We usually recommend reading seed packets before planting, but if you’re feeling a little wild and want to break the mold, these seed bombs might be the thrill your inner guerrilla gardener is looking for!
What Are Seed Bombs?
Seed bombs are a loose and unregimented way of planting typically used for barren landscapes. It involves making little cakes or balls filled with compost, clay, and seeds and throwing them at hard-to-reach areas. These places might belong to you; maybe they don’t.
The History Of Seed Bombs
While guerrilla gardeners have been using them to add vegetation to dull urban areas since the 1970s, seed bombs go way back. They were used in ancient Egypt to restore farmland after the Nile’s springtime floods. And in ancient Japan, they were called Tsuchi Dango, which translates to Earth Dumpling.
Why Use Seed Bombs?
Seed bombs are perfect if you’re into natural farming. If you’ve got some areas of your garden looking bare, make some bombs and let them go.
But why even bother making seed bombs? Can’t you haphazardly scatter some seeds on the ground and see what happens?
While you can try, seeds are light, and the wind can easily pick them up and bring them elsewhere. Combining them with compost and clay gives them some substance to weigh them down into the ground.
Plus, seed bombs are fun to throw.
I’m in the midst of a massive landscaping project at our new house and have a lot of space to fill. I’m going for the native garden look, nothing too manicured. Seed bombs seem like a good way to fill a few pockets of the yard with wildflowers!
The Seed Bomb Recipe
I found this easy recipe for clay-based seed bombs in Garden Alchemy: 80 Recipes and Concoctions for Organic Fertilizers, Plant Elixirs, Potting Mixes, Pest Deterrents, and More by Stephanie Rose.
Rose recommends using a pinch of seeds in each bomb, the number you can easily pick up with your thumb and forefinger.
If you’re using smaller seeds, this could be around 10 per bomb. If you’re going with sunflowers or seeds of larger size, this could mean only two per bomb.
You will need:
- 5 parts compost
- 1 part bentonite clay
- Mix the compost and clay in a bowl. Add just enough water so that the mixture sticks together.
- Roll into small balls about the size of a Canadian loonie.
- Press a pinch of seeds into the ball and roll again between your hands.
- To make the seed bombs extra pretty, you can roll the balls into a tray of dried flower petals.
- Let the seed bombs dry in a cool, dry place. They’re ready to throw once completely hardened.
When selecting seeds for your bombs, ensure they’re native to your area. Never introduce a native species to the region. Not cool.
Also, seed bombs work best when used during the rainy season. If it doesn’t often rain where you are, water weekly.
This is where the fun part begins. Grab a slingshot or warm up your throwing arm and launch these suckers into the desired space. If they break apart on impact, that’s a good thing.
Seed bombs also make a lovely gift idea and look especially nice when rolled in dried flowers.