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Seed Bombs!

Throw a seed bomb at the ground and watch the flowers grow!  Seed bombs are little nuggets of clay, compost, and native seeds that you throw at the ground.  You can throw them in your yard or in a neglected space to help turn it into a flowering wonderland.  Plant your seed bombs in Spring, Summer and early Fall and make them out of flower, herb, or even vegetable seeds.  You just make'em and throw'em! When you throw your seed bomb, it will break apart as it hits the ground and a gentle rain will soon help the seeds begin to grow.   Watch the video below to find out how.

According to Sean Sheppard, of The Backyard Farmer in Richmond, Virginia, "plants are tough.  We often see them busting out of the sidewalk or through an impossible crack in a building, but they manage.  Our seed bombs are basically a start-up for the plant, providing nutrient rich (from the compost and azomite) but stable (from the clay) growing medium.  If the plant can germinate and use the nutrients in the seed bomb to stay alive for a few weeks, it will eventually find other sources of water and nutrients as it gets bigger and stronger."

Making seed bombs is a great activity to do at home or at school.  Here is the Backyard Farmer's favorite recipe for

Making Your Own Seed Bombs:

Ingredients:  Powdered/micronized clay, organic compost, a blend of micro nutrients (Azomite), seeds, water.

Tools/Equipment:  Tarp or plastic sheet, watering can or hose, trays to hold your finished seed bombs.

Directions: This recipe makes roughly 200 seed bombs, each about the same diameter as a half-dollar coin.

Recommended Types of Seeds:   Pumpkin, Sunflower, Marigold, Celosia, Basil, Dill, Black-eyed Susan

Set Up: 

  • Lay out a tarp or other plastic over an outside table.  Remember, dirt and water is involved so things will get a bit messy.
  • Take 10 lbs of micronized/powdered clay and 10 lbs of organic compost and make 2 separate piles.
  • Take 1 lb of Azomite or other micro nutrient supplement and make another pile.

Assembly:

  • Take equal parts of powdered/micronized clay and organic compost.
  • Add 1/10th part Azomite or other micronized micro-nutrient fertilizer.
  • Dry mix all parts together.
  • Sprinke seeds into dry-mix.
  • Add enough water to dampen mix.
  • Work ingredients into a ball, similar to making a snow ball.
  • Let dry for up to 3 days.

Next, take them outside and throw and watch them grow!

Tell me about your own seed bomb making experience by emailing dmickle@ideastations.org or submitting a comment below.

Additional resources on Seed Bombs:

How to Make Seed Bombs- a video by Ivy Press

A Book on Seed Bombs  by author Josie Jeffrey, presents 13 recipes for seed bombs, some designed to attract wildlife, others to create gorgeous colors and scents.  The book also explores the history of seedbombs (they go back to ancient China) and the benefits to the environment.

A wonderful children's book, Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney (1982) follows the life story of Miss Alice Rumphius, a woman who sought to make the world more beautiful, and found it in planting wildflowers.

Article by Debbie Mickle, Science Matters Project Manager