Seedballs or seed pellets are balls of clay that contain seed of native grasses, forbs (wildflowers) & succulents (cacti). This method was made popular by Japenese farmer Masanobu Fukuoka, author of the One Straw Revolution and Sowing Seeds in the Desert.
Establishing plants in arid environments from seed is a challenge due to unreliable rainfall and insect predation. To address these challenges, Borderlands Restoration employs methods of seed pelletization that covers seeds with clay and nutrient rich soil, to protects them from predation, help maintain water necessary for germination, and provide crucial nutrients for increased establishment.
Seedballs and clay pellets can be broadcast in your yard, disturbed areas of your town, and anywhere within your watershed. You will have better success if you use seeds harvested from your watershed & broadcast seeds into their favorite habitat: native plants can have very particular moisture, soil, and temperature requirements; not to mention symbiotic relationships with pollinators and other plants of particular locations.
Seed pellets are a modified form of seedballs, being of smaller size and weight. The pelletization process results in fewer seeds per ball, more easily dissolvable pellets, and allows for a greater area to be covered.
- Suited to a wide variety of project types, including large scale revegetation and seeding into erosion control structures
- Easily dissolved by small amounts of rain, being a mixture of clay, compost, and seed in a small package
- Easy to manufacture in large quantities for large-scale seeding projects
- Suited to large scale seeding projects, as the small pellets reduce competition within each pellet for resources
- A fun activity for young adults and adults!
DIY Seed Pellet Recipe and Instructions
Experiments in Production: A Home-made Seed Pelletizer
Seed balls are quarter-sized balls that may hold large quantities of seed. They are formed by mixing clay and seed, and rolling small quantities in your hands.
Seed Balls are:
- Suited to use in rock structures, where seed may disperse through the cracks after the clay dissolves
- Suited to use in home gardens, where gardeners can thin seedlings to prevent over competition for resources
- Dissolvable by large rain events
- Easy for small hands to make and fun to throw out your car window!
For more information, check out the following seedball-lover links:
Check out the Seedball Google group! It might contain everything ever written or studied on the subject of seedballs.
Lady Bird Johnson wildflower center likes seedballs too!