DIY Seed Balls – Throw and Grow the Love in Your Garden

After reading a LOT of information about genetically modified seeds, and in turn learning about ‘guerrilla gardening’, I was further led to the discovery of ‘seed balls.

Seed balls are sustainable, ecofriendly tools, initially created for ecological urban renewal. On a less serious note, they’re just a whole lot of fun!

Seed balls solve many of the problems loose seeds face before they have the chance to grow.

Wind can blow seeds away, birds or rodents might eat them, the sun can bake out their vitality, and excessive rain can carry them off. Seed balls protect them from all of that.

A seed ball is a little ecosystem that protects the seeds inside before they sprout. Essentially, it’s a ball of soil, clay and seeds, that when thrown, dropped, or placed in the spot where you’d like the seeds to grow, (and after it receives some moisture or rain), the seed ball acts like a micro-garden that slowly starts to break down as the seeds inside begin to emerge.

The seeds are then nurtured in that same pile of clay and nourishing soil. and because of this, seed germination from seed balls is very high!

So enamoured with the concept, I immediately set out to make some. In fact, over the last decade, I’ve made thousands, distributing them across North America, in packages of a dozen to individuals, and bulk quantities to be passed out at all kinds of events.

I also make them just for me.

By customizing the variety of plants every year, depending on what seeds I saved, I make a batch to throw on the steep hill beyond our back yard. It has beautified an underused space with flowers that encourage pollinators!

Anyone can make seedballs! Here’s how:

Before you begin, and I learned this the hard way so you don’t have to, this can be a messy project, especially if kids are involved, so to save time and aggravation, don’t wear your best clothes, and remove your rings! – Now for the recipe!

  1. Mix two parts soil, two parts dry powdered clay, and a whole lot of seeds.
  2. The varieties here include a range of drought tolerant native species harvested from my own garden. However, you can use any flower seed, herbs, fruit or veggie.
  3. Next step is to add water.  Not too much, or too quickly, but enough to make the mixture damp. Stir it in slowly. If the mix is too dry, it won’t hold together so add a bit more. If the soil and clay become overly wet, the seeds will sprout before your finished seedballs get a chance to dry, which means you can’t store them to use at a later date. If the clump holds together, but won’t ooze water if you squeeze it, then that’s the perfect consistency.
  4. Then, roll the small clump in your hands into the size of a meatball and place them on trays to dry. If you’re fortunate enough to have a grow light stand, put them under the lights overnight. They’ll be almost completely dry the next day. If not, it will take a couple of days. Put them next to a heat register if you have room.
  5. Just a note to tie in with step 1 – If you’re using sunflower seeds which are large in size, I’d suggest rolling the balls first, then manually pushing a few seeds inside after.

Once they’re completely dry, they can be packaged and given as gifts to friends and family! This is a great project for kids, too.

If you’re really feeling motivated and want to make more, how about getting creative? Use a candy/soap mold to make different shape seed balls!

I picked up a heart shaped chocolate mold at a local thrift shop and have used it for years to make the heart shaped seed balls. They’ve been a favourite choice for wedding favours and for non-profits to hand out to volunteers at events.

Just to add, they’re really popular this time of year as a Valentine’s Day gift. Enjoy, and grow some love!

 

 

 

The first flowers of spring – Friday Flowers – Crocus

Happy to share that the lovely little crocus flowers are holding their heads up high in the garden.

The first blooms in spring offer any gardener something to cheer about!

One clump of crocus has a view (of what I’m calling a small glacier) on the driveway.

Thankfully milder weather has arrived, so that snow is melting fast!

Crocus, like the narcissus flower, has its own connection to Classical Greek mythology.

It turns out Crocus was a mortal youth who, because he was unhappy with his love affair with a nymph named Smilax, he was turned into this plant by the gods.

In another variation of the myth, Crocus was said to be a companion of Hermes. He was accidentally killed by Hermes in a game of discus. He was so distraught about it that he transformed Crocus’ body into a flower.

A fitting tribute!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Earth Day while waiting for Spring

Earth Day, until this year, always leads me outside to celebrate a day close to my heart. I celebrate this important day in this little section of our lovely planet that I call my garden.

Every year I look forward to the clean dirt under my fingernails, the chance to snap photos of any life emerging beneath my feet, the sight of scent of flowers and buds, and the chance to tidy up of winter’s litter.

That activity includes ridding the garden of fallen branches, along with my yearly, somewhat meditative activity of flipping those Vole trails, (which look like miniature WW1 trenches), in the lawn back in to place with my feet.

Not so this year. To be in the garden right now means tromping through snow!

This is not my idea of fun, or my idea of any spring for that matter. (Even my cat Luna doesn’t want to go outside. Great minds think alike!)

The snowy photo here was taken just last weekend. As any of you fellow gardeners can likely relate, I was not a happy camper. 😉

Spring just isn’t willing to fully embrace me here in middle Ontario yet, and Mother Nature has not eliminated the snow in my garden.

My response? I’ve turned the other cheek, discarded all expectations of when my favourite season will actually arrive, took the bull by the horns, (along with a few dollars), and bought myself a lovely potted Primula, or as I like to call it, that little bit of spring to enjoy in the kitchen until I’m sure this winter is truly done.

Having said that, the day is holding some promise!

Currently, the sun is shining which in turn means the snow is melting. Things are looking up, pardon the pun. The temperature is actually above zero.. smiles all around!

On second thought, I’m going out and tromp around in the snow after all.

Enjoy and take care of your spot on our planet.

Happy Earth Day!