One of the most interesting gardening trends gaining popularity right now is the concept of guerrilla gardening. Like its name implies, guerrilla gardening involves planting flowers and edible plants in public or private areas (often in a sneaky, undetectable way) as a way to increase visual appeal and provide a free food source. These areas are most often vacant lots, roadsides or neglected flower beds. Motivated by a love of nature and a touch of rebelliousness, these modern day Johnny Appleseeds have developed a clever way of dispersing their payload in the form of a “seed bomb”. While I don’t condone any illegal gardening practices here at Nature’s Seed, I believe making seed bombs for use on your own land, or in areas where permission has been granted, is a fun activity for everybody and a great way to get children interested in the joys of gardening.
What Are Seed Bombs?
Seed bombs, also known as seed balls, are basically a mix of clay, compost and seeds rolled into a small dry ball. They are very easy to make and even easier to plant. Seed bombs can be thrown, dropped or buried into the desired area. Once exposed to moisture, the clay breaks down and the seeds begin to germinate in the compost, eventually growing a patch of flowers. This is known as the classic seed ball, a method re-invented by Japanese farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka. His work with seed balls was inspired by an ancient agricultural practice in which seeds for the next season’s crops were mixed into clay and compost, rolled into balls and planted the following year.
What You'll Need
First, you’ll need some clay. This can be soil with high clay content, potter’s powder or even Crayola brand air-dry clay. Most art supply stores will carry these natural earth clays. Next, you’ll need to find some compost. This can be decomposed matter from a compost pile or worm castings. Finally, the most important ingredient is the seeds. Our wildflower seed blends are the best choice for seed bombing purposes. Blends can be selected based on climate and adaptability and contain many native species that attract beneficial pollinators.
How to Make Seed Bombs
Once you’ve gathered all the necessary ingredients you’ll need to mix them in a large bowl. Place the clay, compost and seeds into the bowl at a ratio of 5 parts clay, 1 part compost and 1 part wildflower seeds. Add some water and begin hand mixing until the ingredients reach a mud pie-like consistency. Be careful not to add too much water or you’ll be unable to form the mix into balls. Once the mix has been blended together and at the right consistency, begin forming small palm-sized balls by rolling the mix in your hands. Place the seed balls on newspaper or a cookie sheet and let them dry in the sun. You now have a full arsenal of seed bombs.
How to Use Seed Bombs
To plant a seed bomb, it’s not necessary to bury it since most wildflower seeds will germinate just fine on the soil surface. Simply throw or drop the ball in the desired area and wait. Eventually the clay will break down leaving the seeds and compost. Drop your seed bombs in the spring or fall when the weather is typically wetter and better for germinating wildflower seed.
Making seed bombs can be a fun activity, especially for children. They’re also a great way for gardeners of all ages to quickly plant areas of their landscape with little effort. As for the legality and ethics of guerrilla gardening, it’s hard for me to understand why anybody would have a problem with taking an ugly, neglected area and turning it into a beautiful garden. Still, it’s important to respect the property rights of others, so seek permission before doing any seed bombing not on your own property.