For as long as I can remember, the Arizona desert, where I grew up, was better at keeping plants alive that I was. To say I had a “black thumb” was an understatement. I’m pretty sure I actually killed a potted cactus when I was 14.
This began to change in my mid 20’s. By the time I was 25, I was able to keep an established pothos alive. You’ve seen a pothos even if you don’t know what it’s called….every house has at least one because they’re really hard to kill.
I was so proud of this milestone! Next, I bought an orchid at the grocery store and somehow kept it alive for a few years…..I was SHOCKED when I started hearing stories about how hard they are to keep alive! I officially had a “Grey thumb” at this point:
I’ve tried planting seeds many times over the past few years but every time they reach about an inch tall, they die. I’m not sure why or how, maybe I’m still having issues with my “grey thumb.”
Recently, I heard about a “guerrilla farming technique” called seed bombs and it’s been used by farmers for a very long time. You can imagine my excitement when I found out that it basically takes all of the hard work out of establishing a seedling! Foolproof farming? A girl can only hope 😉
What is a seed bomb?:
According to the infinitely wise Wikipedia: “Seed bombing or aerial reforestation is a technique of introducing vegetation to land by throwing or dropping compressed bundles of soil containing live vegetation (seed balls). Often, seed bombing projects are done with arid or off-limits (for example, privately owned) land.”
How seed bombs work:
The mixture of compost and clay keep the seeds protected from birds and constantly moist as the plant germinates. Some will sprout within a few weeks some will sprout next year, so be patient.
How to make a seed bomb:
There’s a lot of recipes out there…… but based on comments around the interwebs (from people who do this regularly and have shown great results), the secret is in the clay to compost mixture!
“We’ve found the ratio that works best for us is 4 parts compost to 1 part powdered clay by weight(very important to do it by weight). The compost needs to be somewhat moist, but not wet by any means). Also, the quantity of seed depends on the type, a cup of poppy seeds can contain over 100,000 seeds, whereas a cup of sunflower seeds may only be 500-1000.”
Seed bombs work fantastic if you use them to plant your own garden (Vegetable & flowers) and I have yet to even attempt to bury them. Just lightly water each day and then once sprouted – as you would for any seedlings you’ve hand planted.
You should read this article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masanobu_Fukuoka
He is the original creator of clay seed balls – creating edible vegetation in areas that were bare and void, using only nature.
Step 1: blend 4 parts moist compost to 1 part dry clay powder
Step 2: Mix in 1 part seeds (use judgement here based on seed size to be careful not to overpopulate the seed bomb). Realize that probably 10-20% of the seeds will be duds but the rest will likely sprout and you don’t want to overpopulate the small space of earth they will grown in.
Step 3: Roll into a ball roughly 1.5″ in size.
Step 4: Let dry in the sun or in a window
Step 5: Store in an empty egg carton until ready to use
Step 6: Lightly moisten and lay on top of the soil where you intend for it to grow.
Let’s just think about the “cheap eating” potential here….. Should you have a good rate of success by planting this way, you could have an entire garden furnishing fruits and veggies all season long, saving you on groceries! The best part is that you can control the growing practices; you know definitively if it’s GMO, organic and it’s pesticide status.