Clay soil is the bane of many gardeners, but there's at least one good thing you can do with the sticky stuff -- make seed balls. The process is simple and fun as patting mud into delectable fantasies or rolling modeling clay into snakes. Making seed balls entails mixing a few easy-to-grow seeds with pinches of soft clay and shaping little balls.
Seed balls make it easier to plant seeds, especially if you're sowing small seeds that are difficult to see and handle. Coating seeds with clay also protects them from being washed away by rain or eaten by birds.
Seed balls keep alive a time-tested planting technique. Native Americans packed seeds into bits of clay as a way to store and transport the precious resource for future crops. Modern guerrilla gardeners or gardening activists have popularized seed balls -- aka seed bombs -- as a handy way to plant seeds on abandoned lots and vacant medians in order to beautify blighted urban landscapes.
Follow our simple step-by-step instructions -- and grow beautiful clusters of flowers!
- Fresh clay soil or dried clay
- Cell packs, optional
- Plant labels, optional
- Drying rack
If you don't have clay soil in your area, start with dried clay from a local ceramics supplier or online source. mix two parts dried clay with one part compost. Add enough water to make it a soft and malleable consistency.
Mix the clay with your hands or stir it until it is the proper consistency for rolling. If your clay is too runny, add dried clay; if it is too stiff, add water.
Roll the soft clay between your palms to form walnut-sized balls (about 1 inch in diameter)
Press 20-30 seeds into each clay ball. Reshape the ball, working the seeds into the clay. Set the balls on a rack to dry for several day sin a warm, airy place. Store away from heat and moisture. Label seed balls if desired.