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5 parts clay soil | 3 parts compost | 1 part seeds

So, for example, 5 C. clay soil, 3 C. compost, and 1 C. seeds

A little water to make your seedballs "sculptable" but not squishy

Newspaper for neatness | cup measure and tablespoon measure

Shoebox or sack to transport seedballs to the planting site(s)


Quite often, gardeners end up with extra seeds that they can't plant in their own gardens. It's a shame for them to go to waste. Meanwhile, there are places all over our own yards and in our communities that are neglected, weedy or dirt patches that could really use some TLC.


So let's make seedballs, and literally "throw a garden" in a place that needs a little life and color! It's a fun activity for spring, and a great way to use extra seeds.


IMPORTANT NOTE: MAKE SURE NOT TO THROW SEEDBALLS ON OTHER PEOPLE'S PROPERTY IF YOU DON'T HAVE THEIR PERMISSION FIRST. If it's a corner of your school yard, ask your principal. If it's a busy workplace, ask management first. If it's a city park, call the city and make sure it's OK. If it's an empty weedlot, have an adult show you how you find the owner in City Hall to ask permission. It's a good idea, anyway, because you also need to make sure the property owner doesn't spray for weed right where you want your seedball flowers to come up.





If you want to grow THIS (hyacinth bean) . . .




. . . you can start by throwing some of THESE.

Note the hyacinth bean seeds at left. Like all bean seeds,

they need to be pre-soaked in water for 24-36 hours

before being made into seed balls.



Here's the idea: if you or a neighbor or a local business or even your school has a patch of dirt that is just really neglected and sad, you can throw seedballs there and let the rain and the sun do the rest! Do this in the month of April to see flowers by summer.


1.                          Select seeds that will grow into plants that can survive on their own in your area without much water or pampering, and look pretty together. You could choose to make seedballs with all the same kind of seeds, or you could choose two or three seeds that will grow into flowers that will look good together.


2.                          You can go with a theme for your seed selection, such as "red, white and blue" - red poppies, white Queen Anne's Lace, and blue Bachelor's Buttons. Marigolds are always good, and you could go with an all-marigold seed ball for a burst of golden color, or combine them with a couple of other types of seeds.


3.                          It's probably a good idea to soak the seeds in water 24-36 hours in advance, to help them be ready to germinate, or sprout.


4.                          Spread out newspaper to keep your table surface neat, or do this outside.


5.                          In a bucket, mix your clay soil, compost and seeds. The clay soil will make your seedball sticky enough to hold together, and the compost has all the nutrients needed to help the seed sprout and grow into a plant.


6.                          If you are using big seeds, rather than stir the seeds in all at once, you may mix the soil and compost first, and then tuck three or four seeds into the palm of your hand to mix into the ball. Add just enough water to make it easy to "sculpt" the seedballs with your hands.


7.                          Take a handful of the mixture. Roll it into a small ball, about the size of a really, really big grape, or half the size of a pingpong ball. You can add a little more water. Let dry, probably at least overnight.


8.                          When you are SURE you have permission from a property owner, go to a patch of neglected ground that has full sun at least half of the day, and throw your seedball. Don't worry about watering it. Nature will take care of that.


9.                          In a few weeks, come back to check on your "instant garden." When summer is in full bloom, return again and take a picture. Share it with friends. Tell them how you had fun getting your hands dirty . . . and tossed a little color and beauty into your world with seedballs!



By Susan Darst Williams www.KidsGardenClub.org Start-Ups 12 2014*****

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