How To Make Seed Bombs
Jeremy’s been wanting to make seed bombs for quite some time. He likes the idea of guerrilla gardening. Claiming back misused land. He convinced us making and distributing seed bombs would be a great family activity.
Seed bombs or seed balls are powdered clay, compost and seeds mixed with a tad of water to clump everything together and roll balls. Once the seed bomb are dry we can toss them in fields, over fences and such desolate areas that could use a little color. We used a seed bomb recipe from Heavy Petal. It comes with step-by-step instructions and pictures. After seeing her blog post, every one in our family wants to make seed bombs.
Here’s the seed bomb recipe:
5 parts dry red clay
3 parts dry organic compost
1 part seed
1 – 2 parts water
We had the seeds and compost but could not find powdered clay, anywhere. Here are a few experiences we conducted to find clay alternatives.
Red Potter’s Clay
Powdered clay is what you need to make seed bombs. Craft stores usually sell potter’s clay in the powdered form. Since my lovely town doesn’t have enough people to create a demand for many interesting things, well we can’t find any. We settled on a block of air dry red clay. The block of clay cost 5$ for 1 kg. This clay has to be dried up and smashed into powder but it worked like a charm.
Powdered Clay For Masks
I remember my mother going to the pharmacy and ordering some generic powdered clay for her masks. She always told me the clay available in the cosmetic section costs 2-3 times as much as the generic DIY powder she ordered and got twice as much.
At the pharmacy the person I spoke to was not even aware you could buy such a thing. I told them my mother got hers here. I only didn’t mention it was over 15 years ago! She went to see her boss and came back saying they could order some for me to! That cost 6$ for about 12 oz or 340 gm. Not the cheapest alternative but if you have it on hand it works perfectly well.
Crayola Air Dry Clay
Crayola Terracotta Air Dry Clay is cheap and readily available. It costs about 6$ for 2.5 lbs. The problem is that the clay is not dry. You can not mix compost and seeds with this clay. The clay has to be dried and broken up into fine powder before trying to make seed bombs. Crayola air dry clay was the easiest and cheapest alternative to use. Once we had powdered the clay we made perfect little seed bombs.
Clay Cat Litter
The cheap non clumping cat litter is often made of 100% clay. I got a bag of non-perfumed litter for under 2$. With a mortar and pestle I crushed every single granule. I added a little water to the clay powder and the litter turns to clay. The problem is when the clay-litter dries up it turns back to granular litter. The seed bombs where to fragile and would crack during transit. Using cat litter is feasible and by far the cheapest alternative but it is time consuming and not the best clay.
I truly dislike clumping cat litter for making seed bombs. Once the clumping litter gets wet it becomes a ball of cement. It takes so long for the rain to wash away all the leftover litter, it makes everything look messy in my opinion.
Jeremy told me of a place he knows where the soil is mostly made up of clay. As a child he’d often go to that spot to play with the clay. Great I thought, so I gave him a container and asked him to fill it with nice clean clay. I was surprised to see such a nice, smooth, grey clay. It was raining and humid outside so I protected the table with a garbage bag and we proceeded to roll the clay flat on the table to let it dry out.
A couple of hours later when I checked on the clay to see if it was drying out I was horrified to see larvae crawling out of the clay and on to my kitchen table! I have a problem with cat butts momentarily parked on my new table, so imagine short, stout larvae that to me look like maggots!
Next time I will just dry the clay out in the sun because it was by far the best clay to work with and it is free!
The seeds used for our seed bombs were mostly early native flowers. I have a thing for perennial and self sowing flowers. I walk every day to and back from daycare with my little guy. We pass by an open field that has been taken over by groundhogs and a dog park that is not being cared for any longer. We’ll post an update about our guerrilla gardening and seed bombs when the seedlings are a little bigger.