Even the smallest space can become a nature sanctuary for a teeny somebody – converted from a barren desert of concrete, manicured grass, or exotic ornamental plants into a rich dynamic native ecosystem. Seedbombs, magical little fistfuls of compacted clay, compost, and native perennial wildflower seed, can help make this happen. Whip them up and covertly throw them into orphaned neighborhood spots. Over time, they’ll break down and abracadabra! Native plants will sprout up in place of dirt, weeds, and invasive species. Transform neglected land into green space. Toss some seedbombs out into the world.
Step 1. Gather ingredients and head outside with them. Be prepared to get dirty.
Step 2. To determine your soil type, do the squeeze test. If you have heavy clay soil, you are in luck since there will be no need for clay amendment in your seedbomb recipe. Just head to your orphaned plot of land and collect a bucket of soil. If your soil is sandy or loamy, however, you will need to add natural clay, terracotta clay powder, or air-dry clay (found in stream banks, health food stores, or art supply shops).
Step 3. Like making a mudpie, making a seedbomb is not an exact science. Use the recipe as a guide, but measurements needn’t be exact. If your soil is clay-like, omit the clay in the recipe. The mixture should be moist, but not wet. Knead it with your hands, being sure to incorporate all seeds. Roll it into 2 to 5 centimeter balls. Set them on a newspaper-lined baking sheet by a sunny window to dry for two days before using.
Step 4. Nicely packaged in a teeny bag, seedbombs make fantastic handmade gifts for friends, family, and deserving cello teachers. Include directions and a nice note or quote.
Step 5. Your seedbombs are ready to wreak havoc on green wastelands. Keep in mind that seed germination is highly dependent on water. Watch the weather. To ensure germination, scatter the seedbombs on the ground, or toss over a fence onto an empty lot – right before an early spring rainy spell. Then, just throw and they will grow. Rich in nutrients, the clay and compost aid in germination and help strengthen plant root systems.
Now, go scatter some seeds already!
Seedbomb recipe• 3 parts clay• 3 parts soil
• 1 part small native perennial seed
• 1 to 2 parts water (added in small amounts)
• Bucket and shovel• Baking sheet
• newspaperNote: To determine native plant species in your area, ask a botanist, local garden center expert, or smart butterfly. Small seeds work best for seedbombs. My seedbombs include (among other seeds) eastern red columbine, red milkweed, butterfly weed, New England aster, joepye weed, lanceleaf coreopsis, blazing star, wild bergamot, sweet coneflower, and rigid goldenrod – all Northeastern U.S. species. Select low-maintenance drought-tolerant native species that can thrive with intermittent care. Consider species that create habitats for other native critters like butterflies and birds. Choose your seeds wisely. You certainly do not want to select an invasive species that will threaten biodiversity.