Sow a Grass & Chamomile Lawn

  • The chamomile scent is wonderful when lying on the lawn in the corner. This photo was taken in spring.
    The chamomile scent is wonderful when lying on the lawn in the corner. This photo was taken in spring. 
  • This is a before pic from the end of the preceding summer.
    This is a before pic from the end of the preceding summer. 
  • A paddling pool formed the circle. Rake off all the dead plant matter. Mow on the lowest setting. Rake again. Aim to expose bare earth.
    A paddling pool formed the circle. Rake off all the dead plant matter. Mow on the lowest setting. Rake again. Aim to expose bare earth. 
  • Broadcast grass seeds.
    Broadcast grass seeds. 
  • Find some chamomile seeds. They can be bought online if you can't harvest them as shown here. This stand of chamomile is ready for harvesting.
    Find some chamomile seeds. They can be bought online if you can't harvest them as shown here. This stand of chamomile is ready for harvesting. 
  • Collecting the seeds is the first trim. Come back each week and trim a little more off until the stand is about handwidth high. Maintain this over winter until the plants take off again in spring.
    Collecting the seeds is the first trim. Come back each week and trim a little more off until the stand is about handwidth high. Maintain this over winter until the plants take off again in spring. 
  • Chamaemelum nobile seeds.
    Chamaemelum nobile seeds. 
  • Broadcast chamomile seeds. Don't bother with removing the seeds from the stalks. If you've bought seeds then mix them with some sand to help scatter them evenly.
    Broadcast chamomile seeds. Don't bother with removing the seeds from the stalks. If you've bought seeds then mix them with some sand to help scatter them evenly. 
  • Dump some compost or top soil onto the seeds.
    Dump some compost, or top soil, onto the seeds. 
  • Spread the compost with a lute or the back of a rake. In this case we're just doing the pool circle but it could be a good excuse to top dress the entire lawn.
    Spread the compost with a lute or the back of a rake. In this case we're just doing the pool circle but it could be a good excuse to top dress the entire lawn. 
  • Go a little beyond the bare area. Done well the area should be very level.
    Go a little beyond the bare area. Done well the area should be very level. 
  • Scatter more grass seeds. I like some below, some above. Those below may be too deep to germinate, those above may get eaten by birds. I win either way.
    Scatter more grass seeds. I like some below, some above. Those below may be too deep to germinate, those above may get eaten by birds. I win either way. 
  • Shuffle over the ground stamping the earth and seeds together. Seeds require good contact with the soil to germinate well.
    Shuffle over the ground stamping the earth and seeds together. Seeds require good contact with the soil to germinate well. 
  • Tidy time! The dead grass raked off can be used to hide the sown seeds from thieving birds.
    Tidy time! The dead grass raked off can be used to hide the sown seeds from thieving birds. 
  • Lightly cover the seeds with a thin layer of dead grass.
    Lightly cover the seeds with a thin layer of dead grass. 
  • Water for five minutes. Baby plants require baby watering. Water as often as required to keep the surface damp.
    Water for five minutes. Baby plants require baby watering. Water as often as required to keep the surface damp. 
  • Two weeks later. An area with many chamomile seedlings and few grass.
    Two weeks later. An area with many chamomile seedlings and few grass. 
  • Two weeks later. An area with many grass seedlings and few chamomile.
    Two weeks later. An area with many grass seedlings and few chamomile. 
  • Two weeks later. Chamomile growing from a cutting. This may happen if you collect your chamomile seeds by trimming from an existing plant as shown at the beginning of this tutorial. Also note the worm castings which will feed the lawn and indicate that the soil is being aerated for optimal root growth.
    Two weeks later. Chamomile growing from a cutting. This may happen if you collect your chamomile seeds by trimming from an existing plant as shown at the beginning of this tutorial. Also note the worm castings which will feed the lawn and indicate that the soil is being aerated for optimal root growth. 
  • Three weeks after sowing.
    Three weeks after sowing. 
  • Five weeks after sowing.
    Five weeks after sowing. 
  • Six weeks after sowing.
    Six weeks after sowing. 

To sow a chamomile and grass lawn, throw some seeds on bare soil, cover with a little soil, and water. The chamomile that I use is Chamaemulum nobile (Roman Chamomile). This works very well in a lawn with grass. The grass can handle lots of foot traffic, and the chamomile smells great. Every year I put up a paddling pool for summer. It leaves behind a circle of dead grass and bare dirt. This article shows how I remedy this. Follow the slideshow, above, for step-by-step instructions.

For best results keep the soil damp. This may mean watering several times a day for a minute or two. A sprinkler with a timer is your friend! Baby plants have shallow roots which can only reach water near the surface. Allow the new grass and chamomile to grow, until the grass is tall enough that it starts to bend rather than go straight up, then mow. This might be 7cm to 10cm high. Water less often, but for longer. Try 25mm a week (including rain) in temperate regions during the warmer half of the year. Mow on the highest setting until the turf is dense and then lower the mower setting each week until the desired height is achieved. Mowing too short, too early, or too fast, will hurt the baby plants and you may end up with bare patches and weed infiltration. Because chamomile spreads via stolons it will fill gaps. For turf management follow the lawn care link below. The ratio of grass to chamomile will be what it is. You may find that the ratio changes over time as the plant best suited achieves dominance. Chamomile won't produce flowers if mown regularly.

Further reading:-
Chamaemelum nobile is an article I've written on the plant along with photos of it in various stages of growth.
Plant a Chamomile Lawn inspired me to try creating a chamomile lawn. A useful article if you want a pure chamomile lawn. It also talks about the different types of chamomile. Jane Wrigglesworth (the author) responds to all the comments on her blog. The comments are also worth reading as she may answer questions that you didn't know that you had.
Organic Lawn Care for the Cheap and Lazy is how I care for my chamomile lawn, and lawns generally.
Chamomile Seeds from Kings Seeds in New Zealand. One packet of 2000 seeds for 15m2 (the area of the pool in the slideshow) is enough. Mix with fine sand, or sugar, to make it easier to broadcast evenly.

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