Seed Bombs: mud pies that grow flowers!

Seeds are magical! Every seed is a capsule of new life. And seed bombs are a great way to spread seeds in hard to reach or disused spaces as well as being a wonderful way to excite kids about seeds and growing. Seed bombs don’t belong in or near our native bush land but are great for a fun approach to beautifying your garden or concrete urban corners. Seed bombs can even be ‘chucked’ in a pot on a balcony.

Making seed bombs is an engaging, messy, fun way for kids to learn about seeds and growing plants. And lobbing bee-food seed bombs into unused space is a fun way to create a better environment for our pollinators and promote more biodiversity. All gardens need flowering plants – whether its native bushes or flowering herbs or decorative flowers like cosmos – to feed the bees and pollinators we rely on to produce our food.

Bee-Food Seeds

Bees and other pollination insects love flowers. Spring is the perfect time for seed bombing with flowering annuals that the bees will love.

Great seed bomb seeds for our pollinator friends in Canberra in Spring include: cosmos, sunflower, buckwheat, calendula, cornflower, alyssum, borage, marigold, wallflower, and more. Seed bombs with local native flower seed are a great idea too!

*Seed bombs made with non-native flower seeds should not be thrown into or near our wonderful bush land as these plants can become invasive in the bush. Seed booms are great for urban and inner suburban environments.

What Is A Seed And How Do Seeds Grow?

All seeds contain within their hard protective case all the elements that a baby plant needs for its first stages of life. Seeds need warmth and moisture to germinate. Germination is when seeds wake up and start to grow.

Seeds contain an embryo (the baby plant) and an endosperm (food for the baby plant when it first wakes up) within the hard casing or ‘shell’ that protects seeds until they are ready to grow.

The embryo or baby plant contains within it:

  • Seed leaves called cotyledons.
  • The epicotyl which attaches the seed leaves to the embryo.
  • The plumule  plumule, the tip of the epicotyl, which will become the first shoot upon germination.
  • The hypocotyl which connects the embryo to the root.
  • The radicle which grows into the primary root.

Seeds start to germinate when water soaks through and penetrates their hard coating and the soil or mix they are planted in is warm enough. Water + warmth wakes the seeds up and the seed coat breaks open, the embryo sending its first root downwards and its first shoot with seed leaves upwards. Seeds are smart and no matter which way they are planted, they will send roots downwards and shoots and leaves upwards!

Seed Bomb Recipe

* some Canberra clay (3 parts) – try digging this out of your garden and sieve to get rid of debris.

* some good quality compost (5 parts) (if you haven’t got compost, potting mix will do or even some soil dug out of the garden). This should be lighter and less dense than the clay.

* bee food seeds – native or introduced flowers and flowering herbs (a teaspoon for each bomb). This is a great way to use up old packets of seed and if you don’t have any seeds, try culinary herb seeds – the dill or coriander seed in your kitchen cupboard. Culinary seeds won’t always work (they may be too old for example) but at a pinch, it’s worth a try 😉

* water

You might need to mess around with the proportions in the mix. You want the mix to be sticky and to easily form a ball.

Mix compost and seeds in bowl, add clay and water. Roll small balls – less than the size of a golf ball. You can roll the balls in a light mix of small seeds for decoration and extra chances at germination!

Dry the seed bombs as quickly as possible to ensure seeds don’t start germinating straight away. Rest the bombs on a towel in a cool, breezy spot for best drying or in front of a fan. Don’t dry in the oven as seeds will cook and die!

In spring, throw the bombs into garden corners a couple of days before rain, or into a pot and then water, when temperatures are warming up. If balls are going to be kept for a while, dry in a cool dark place once dry so seeds don’t germinate in storage.

Photo from https://www.epicgardening.com/how-to-make-seed-bombs/ A great guide to seed bomb making!

Seed bombs are great for kids to have fun playing with and learning about seeds, and to watch plants pop up. It’s a great way to get kids excited about seeds.

Please keep seed bombs away from bush land including suburban bush land.

Just like growing anything, germination and success will be variable so make lots and lots and be generous with the amount of seed you use to increase your chances!

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