Chris Meador wrote:If anyone is interested in super scaling up this method I made 3.3 MILLION, yes million, seed balls for a 35 acre restoration project in the back country of San Diego County. Our balls were made with a little bit of sand, peat moss (can substitute for manure I would think), red clay and seed. We used seeds from 7 native species, some grasses, herbaceous plants and shrubs, all part of a guild.
Would love to know how this worked out, can you give us an update?
Unfortunately, for a few reasons, it is hard to gauge the efficacy of that project. When we tested the seedballs in a controlled environment and sprayed them with water they sprouted great. The person who started the project did not create adequate sample plots in the restoration area to test germination and survival rates. When we returned to the restoration site after some rain we found that the distributed balls had dissolved properly but we could not tell if plants sprouting up were from our seeds or wild ones. To make matters worse there was some drama and there was not good follow up.
For distribution we just threw the seeds balls out. I think one might get better survival rates if you pressed the balls a little in the ground. That way they would be less likely to dry out (for places that matters like the site we did).
Overall I think the seedballs can be a good tool when used properly but I think testing is important. That project had a big education component teaching kids about plants and fire ecology so it was certainly successful on that level. Kids got to make a some seedballs by hand then later go to the site to distribute them. As I said, most of the balls we "manufactured" using the cement mixer but it was fun with the kids, they just can't make many balls.
Location: Suburbs Salt Lake City, Utah 6a 24 in rain 58 in snow
Here is a low effort thought on making the balls. Stick your ingredients in a bucket, put on a lid, then let the dog or the kids play with it for a couple of hours. A rigid ball with a removable plug, like a giant hamster ball, would work even better. Smear a little peanut butter or cooked chicken liver on it and the dog will supply all the mixing spinning power you could ask for.
Seed Balls, Seed Balls, WE don't need no darned Seed Balls!- - - - - WE have Seed Cubes! :-) That is said in a Tongue-In_Cheek humor fashion - because I really did get into the Seed Balls at first.
I just couldn't seem to get the ball into a format that I liked and they either didn't hold together or were slimey wet.
SO, I got busy and used some of the Seed Ball 'recipes' from the Permies Site and did some modifications to suit me.
And I came up with this:
IF you want to see my process download or open the PDF File.