name: seedballs project
start project: 2010-04-12
end project: 2010-10-14
more information: http://thoughtsandtalks.so-on.be/archives/1319
Seedballs consist of mixing one measure of seeds for next season’s crop with 3 measures of compost and 5 measures of red clay, and sometimes manure then formed into small balls. Much less seed is used than in conventional growing, resulting in fewer plants which are smaller but stronger with a higher yield. The technique is useful for seeding thin and compacted soils, and avoiding seed eaters. It is an ancient technique that was re-introduced by Masanobu Fukuoka, an advocate of natural farming.
The seedballs we made at Okno are used to green the city. The seedmix we use is a Tübinger or Branderburger mix, which is composed carefully for pollinating insects. We monitor the behaviour of the seedmix flowers in a several square monitoring projects.
Seedballs and seedbombing are perfect tools to put guerilla gardening into practice. Guerrilla gardening is political gardening, a form of direct action, primarily practiced by environmentalists. It is related to land rights, land reform, and permaculture. Activists squat an abandoned piece of land which they do not own to grow crops or plants. Guerrilla gardeners believe in re-considering land ownership in order to reclaim land from perceived neglect or misuse and assign a new purpose to it.
Observationshow to make seedballs?
We use 1 part of seeds, in this case a mix of native wild flowers and herbs called Tübinger.
The Tübinger-seedmix is benefiicial for pollinating insects, in special for the honey bee. It consists of 11 annual flowering plant species in different proportions :
borage, buckwheat, marigold, white mustard, coriander, caraway, centaurea jacea, cheeseplant, dill, phacelia and pastinaca sativa.
We mix the seeds with three parts of (dry) humus from homemade compost. If the compost is half ripe, it needs to be sifted to eliminate the lumps.
Than we add some local soil and we mix the whole with two parts of red clay mixed with water. We add water gradually and mix all ingredients until a firm consistency is reached.
Than we can pinch off wet soil from the main mass and roll it between the palms of the hands into smooth and round balls of 10 to 20mm diameter.
Finished seedballs must dry undisturbed for approximately 24 hours. Once the seedballs are dry they may be stored in a cool dry place, or you can broadcast them immediately in public wastelands or parcs - doing some seedbombing activism!
Seedballs don’t need to be burried or watered. They can lay dormant in place until released by rain. No matter where a seedball has landed, something from the mix inside will be at home on the spot, so all possible habitats are covered into one broadcast application.
In 4 to 6 weeks, the wasteland will change looks and become a flowered meadow!