http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/1627/In 1973, a variation of this method of broadcasting seed was used to make 'seed bombs' to revitalize New York's Bowery neighborhood. (http://heavypetal.ca/tag/seedbomb/) Seed balls and bombs are also used by "Guerrilla gardeners." These are individuals that secretly plant various seeds in neglected public and private areas.
"Native Americans . . . carried their precious seeds within tiny balls made of clay and soil and hardened in the sun. There was little loss of seeds since they were encased within the clay balls. When they arrived at their destination, the clay balls were placed wherever needed, and with the spring rains and summer sunshine, they grew where they were placed. A garden was planted . . ."
RECLAIMING BARREN GROUND
Seed balls are a convenient way to reclaim a bare patch of land that is arid, has an unpredictable rainfall, and where the soil is thin and compacted. This method can also be used to furnish an area with plants that attract beneficial insects, transforming it into a wild garden. Wildflower and herb seeds are well-suited this method. Seed balls offer the flexibility of scattering the balls on a sunny day and allowing nature to decide when it is best to start the seedlings.
"We use a combo of wild flower, mustards, radish seeds and wheat to create a haven for beneficial insects. We sow the balls in winter in our next-door neighbor's yard. They had a long piece of bare ground adjacent to our garden that was full of weeds and bermuda grass *yuck*."
HOW THEY WORK
When enough water penetrates a seed ball, the clay content softens, and holds the water close to the seed as it sprouts. The seedling then draws upon the other nutrients in the seed ball to establish itself in the soil.
As the crop from one season matures, the seeds for the next season are formed into balls that can be scattered at harvest.
Because much less seed is used than in conventional growing, there are fewer plants. But these plants are stronger and reportedly have a higher yield.
HOW TO MAKE SEED BALLS: 1 * 3 * 5
Seed balls are made using a 1:3:5 formula -- 1 part seed mixture, 3 parts compost (manure or potting) soil, and 5 parts clay.
For additional protection from insects, you can include a 10% addition of some insect repelling herbs such as red chili pepper, cayenne, catnip, pennyroyal or peppermint -- or a combination of them.
SEED BALL RECIPE:
1 part seed mix : wildflowers are best, avoid seeds of invasive plants.
3 parts dry organic compost . . . can blend manure or potting soil with this.
10 percent insect repelling herbs (wear gloves when using pepper).
5 parts finely ground natural clay (terra cotta, gray or white)
2 parts water (added gradually)
This can be done following these approximate measurements to make about 30 seed balls:
1/3 cup seed mix
3/4 cup compost
1 tbsp repellent herbs (wear gloves if using pepper)
1 1/4 cups clay
Mix the seeds into the dry compost by hand. Then add the clay to the mix and blend everything by hand until well-incorporated. Use gloves if you've added cayenne pepper to your mix. Mist water onto the mixture while stirring, just enough water to allow the mixture to bind together to the consistency of cookie dough.
Roll the moistened mixture into penny-sized round balls about the size of a marble. Once this is done, place the balls into the sun and allow them to dry completely for a day or two (24 to 48 hours).
When ready, the seed balls can be placed onto the ground you wish to seed. Place 1 ball per square foot of soil (9 balls per yard, 10 balls per meter). Consider bare spots that lack vegetation: driveways, exposed tree roots, etc. The process will begin with the first soaking rain . . . or as you decide to water them.
LETTING NATURE DO THE WORK
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