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seed balls

Kim Hill

Joined: Mar 12, 2012
Posts: 74
What a cool idea! I would love to see some seed balls in mixes with healing herbs such as those for arthritis, of which I have

I would spread some around the neighborhood and my back yard much like a guerilla gardener. Thanks Paul for telling me about these things. I just may need to make up a bunch or buy them....hum will need to see what she comes up with!
Xisca Nicolas

Joined: Aug 06, 2012
Posts: 1138
Location: La Palma Canary Zone 11
I suggest some seed balls made according to plants' preferences, and not human ones...
- For shade
- Full sun
- Mesic
- water-logged...

Mix for autumn sowing and sprouting in spring...
Very early bloomers for flowers in spring...

Bees favorites!

Xisca - Canary - Look at pics! Dry subtropical Mediterranean - My project
However loud I tell it, this is never a truth, only my experience...
Gypsy Brokenwings

Joined: Jan 06, 2012
Posts: 15
I would love to see mixes such as; corn, beans, squash; and flowers that help to raise nutrients and or work as a defender against insects, i.e. marigolds, geraniums, and catmint .

*staff has verified that "gypsy brokenwings" is her real name
Hans Quistorff

Joined: Feb 25, 2012
Posts: 168
Location: Longbranch, WA
Not sure what you are looking for but I have living mulch annuals which are very helpful. The one under my raspberries grows about 6 inches tall has small pink blossoms and finely divided leaves. It grows during our Puget Sound winter and blooms early keeping my pollinators happy until my trees and berries bloom. it dies with summer heat so that it leaves a dry mulch discouraging weed germination by blocking sun both summer and winter.

My other annual is much more aggressive. I was given the name for it as wood land orchid. I call it snap dragons on steroids. It grows 6 inches to 2 feet under the trees but 6 to 8 feet in good soil and sun. I allow them to grow between my rows of Logan and black berries. When the berries are ready to pick I tip them over to cover the ground. the roots are shallow and the stocks are 2 to 3 inches in diameter and filled with water so that as I walk on them it adds some irrigation during the dry part of the summer. The bumble bees love the blossoms which have a tube like opening which they crawl in to get to the nectar pouch then the lower jaw drops down so that they can turn around and fly away. The seed pods split into three strips which curl into tiny spirals throwing the seeds considerable distance.
I can bag the top of the plants and save you some seeds when I am tipping them over if you would like.
Gail Saito

Joined: Dec 31, 2012
Posts: 85
Location: Medford, OR
    1 many great ideas! Would love some of your seeds, Hans.

Kim, what are some of the healing herbs that work in relieving arthritis?

Adrien, seed balls for apple tree guild...I was thinking about your suggestion and came up with a seed ball containing clover as a nitrogen fixer and comfrey with its tap roots that harvest nutrients deep within the soil. Any thoughts on the clover and comfrey or any other suggestions for plants within the guild?

I was also thinking about a mint seed ball, each containing various types of mint. Wouldn't it be great to walk out to your garden and have a beautiful mix of mint growing. What do you all think?
Josh Evans

Joined: Feb 01, 2013
Posts: 7
Location: WV - USDA Zone 6-7
Hi Gail. Selling seed balls and ingredients, what a great idea and service. My home is the East Coast and I like a lot of what's been said already (especially the seed guilds but for edible forest gardens I'm guessing they should be separate balls for the larger species, but more practically they would be the low herbaceous and groundcover guilds). Here are some of my thoughts and ideas. Hope they help!

I do think focusing on plant function and species requirements will help generate new ideas and interest. An example of a function-based seed mix would be "Soil building" with stuff that cover crops often do, combining a nitrogen fixer with a biomass accumulator like Vetch and Rye. Below is a summary of ideas and potentials.
Soil Building - mimicking some cover crop combos (ex vetch and rye) to include both nitrogen fixers, mineral accumulators, and biomass accumulators. Clovers, Vetches, Lupines, etc.
Self Mulching - this is another way of saying what Hans already described.
would include species that are sown in fall (winter annuals) that grow and then die in the heat leaving an organic mat that protects the soil and slowly releases nutrients.
Natural Tillers - tap root stuff Ex. Diakon Radish, queen anne's, etc (Preferably these could break up a hard-pan, grow big and fleshy, then die back leaving pockets of nutrients and water pathways.
Trample-proof Groundcover - for walk areas, could include low growing tough species (help people go from mowing and maintenance to minimal requirements to maintain walkway/path)
Grains - just like Fukuoka instead of Rice
Wild Salad - mixture of leafy, green, delicious weeds that are either perennial or self-seeding (chickweed, purslane, lambsquarters, nettles, cress, plantain, etc)
Beneficial insectary mix

I would also love to see an all-native wildflower mix (first to the lower 48, then getting more specific - one mix for the West Coast natives, and one mix of the East coast natives)

With these ideas and a ton more research, priorities can be made based on a Permaculture-like value system.
1. First, choose species that are Wild, self-seeding/perennial, Native and Edible (ex We have native clovers (buffalo and carolina) and plantains)
2. Then Native and Useful (functional, medicinal, etc)
3. Non-native naturalized wild, self-seeding/perennial, Edible
4 Non-native introduced, edible and highly useful species

I'd be curious to hear what others think of this prioritization. I know it can be better, both in clarity and content.

I realize the 2 biggest challenges moving in these directions are:
1. the time and resources to research the species for the mixes/balls
2. actually finding sources for the seed of the species chosen

Something that might help a lot is taking a look at the seed mixes offered by some organizations and seed companies out there.
Bountiful Gardens Seed Mixes and Seed Collections (great ideas)
Johnny's Seed Mixes
Also, the USDA Plants Database is amazing for finding out Native Regions and doing advanced searches with specific criteria. the more I poke around the more I realize I can do there.

Lastly, I do believe this is my first post to permies. Hello and Thanks to Paul, Adrien, Jocelyn, the whole team, and all my permie neighbors for contributing this invaluable network of support and knowledge. i can't believe it's taken me 2 years to speak up.

“One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”
― Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac
Jennifer Jennings

Joined: Mar 06, 2013
Posts: 96
Location: 39.720014, -74.875139 - Waterford Works, NJ
I'm with Xisca, but I would go a bit further and break the seed ball down into deciduous and evergreen guilds (mostly because the soil ph requirements tend to be very different between the two).

Got a project that needs some attention? A book to review? Some product to test out? Contact me and gimme something to write about!
Gail Saito

Joined: Dec 31, 2012
Posts: 85
Location: Medford, OR
I cannot believe this is your first post, Josh. You seem to have a wealth of knowledge to share! I like what you call function based seed mix...goes along with the idea of a guild. All of these are great ideas, many of which I plan to use myself when I make the move to Oregon (hopefully within the next few months).

It is difficult for me to carry specific region seed balls, as I am a small business and they do not move quickly enough (I initially carried region specific seed balls when I first started my business 3 years ago). I do have some native southwest seed and balls (that is my current area), left over from a workshop that I conducted at a local nursery.

If anyone would like to experiment with specific seed and are having trouble finding the clay, email me and I will set you up with some, at a nominal fee plus shipping.
Jennifer Jennings

Joined: Mar 06, 2013
Posts: 96
Location: 39.720014, -74.875139 - Waterford Works, NJ
Gail, have you considered moving some of your seed balls to an online portal like Etsy? They really do make it easy to get your product out there, and the turnaround time would be enough where you could make on demand if need be?
Gail Saito

Joined: Dec 31, 2012
Posts: 85
Location: Medford, OR
Great idea, Jennifer. I will check it out!
It's in the permaculture playing cards. Here's the link:
subject: seed balls