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If we throw mother nature out the window, she comes back in the door with a pitchfork.

~ Masanobu Fukuoka ~

Seed Balls - Fun to Make & Fun to Give

Have you completed all your holiday gift shopping? Or have you not even started yet? Struggling with what to give on a tight budget? Looking for something different and special for those who are dear to you?

I have an idea - Seed Balls!

Surely, even the fullest stocking has a little room left for a home-made gift. Even the youngest elf can, with a little help, create a unique and practical present. Offered in an old tin can or wrapped in a shiny piece of gift foil with a bow, seed balls are sure to delight anyone lucky enough to find them under the tree.

A Little History

Seeds, especially those from crop and medicinal plants have been valued highly all through human history. Entire cultures and tribes depended on successfully managing their stores from one season to another. Have you ever wondered how seeds were stored before the advent of envelopes and zip-lock baggies?

Seed balls make storing and transporting seeds simple and convenient. They effectively prevent seeds from blowing away or being eaten by birds and other animals, and, last but not least, provide a near-perfect mini-environment for starting seeds in less than perfect conditions.

Propagation via seed balls is an ancient technique that was re-introduced by Masanobu Fukuoka, a noted Japanese scientist and farmer who devoted his life to developing a unique organic farming system that does not require weeding, pesticide or fertilizer applications or tilling.

The Recipe and Instructions

Simply, seed balls are seeds mixed with clay, compost, and a little water, then formed into small balls. You will need:

  • 1 part seeds - any seeds will do - group by type (veggies, herbs, annuals, perennials, sun, shade, etc ). If seeds are tiny, use less!
  • 3 parts dried compost
  • 5 parts dried powdered clay - ask in your local art supply store, this is the clay that potters use but you do not want the pre-mix, you want the powdered version
  • 1 to 2 parts water - enough to dampen the mix and make forming balls easy and practical
  • bucket or other container for mixing
  • trays, paper or cardboard for storage while drying

Mix together all the dry ingredients, add enough water to form a mix that holds together without crumbling but isn't so wet that it won't roll into balls.
Pinch off a bit of dough and roll in the palm of your hand to make a ball approximately the size of a malt ball. Set out in single layer and dry for a day or two. Pack up as desired for gift-giving. Attach tags identifying the type of seeds and planting instructions.
Planting Instructions: Scatter seed balls onto area to be planted. Water or wait for rain to allow seeds to germinate.


December in the Garden:

Gift Ideas - one for the gardener on your list and one for yourself!

Whimsical Stakes:
Unusual Bird Feeders
Tuned Wind Chimes :