All you need to know about the newest innovation in the gardening world. In our ever-expanding cement jungle, greenery is disappearing and disappearing fast. It puts those living in highly populated, metropolitan cities at risk of developing several severe diseases due to increased carbon dioxide emissions and soil erosion. It also destroys the habitats of many species of both plants and animals, causing a massive imbalance.

A Very Brief History

Its popularity is in part thanks to Japanese plant scientist, farmer, and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka, who rediscovered a technique that dates back to ancient Egypt in order to boost the yield from his farms. It involved creating small seed bombs, also known as seed balls. These were seeds rolled into balls of a clay-soil mixture and they would be introduced to vacant land to introduce vegetation there. This unconventional reforestation method was initially introduced to the general public in the 1930s, during a time when planes were used to distribute seeds over grounds otherwise tricky to access.

Seed Bombs Today

In recent times, the process of seed bombing was further popularised by green movements such as guerilla gardening, in which enthusiastic gardeners grow fruits or flowers on land they don’t own—like abandoned sites and plots that have been left vacant for years.

Public interest in seed bombing has snowballed since it’s easy to prepare and carry out and actively combats global warming. Many people worldwide are now making and deploying seed bombs, working hard to reforest otherwise abandoned patches of land. Not to mention, it’s very gratifying to come back later and be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. (Pun very much intended.)

But has it yielded any significant results?

It most certainly has. Since a layer of clay shields the seeds in the ball, it protects them from birds and the danger of floating away in cases of extreme rain. And so, through seed balls, it’s now possible to reintroduce native tree species that have been cleared from their environments. They can also bring back wildflowers which help the currently declining bee community thrive. They have been incredibly helpful in breathing life back into empty land across a number of countries, including India, Kenya, and the US.

How to Make Your Own

Since there’s been such a spike in their popularity, you can now buy various seed balls and kits from online stores and horticultural ones. But nothing beats the feeling of making one yourself from scratch, and it’s easy! Here’s how:

Prep

The three main materials you’ll need are clay, compost, and seeds. Screening the clay and sifting the compost to remove stones and other things will help you get a firmer ball. The more biologically active the compost is, the better the seeds can grow—composting in bins and using worms to decompose your organic kitchen waste helps make your compost rich in beneficial microbes.

Ingredients

You’ll need five parts pottery clay, two parts soil and one to two parts water, and one part of your choice of seeds. (You’ll want to choose seeds that grow well in poor soil environments.) Get a large tub to mix these ingredients and a large box to dry and store your seed balls.

Directions

  • First, we’ll mix the soil, compost and 1 part water well, without lumps. Slowly add in more water until the consistency of the mixture is thick and well combined.
  • Next, we’ll add the seeds and knead the doughy mixture well, adding in more water if necessary. The consistency should be that of thick, pliable dough.
  • Then, we’ll take bits of our soil dough and roll them into balls about an inch thick. They should be able to hold shape easily, but if they’re crumbling, just add a bit more water and mix again.
  • With the balls rolled and ready, place them one centimetre apart in the large box you’ve prepared and let them dry for a day or two.
  • Once the balls have dried for 48 hours, they’re good to use!

Seed bombs are making quite the difference—they’re easy to prepare, fun to throw, and are helping the environment, which indirectly improves your quality of life as well. The best part of making them yourself has to be how you get to decide what seeds to put in. Most people put in a combination of grains, such as companion plants that grow well together. This way, they help each other grow well, assisting in soil enrichment and pollination.

Come back to visit one of the places you tossed a seed bomb in a year or two later, and you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise. What are you waiting for? Gather the things you need and start rolling!

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References:

“Seed ball”, Wikipedia

Retrieved from  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seed_ball

“What Are Seed Balls?”, Conserve-Energy-Future.com

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