Wildflower Seed Bombs

Butterfly photo taken by my dad, Nigel Pickett

Making and planting seed bombs is a fun, messy, hands-on activity that all can join in with. It is also a low cost, eco friendly gift idea that is really simple to do. I have recently been involved in the planning of some eco activities for a school eco day where I work. We are going to be using some of the seed bombs the children make for a wildflower eco garden area and the children will also be able to take some home or give them as a gift. The hope is that they will grow into a wildflower meadow of rainbow coloured flowers that will attract new wildlife.

There are many different ways to make seed bombs, some using flour or oatmeal and some clay. They all have the same idea of seeds formed together with a carrier like the flour or oatmeal to help them scatter and germinate. I found the powdered clay method to be the most effective and cheapest method. Using clay swells and dries binding the balls together. Clay can can be bought from pottery suppliers and even better if there are any local to you. Unfortunately we are not in a clay area but the suppliers I spoke were are all very helpful. They recommended using any red powdered clay or Bentonite Clay as it is readily available in powder form. You can use air dry clay from craft shops to make a little balls with seeds in the middle but they work out a lot more expensive on a mass scale.

To make approximately 20 seed bombs you will need:

  • 100g soil or compost
  • 75g clay granules or powder
  • Packet of wildflower seeds.
  • 100ml water

Method:

  1. Mix together the soil and the clay in a large bowl
  2. Sprinkle in the wildflower seeds and stir to get rid of any lumps.
  3. Begin to pour your water into the mix, a little at a time until it starts to form a sticky doughy consistency.
  4. Pinch off small pieces of the mix and roll them to make little balls about 2cm in diameter. If they are crumbly then add a little more water.
  5. Place your seed bombs on a sheet of newspaper to dry for 24- 48 hours before sowing or storing them.

If making these in a school group, then give everyone either a biodegradable plastic cups made from starch like Vegware which isn’t going to harm the planet when finished with or a reusable cup if there are facilities to wash them and a tea spoon. We are still subject to COVID restrictions so anything that can reduce the amount of sharing will be helpful. They can can make their own seed bomb mixture in a cup scaling down the ratios. For example, they can start by filling their cup to a quarter full with compost, then add about 5 teaspoons of powdered clay and about the same of the seed mix or a sprinkling of seeds. Then slowly add the water until it starts comes together to form the balls.

When ready to sow the seeds, first prepare the ground by weeding or loosening the soil . Gently place them 1 at a time, leaving about 15cm between each bomb. At first they don’t need to be watered except by the usual rainfall. It can take a few weeks for the flowers to begin to sprout and once they do they can be watered like any other garden plants with water ideally from an eco friendly rainwater butt.

There are so many ways to package the seed bombs. They could be put in a little favor box like you get at a wedding, wrapped in fabric square with a jute string or a hessian bag. I used a paper sweet bag for the children at school for cost reasons and on the front with a little butterfly identification sheet. These are the common butterflies the children might be able to spot in their new gardens:

Common Blue, Dark Green Fritillary, Clouded Yellow, Comma,Small Blue, Small White, Holly Blue,Orange Tip, Large Skipper,Small Skipper

I hope they are successful in both encouraging more wildlife into our little eco garden at school and for children to develop their curiosity and love for nature. These are all goals for a school eco day that I am very much looking forward to being part of with the children.

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