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Seed Balling

 
pollinator
Posts: 511
Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9-10, 60" rain/yr,
84
hugelkultur dog duck
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Got a big batch of seed balls started today with a couple of helpful colleagues. The Crescent City Food Forest I am helping develop received a good amount of donated, mostly year old, seeds this winter. What may be our last rain of the spring is here this week. We have already sprouted and given away hundreds of starts, and have far more seed than we could start individually. So I decided to make seed balls with a mix of everything season and site appropriate we had multiple packets of, though I saved 1-2 packets of every varietal I could. This amounted to hundreds of seed packets of dozens of species of vegetables, flowers, and beneficial companion plants, as well as 25lbs of bell beans and handfuls of native nw wildflowers, sunflowers, peas, and other legumes. It includes many three sisters combinations, and much more that could work well together. I think I will stretch the remaining batch with more clay and compost (8-1mix), as the one I made today has multiple seeds per ball. These will seed the food forest site at College of the Redwoods Crescent City campus, at the Margaret Keating site in Klamath, and be given away at our local Pacific Pantry. It’s a good amount of work but for this amount of seed it’s worth it if my experience with the fall cover crop is any indication. We will now have over 100 plant species on the CR site, including 50+ edible ones. I also think how the plants show differences in various locations  will also be a good educational tool:
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Posts: 48
Location: South East Kansas
4
trees books cooking
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Wow that is a lot of seeds. Any tips on making the balls round? I made some a few months ago and could not get them round. The plants did grow but I would like to have them roll a little.
 
steward
Posts: 5023
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
1382
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
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If you post a picture of the finished seed balls you'd qualify for a BB!  https://permies.com/wiki/112201/PEP-BB-foraging-sand-seedball
 
Ben Zumeta
pollinator
Posts: 511
Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9-10, 60" rain/yr,
84
hugelkultur dog duck
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This is about 1/3 of what’s been made so far, and I am guessing I have half again more to make. A few mistakes I will try not to make again are:
I have often put too much material and seed in each batch I roll in a masonry basin, or tarp if I have help, and it reduced the rolling surface to volume ratio and made things go slower than it had to. When rolling, I would start with just enough to cover the bottom of basin, and set aside an almost equal amount of dry clay to add in alternation with water (I’ve used willow water).
In hindsight I would also have set aside at least as much dry clay as I had in the base clay compost mix before starting, for adding as it all rolls. The rain obviously helps with germination, but I underestimated how much dry clay I would need to add and how much the humidity would encourage germination within the balls that were harder to dry. About 5% of the balls have already popped roots in 24-36hrs. Those made up a large part of the 3/4 acre or so at the college I seeded today, and the drier ones I brought inside with a dehumidifier went to the food pantry today or will go to the Margaret Keating food forest as soon as possible. I’d recommend asking your local seed sellers, small and big box alike, for any year old organic or non gmo seeds they could give away. It makes seed balls much more economically feasible.
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Mike Jay Haasl
steward
Posts: 5023
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
1382
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
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Wow, that's a hell of a pile of seed balls!  I posted it over to the BB page and you got certified (Here).  Congratulations
 
Those cherries would go best on cherry cheesecake. Don't put those cherries on this tiny ad:
September-October Homestead Skills Jamboree 2019
https://permies.com/wiki/118704/permaculture-projects/September-October-Homestead-Skills-Jamboree
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