Seed Bombs - Post by Beth Hoar, PEIISC
"A seed bomb is a little ball made up of a combination of compost, clay and seeds." The seed bombs are then dropped in places that need to be re-vegetated or beautified.
Historically, seed bombs have been around since the 1930's and have been used to distribute seeds to inaccessible places such as reforestation projects (Japan), to re-establish grasslands (Africa) or remediate flood plains (Egypt).
More recently, seed bombs have become a popular way to distribute wildlfower seeds, for gardeners to beautify areas that are abandoned, or to teach children about seeds and growing plants. Some sources promote dropping seed bombs when you are out for a nature walk.
While these seed bombs are a interesting way to distribute seed and can be a fun family activity, there are some concerns about contributing to the spread of invasive plants and introducing invasives to natural areas.
Many seed bomb making instructions found on the internet, promote using wildflower mixes in your seed bombs. There are several reasons that this is not recommended:
- Many wildflower mixes contain invasive plant species. These plants may be from other parts of North America or even from Europe, Asia or elsewhere. They are most likely not native to PEI and may be invasive here.
- Many wildflower mixes don't list the plant species that are in the package, so you can't tell if the mix contains invasive plants. Some may list the common names but... common names can be very general and the same common name can be used to refer to several different plants. For example, the name “daisy” may refer to any number of “daisy-like” flowers; one being Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare), which is an invasive weedy plant often found in grassy areas or agricultural forage crops.
- Even though the pictures on the seed packets are bright and colorful, many of the seeds often don't germinate and the plants in the mixes often require different growing conditions... so your results are often disappointing.
After all of that... making seed bombs can be a fun and educational family activity. There are lots of instructions on the internet. You can make them colorful and lots of different shapes. The most important part of making your seed bombs is choosing your seeds (plant species) carefully.
- choose plants that are not invasive
- use plant species that are native to PEI. Local seed sources are the best
- if you are using non-native species, only plant the seed bombs in your garden or flower beds. That way you are not distributing non-native plants to natural areas where they can cause harm to the ecosystem
Native wildflower seed bombs are fun... but you can also make native tree seed bombs!
For more information on wildflower seed mixes, follow the links below.