Seed balls provide an innovative way to distribute seeds in areas where traditional methods of sowing seeds would be too difficult or labor intensive.
No soil preparation or planting required.
Using seeds from a variety of plant species native to our area, including wildflowers, grasses, and at least one nitrogen fixing plant, like clover will ensure the greatest chance of success.
This system works well for meadows, banks, roadsides, and areas that require erosion control or restoration.
Seed balls, about the size of large marbles (3/4-inch in diameter) are actually tiny ecosystems contained within a well-engineered delivery system.
Everything a seed needs for healthy germination is contained within this seed ball. The clay is mineral rich, and also keeps the seeds from being blown away, eaten by birds or dried out in the sun. Once moisture melts the clay, the seeds germinate in their tiny patch of compost.
Making a seed ball
Recipe courtesy High Country Xeriscape Council of Arizona
1. Combine 2 parts mixed seed with 3 part compost.
2. Stir in 5 parts powdered red or brown clay.
3. Moisten with water until mixture is damp enough to mold into balls.
Pinch off a penny sized piece of the clay mixture and roll it between the palms of your hands until it forms a tight ball (about 3/4-inch in diameter). Set the balls on newspaper and allow to dry for 24 to 48 hours. Store in a cool dry place until ready to sow.
In early spring, lay out balls on top of soil at a density of 20 or more per square yard. They will germinate when the time is right either from melting snow, spring rains, or morning dew.
Remember, these balls are placed directly on top of un-worked soil. Have fun and look forward to a new way of "not" planting seeds.