Brown paper packages – whether or not they are tied up with string – never fail to delight when they arrive at the Plot. In recent days, several such parcels have thudded onto the doormat or been stashed in the secret place known only to me and Vinny our postman. First there was a fat wad of packets of seeds to sow in the Autumn from Ben at Higgledy Garden. Then a box of lavender plugs that I’m growing on to make a hedge for a friend and finally the little miracle balls pictured above from my friends at the Maya project.
Seed balls ( or, for the more subversive guerilla gardener – seed bombs) are not new. I first came across them being used on a wide scale when I did my Permaculture Design Course. They are the perfect solution for growers who have to make something productive out of poor soil or who want to make something beautiful with little or no time or land. And, in the current climate, the perfect way to sow a few plants to encourage butterflies and bees.
Each ball is a mini-ecosystem waiting to burst into life made up of seeds, clay, compost and a dash of chilli powder to protect the seeds from preditors. All you need to do is scatter on the ground and wait for the sun and rain to do their thing. No fuss, no work, no mess – just the promise of good things. Easy peasy. You can even grow them in pots and windowboxes.
I have spent many a happy hour mixing my own seedballs with enthusiastic children and will continue to do so. But these seedballs provide a great alternative with none of the attendant mess and clearing up. Great for party bags at birthdays, or Christmas stockings and the basis for a fun afternoon in the school holidays. (Just add friends and a picnic.) Stored in a cool place they’ll be viable for a year and can be sown most of the year round – though deep Winter is best avoided.
For less than a fiver you can have enough seedballs for two square metres of beautiful plants to attract bees or butterflies and know that your purchase is supporting a good cause. What’s not to love? If you’re within striking distance of Bradford on Avon I’m stocking the butterfly mix and bee mix for sale on the plot. Drop me an email if you’d like some…..or spot me and attendant parties of children doing a spot of seedbombing around the area over the next few weeks.