Seed ball

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A seed ball
Plants sprouting from seed balls

Seed balls, also known as earth balls or nendo dango (Japanese: 粘土団子), consist of a variety of different seeds rolled within a ball of clay, preferably volcanic pyroclastic red clay. Various additives may be included, such as humus or compost. These are placed around the seeds, at the center of the ball, to provide microbial inoculants. Cotton-fibres or liquefied paper are sometimes mixed into the clay in order to strengthen it, or liquefied paper mash coated on the outside to further protect the clay ball during sowing by throwing, or in particularly harsh habitats.

Development of technique[edit]

Masanobu Fukuoka, throwing the first seedball at the workshop at Navdanya, in October 2002

The technique for creating seed balls was rediscovered by Japanese natural farming pioneer Masanobu Fukuoka.[1] The technique was also used, for instance, in ancient Egypt to repair farms after the annual spring flooding of the Nile. In modern times, during the period of the Second World War, this Japanese government plant scientist working in a government lab, Fukuoka, who lived on the mountainous island of Shikoku, wanted to find a technique that would increase food production without taking away from the land already allocated for traditional rice production which thrived in the volcanic rich soils of Japan.[2][3]

Construction[edit]

Drying seed balls

To make a seed ball, generally about five measures of red clay by volume are combined with one measure of seeds. The balls are formed between 10mm and 80mm (about 12" to 3") in diameter. After the seed balls have been formed, they must dry for 24-48 hours before use.

Seed bombing[edit]

Seed bombing is the practice of introducing vegetation to land by throwing or dropping seed balls. It is used in modern aerial seeding as a way to deter seed predation. It has also been popularized by green movements such as guerrilla gardening as a way to introduce new plants to an environment.

Guerrilla gardening[edit]

The term "seed green-aide" was first used by Liz Christy in 1973 when she started the Green Guerillas.[4] The first seed green-aides were made from condoms filled with tomato seeds, and fertilizer.[5] They were tossed over fences onto empty lots in New York City in order to make the neighborhoods look better. It was the start of the guerrilla gardening movement.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Adler, Margot (April 15, 2009). "Environmentalists Adopt New Weapon: Seed Balls". NPR. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  2. ^ Fukuoka (福岡), Masanobu (正信) (May 1978) [1st publ. in Japanese September 1975], Larry Korn (ed.), The One-Straw Revolution An Introduction to Natural Farming, translated by Chris Pearce; Tsune Kurosawa; Larry Korn, Emmaus, Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, ISBN 0878572201
  3. ^ Fukuoka (福岡), Masanobu (正信) (December 1987) [1st publ. in Japanese December 1975], The Natural Way of Farming The Theory and Practice of Green Philosophy, translated by Frederic P Metreaud (rev. ed.), Tokyo: Japan Publications, ISBN 978-0-87040-613-3
  4. ^ "Our History | Green Guerillas". www.greenguerillas.org. Retrieved 2017-12-31.
  5. ^ "How Guerrilla Gardening Works". How Stuff Works. Retrieved 2017-09-12.
  6. ^ Robinson, Joe (29 May 2008). "Guerrilla gardener movement takes root in L.A. area". L.A. Times. Retrieved 12 June 2014.

Further reading[edit]

  • Smith, K. (2007). The guerilla art kit. Princeton Architectural Press.
  • Huxta, B. (2009). Garden-variety graffiti. Organic gardening, 2009.

External links[edit]