ASK MARTHA: Seed Bombs
Seed bombs are mixed-seed marvels: they are a quick way to plant a flower meadow and can be used in many ways. Follow our simple step-by-step instructions to create these prolific gifts in your garden.
Question: Hi Martha, What is a seed bomb and how do I make one?
Martha Stewart: Seed bombs are mixed-seed marvels: they are a quick way to plant a flower meadow and can be used in many ways – directly on the ground, in a raised bed, a neglected corner of your garden, or even containers – and it’s a fun activity for kids or great to give as gifts to give to family and friends. Follow our simple step-by-step instructions to create these prolific gifts for the garden.
Wildflower seeds are very popular for this planting method. You can use seeds from your garden or purchase seed packs. It’s best to use seeds that are native to your area and non-invasive. You can also use vegetable seeds, such as peas or beans and even herb seeds.
WHAT ARE SEED BOMBS?
The technique of encasing seeds within a layer of clay is ancient, and more recently it was adopted and popularized by Masanobo Fukuoka in his ‘do-nothing agriculture’ practice.
Seed bombs (also known as seed balls) are a mixture of seed, compost, and clay. The clay helps bind the mix together, but more importantly, clay acts as a protection against being eaten by predators. Encasing seeds in a clay mixture can also aid the germination and growth of the seeds.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
2. Clay powder (found in craft stores), or non-scented kitty litter (see note)
3. Water (in pitcher or squeeze bottle)
4. Bowls or buckets for mixing
5. Tray for rolling seeds onto balls
6. Egg tray for drying seed balls
8. Nitrile gloves (optional)
9. Soil scoop (optional)
10. Strainer (optional)
Martha’s tip - You can use non-scented kitty litter since it is primarily clay and may be easier to find and less expensive.
1. Break up any clumps in clay and compost (use a strainer, if needed). You want the mixture to have some texture, but no big lumps.
2. Measure compost and clay and put in individual bowls or buckets.
Note: The compost to clay ratio varies, but the general rule of thumb is 2 parts compost to 3 parts clay.
Mix compost and clay and allow time for clay to absorb the moisture in the compost. Add water as needed to make a moist, rollable consistency.
3. Form balls. Spread seeds on a plate or pan and roll balls in the seeds, gently pressing the seeds to ensure adherence to the moist mixture.
There are two methods you can use to incorporate seeds:
● Add seeds to compost and clay mixture and then form the balls.
● Form balls and then roll them in seeds. Be sure to firm the seeds into the mixture. Seeds need light to germinate, and this method helps ensure a good result.
Set balls aside to dry for a few hours until seeds are set. Dried seed balls will keep in a cool, dry place for at least a year.
4. Once they are dry, have fun planting your seed bombs. Toss them into bare patches of your garden or place them in specific areas of your garden beds or even planting them in containers. It’s up to you!
Martha’s tip - An empty egg carton is a good place to store the balls while they dry.
Article by Martha Stewart, as part of the Growing with Martha Stewart partnership.