Testing Seedballs in a Dry Climate

I live in the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley in California.  The original seedball recipe did not work for me, I am assuming because the climate is so dry here.  They will lay on the ground, not decomposing or melting down at all.  Hard clay balls baking in the sun.  I have worked on modifying the recipe by putting in the least amount of clay possible.  I used a California Native Wildflower mix for my seedball experiments.  I have yet to test how these softer balls will sprout, and how well they will shoot out of my paintball gun and t-shirt shooter.  I have made balls with the original recipe that have shot very well out of both a paintball gun and t-shirt shooter.  You have to make them the correct size and round, but it’s not too difficult to get it right. 

Although I got very little results from the original seedball recipe this summer, I am not discouraged with the project.  Here you can see the one result (an orange poppy) I recorded this summer.

I know they have worked well for other people in different places.  Fall is a good time to be spreading seeds for the next Spring, and those are the times when there is actually some rain in my area.  I did send some of the original recipe to a friend in Oregon, and she got sprouts out of them. 

For anyone who wants to help with the Savior project, right now is a good time to make, and experiment with seedballs.  You’ll need seeds, compost, powdered clay (amount used according to dryness of climate), ceyanne pepper (to keep squirrels from eating it), and water.  Choose what seeds you’d like to work with – scroll down to the “combination search” of this webpage http://www.wildflower.org/plants/ and select your area to find out what kind of native plants/flowers/trees should be planted.  For those of you outside of the United States, we’d appreciate any resources you can find about native plants for all other parts of the world.  http://plantnative.org/index.htm may also be a helpful site.

You can throw or shoot the seedballs out into areas that need re-greening, but please also put some in places where you can monitor them to see how well they break down, and if you get any sprouts.  A section of the new ATWAearth.com will be dedicated to the Savior Project, and we’d like for anyone who is helping with it to send submissions documenting their experiences (like mine above), which are to be featured on the site. 

For more information on how to make seedballs, please see our basic recipe.  Again, you may need to alter the recipe according to how dry your climate is.

Star – September 2012


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