Now that my lovely daisies are going to seed, I'm harvesting them (and tons more from the flowerbed outside a local park!) to make seed bombs for next season.
A seed bomb is a method of delivering seeds; it's a compressed ball of soil and compost, impregnated with flower seeds and it can be tossed anywhere. Seed bombing is a bit like guerilla gardening, without the committment to maintaining the garden later.
To make a seed bomb:
- Mix clay soil (soil with a decent clay content packs together and hardens when dry) with compost - recommended ratio of 5:2, but it doesn't matter much. You can supplement soil plus compost with red (terracota) clay powder (from a pottery store) to bind the 'bomb' if your local soil isn't binding well.
- Add water, slowly, as you stir, to get a firm mud-pie consistency (not sloppy!)
- coop up enough of this mix to mould a small ball
- Press in a couple of flower seeds. Some seed bomb recipes suggest adding seeds to your mix - one part seeds to 5 parts clay soil and 2 parts compost - I prefer to know how many seeds are going into each bomb.
- Shape into a ball, rolling it between your hands until compact and rounded with a smooth (not cracked) outer surface. This will protect the seed bomb from predators (ants, other insects, mice and birds).
- Place on newspaper and leave to air dry (about two days)
- Store in a cool, dry place until you're ready to throw them
When to toss your seed bombs? Although tossing them just before a rainy period is good, it isn't necessary, as the seeds will stay dry, protected in the ball and ungerminated until it rains. Seeds readily germinate following the first rain. At least some of the seeds in each ball will germinate. Success is really dependant on what happens after germination... like, is there consistent rain, so that the seedlings don’t wilt and die?
Remember to select flower seeds appropriate for the sowing season and region. Drought-tolerant plants are winners. Visit your local nursery to see what seeds are available. Check seed packets for correct sowing seasons and sun requirements (full sun, semi-sun, shade). Daisy, sunflower, cosmos, poppy and nasturtium seeds as well as wildflower mixes are popular in seed bombs.
Select seeds that do not need to be dug 30cm into the ground. Seeds that can be sown in situ (scattered on the ground surface) are best.
Avoid invasive plants and don't throw seed bombs in or near natural areas. Seed bombs are for URBAN areas.
Soil and compost give the seeds a little nourishing 'home' to get started. Rain will get things going, breaking the seed bomb apart.
Seeds generally take 85-120 days to flowering - that's 3-4 months - so it will be a while before you can appreciate your handiwork.
Where to get lots of seeds? In early April I planted daisy seeds that I bought from a local nursery (R50 per packet!). I'm now harvesting the seeds, from my own garden and also from community pavement gardens (like outside Rhodes Park). I'm going to be using these seeds - an abundance of them! - to make my seed bombs for March/April next year. Daisies are currently going to seed, so make the best of them to make next winter even brighter with more and more and more daisies in Jo'burg.
Making seed bombs (and dispersing them!) is a great activity to do with children.
As my daisy seed bombs will only be good for March/April next year, I'm going to buy cosmos and sunflower seeds from a nursery to make seed bombs for now, that will flower for December. 'Cos I can.
* Content on seed bombs, recipe and images collected, edited and compiled from goodness-knows-how-many websites. Thanks to the authors.