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Last Update 12/08/11

Guerilla Gardening Technique

How to Make Seed Bombs aka Seed Grenades, Seed "Green-Aids" or Seed Balls

A variation of this technique to promote foliage growth on barren sites was developed in 1973 by Liz Christy in New York City.

She had the idea of gathering members of her community together in the Lower East Side of the city to clean out, reclaim and replant vacant and abandoned lots. The organization she founded (the Green Guerillas) still exists today.

Liz Christy and the Green Guerillas original seed bombs were made of old Christmas tree ornaments and balloons filled with local wildflower seeds, water and fertilizer. The seed bombs were then thrown over fences of vacant lots where the seeds would germinate and eventually flower helping to beautify the scarred land.

 

According to Wikipedia, seed ball planting is an old technique developed in Japan and called Tsuchi Dango translated as Earth Dumpling. Basically seeds were mixed with mud, allowed to dry then planted in the fields. Masanobu Fukuoka, a Japanese microbiologist and soil scientist specializing in agricultural science reintroduced the technique in 1938.

Hard Seed Ball Recipe

Basic Ingredients:

5 Cups Dry Terracotta clay

3 Cups Dry Gardening Soil or Organic Compost

1 Cup of seeds*

1 - 2 Cups of water (preferably not tap) in a Spray Mister

Step 1: Sift Dry Terracotta clay through a strainer to remove large chunks

Step 2: Mix in Dry Soil or Compost

Step 3: Add seeds*

Step 4: Blend everything together well

Step 5: Mist water onto the mixture while stirring. Spray enough water to allow the mixture to stick/bind together.

Step 5: Take a healthy tablespoon of the finished mixture and roll (in the palm of your hand) into round balls.

Step 6: Put seed balls in the sun to dry completely for a day or two.

Step 7: Toss seed balls onto chosen area.

Step 8: Wait for rain to allow seeds to germinate.

Makes approximately 30 - 40 Seed Balls

 

* Any type of seed for the growing area may be used, but the use of seeds of plants native to the area to be seed bombed is highly recommended. Florida wildflower seeds may be purchased from the Florida Wildflowers Growers Cooperative in bulk or a more limited selection is available in individual packets. Please e-mail the Cooperative directly for further information regarding purchasing Florida Wildflower seeds.

The video below shows another seed ball making technique:

 

Wildflower Planting According to the Florida Department of Transportation, Environmental Management Office:

Under natural conditions, wildflower seed ripens and is dispersed by wind and animals in late summer, fall, and winter. Following the natural cycles for the wildflower seed will produce the best germination the next season. If the seed is planted at other times of the year, the percentage of germination will be lowered and the overall effect of the bloom period will be greatly reduced.

Recommended planting periods:

North Florida November/December

Central Florida December/January

South Florida January

Planting Techniques:

  1. Thin turf cover: Broadcast the wildflower seed over the area then rake or drag the area to obtain seed-to-soil contact.
  2. Average turf cover: Scalp the turf to 1 inch, remove the clippings, then
    Broadcast the seed over the area and replace the clippings evenly as a mulch.
    A mechanized seed drill can be used without removing the clippings.
  3. Heavy turf cover: Herbicide and let the area sit for 1 month. Scalp to 1 inch,
    Then follow stop number 2. The establishment of wildflowers is not recommended for areas of heavy turf and areas of excessive weed infestation. The use of a mechanized seed drill designed for planting wildflowers produces the best results.

 

 

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