for wildlife to travel along.
Dedicating an area to wildflowers and grasses
There is a small paddock on the farm which is not in use for most of the year and so it was decided this area would be dedicated to biodiversity on the farm.
In the short video below, Tullamore Farm manager Shaun Diver describes how this project came about and what it entailed.
Two options were considered - leaving the paddock the way it was and letting nature take its course; or reseeding the paddock with a mixture of species.
There were quite a lot of docks in the paddock and it was decided that it would be reseeded. The rams were brought in to graze off the paddock, which was then ploughed.
After ploughing, the area was rotavated and once a few stones were picked, the seedbed was ready.
A mixture of wildflowers, grasses and clover was planted.
It is very important to note that the seeds planted are native Irish wildflowers and the seeds are also Irish.
Imported seed and non-native flowers can interfere with the natural eco-system.
Sowing the wildflowers
The mixture of wildflowers and grasses had a seeding rate of 2g/m2.
The amounts are very small, so it is sometimes best to weigh out a small amount and measure an area, so maybe weigh 10g and spread this seed over 5m2.
The seeds were broadcast on top of the seedbed and rolled to ensure good seed-to-soil contact for establishment.
What was in the seed mixture?
The seed mixture contains a mixture of plants such as bird's foot trefoil, corn marigold, meadow buttercup, ox-eye daisy, poppy, red clover, wild carrot and plantain.
The area will be left to grow naturally and we may also try to make some homes for bees around the area by drilling holes in fencing posts or building bee hotels.