How to Make Seed Balls With Kids
Making seed balls is a great activity for kids. It's fun, easy for little hands to do, and introduces little ones to gardening at an early age. Seed ball recipes can be altered simply by changing the seeds for whatever type of plants you wish. If you want to plant wildflowers to benefit pollinators, you can use seeds for native plants. Or, if you prefer, you can use birdseed to make seed balls that will produce a bird buffet in your own backyard!
We'll get to the recipe in just a bit, but first let's learn about what seed balls are and why they work. Using seed balls is a great way to teach kids about the importance of native plants and the environment. It also helps to reseed the landscape and can be adapted to meet the environmental needs of any community.
What is a Seed Ball?
A seed ball is a small ball, about the size of a marble, made of clay, soil, and seeds. Sometimes called Seed Bombs, seed balls are used to replant native flowers and other plants in areas that the natural plants have been destroyed by man or mother nature. Using seed balls is a more effective way to reseed the landscape because it solves many problems that are common with traditional seed broadcasting.
With traditional broadcasting, the seed is sown on top of the soil where it is often blown or washed away, baked by the sun, or eaten by birds and other wildlife before it has a chance to germinate and grow.
Using seed balls addresses these issues because the clay protects the seeds from foragers and the sun, and makes them heavy enough to withstand wind and rain.
How do Seed Balls work?
Seed balls work by preserving enough moisture for the seeds to germinate. Once the seeds begin to grow, the ball breaks apart and the pieces begin to establish the root system for the plant. The new plants provide shade to preserve more moisture and the plants soon begin to mature. These mature plants produce their own seeds and provide shelter for the second generation of seeds fall to the ground. From there, the regrowth continues until the landscape is restored.
Seed Ball Recipe:
2 parts potting soil
5 parts pottery clay mix
1 - 2 parts water as desired
1 - 2 parts wildflower seeds or seeds of your choice
Large tub to mix ingredients
Box to dry and store seed balls
Mix soil, clay, and 1 part water thoroughly until there are no lumps. Add more water as needed to create consistency similar to kid's modeling "dough".
Add seeds and knead until the seeds are well mixed in, adding more water as necessary.
Break off small chunks and roll into balls about 1 inch in diameter. If the balls fall apart, add more water.
Allow the seed balls to dry in a shady area for 24 - 48 hours.
Once dry, you are ready to sow or store them. They store best in a cardboard box in a shady area. Do not use plastic bags.
To sow your seeds, gently place or toss them in the area to be planted. No need to bury them or water them, mother nature takes care of the rest!
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