For pollinators and other animals, flowers and plants are a vital part of life all around the world. There are many types of bees and bats that call the Northwest home and bee-friendly gardens can help bee populations survive! But with increasing development and urban growth, it can be hard to find native plants and flowers growing.
To combat the problem of empty lots and grassy easements in cities, some have taken to making and distributing seed bombs! Seed bombing, also known as aerial reforestation by some, is a technique to introduce vegetation to land. Seed bombs are small balls made of clay, compost, and seeds and once made, these seed bombs can be thrown or dropped on land in the hopes that they’ll eventually grow! They can be used in a variety of places too: gardens, yards, urban green roofs, grassy and vacant lots, along trails, and unmaintained lots.
Masanobu Fukuoka (1913-2008) is often credited as the father of modern seeding bombing. As a Japanese farmer, Fukuoka focused on natural farming and would grow vegetables like wild plants. His methods were simple and produced almost no pollution; seed bombing was an important part of that! If you’d like to learn more about Fukuoka and his work, check out One-Straw Revolution.
Making Your Own Seed Bombs
What you need will depend on what kind of seed bombs you want to make and what flowers/plants you want to make. If you go with the clay method, you’ll need:
- Clay (air dry or red)
- Native Seeds
Having a flat spot where things can get messy (like an outdoor table or an old table cloth) can help! After all, you’ll be dealing with seeds, dirt, and so much more.
Step One: What To Plant
The first step in this process is deciding what plants and flowers you want to use in your seed bombs. It’s important to be selective about what kind of seeds you do use, in part because native plants are more likely to grow from seed bombs. Additionally, using seeds for native plants will help the local ecosystem and wildlife.
Native plants to your area will depend on where you live. In the Pacific Northwest, native flowers include Oregon wildflower, western pasque flower, mountain arnica, arrowleaf balsamroot, camas, fireweed, field chickweed, woolly sunflower, and so much more. There are plenty of online resources that can help you learn what kind of seeds to use and where to find them!
Step Two: When to Make and Plant
As you might imagine, springtime is the best time to toss any seed bombs you might make. Heavy rain will help the seeds germinate and the longer days mean more sun for the plants.
Step Three: Make the Seed Bombs!
There are many recipes for making seed bombs. Some use air-dry clay while others use red clay. There are others that use recycled paper! If you go with clay and soil, you’ll want 4 parts clay to 1 part potting soil to 1 part flower seeds. Some blogs recommend mixing and kneading everything together before dividing into small sizes and making it into small balls.
Here are some step by step instructions from different blogs:
DIY Seed Bombs Recipe: An Easy Garden Hack from HelloNature
DIY: Make Your Own Wildflower Seed Bombs by Kendra Wilson, Gardenista
How to Make Seed Bombs – Easy Kid Made Seed Bombs Recipe from Natural Beach Living