My name is Samuel Rochefort and I live in Canada...
I recently decided to create a food forest on a 1000 square meters plot in Val Des Monts Quebec.
I fell in love with the idea of SEED BALLS for random propagation of wild flowers, vegetables and herbs working together to create a diverse food forest. I will also include fruittrees, shrubs and other trees to further diverse this forest.
I'm extremely new to the idea of permaculture and would need some advice on SEED MIXES that work together. (for seed balls)
I live in a temperate climate and I WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE SOME INPUT FOR SEEDS THAT WOULD WORK WELL TOGETHER!!!
Thank you and I truly believe in the amazing sustainability of food forests and its futur potential!
posted 9 years ago
Im pretty new aswell to the whole permaculture scene. ive been trying some seedball techniques as a guerrilla garden project here in bc..
one thing i can tell you though, is it takes alot of work making seeds balls alone. try to get some help from friends/family..they're gonna think you're nuts, but try to explain to them the concept of seedballs. 1000 sqm sounds pretty big..your gonna need alot of seeds, compost and clay..
For the seeds, i guess it all depends on your local conditions. here in bc, iv tried a few different seed combos, it seems like the best seeds for this climate are fast sprouting nitro infixing plants like clover or vetch. radish seeds work well too. lupins are a really nice flower that attracts insects and also fixes nitrogen. the wildflower mixes you get from the store work well too for first timers.
Look up sepp holzer and masanobu fukuoka on youtube, just get out there and try it on a smallish plot, with a variety of different seeds, then see which ones grow best.
I hope someone else has somthing more productive to say cus i dont got much else experience..
Hi guys, I live in NS so we are all in vastly different climates. But I wanted to give a shout out to my Canuck perma-homies. I am interested in the same kind of thing. This is the first year I've really tried anything according to the principles I learned about from videos about Sepp and from reading One Straw Revolution. And if you haven't read that book yet, I highly highly highly recommend it. It's not just about interesting gardening, it's a great story and it's got a nice philosophical/Buddhist bent to it as well.
I live on the ocean and our winters are mild. I'm in Zone 5b. I grow over forty different kinds of veggies, fruits, and herbs on a very small hillside. I don't grow anything in much quantity except garlic. This year I prepared three or four beds according to hugulkultur techniques and found this to be a great way to start. I also do all my own composting and I collect rainwater for watering plants that need it. I planted a lot of clover and buckwheat this year as nitrogen fixers and soil amenders. My plan for the future is to till as little as possible and to gradually transition to mostly growing crops that can be seeded here in the fall so that they sprout naturally in the spring and grow on their own. I think this is one of the essential qualities a food forest must have. Of course there is nothing wrong with spreading seed either, but I have not gotten around to making seed balls yet, which seems to be the best permaculture-oriented way to do that. I haven't seen red clay anywhere for sale around here, though admittedly I haven't looked very hard.
If you're working with 1000sq/metres I'd personally hand-broadcast the mix you decide upon... Seed balls take too much of my time, that I'd rather be outside with the given bag of seed and using my hands to throw specifically and directly. Peace -
Maybe I'm wrong, but my impression is that seed balls are designed to be used when germination is desired some time after sowing. If you want something to germinate immediately just throw it out there. But if you want something to throw on the ground so you can cut a crop to fall on top of it, but you don't want it to germinate until the following season, then seed balls are the way to go. I am new to this, so maybe I'm off here.
posted 9 years ago
I am also new to the whole Idea of a food forest but I think it is an amazing idea. I live in the a urban area in Ontario which has a small park with a forest already established.
I have decided to just experiment at the moment with this forest because I rent a 24x30 allotment garden as well.
I am taking out last winters potatoes which have eyes and I am going to plant them in a small patch. Worst case it doesn't work. They be going in the composter anyway... as far as I know potatoes are perennials and if not harvested they will keep making more and more over the years. So in theory if the ground is right, etc you could have a nice crop.
I also grow mint in pots and after awhile you run out of people to give it to when you split it in half. I have decided to take out some spearmint as well. Another plant I am thinking about taking out there is oregano which I have in a patch in the back yard which is another weed like herb. that I won't miss if it doesn't take or gets taken, etc
I also have 1 onion which decided it was going to grow like crazy I am going to plant that even if its a long shot.
If these three do well, next year I might consider buying a fruit tree and planting it.
I have also heard stories of tomato plant coming up from tomatoes left on the ground over winter. So really you could throw any of your tomatoes which are past the best before date into the ground and just hope for the best. what there to loss but a few minutes of time.
I found a nice collection of Food Forest seeds on eBay. It is --Hi! I found this on eBay and thought you might like it! Check it out now: http://r.ebay.com/znJysp The collection of seeds has a good variety of stuff and is heavy on varieties of elderberry, not such a bad thing!
The elderberries can be difficult to get going, I know from experience. They, and the Dog Rose are best planted in early fall and allowed to experience a winter in the ground to encourage them to sprout.
Based on experience, there are many ways to make seed balls.
The reason we make seed balls is to protect the seeds from the birds, ants and other animals. You can mix in compost and/or straw if you like.
Some seeds that germinate very easily, such as daikon or arugula you can just scatter right before a rain in the spring or fall, they will sprout and reseed themselves - but seed balls or cubes or whatever shape you come up with allow you have tens of seeds in one ball, and nature will choose what it would like to grow at that spot.
Your challenge is to identify the fruits and vegetables that your land would like to grow naturally, and just offer these seeds to the soil. Every piece of land on earth has its favorites that will grow there, like weeds - no need for human input.
To make seed pellets, I have used ice cube trays as forms, door mats that have round openings, trays used by fast food stores to hold bread buns (they have small square holes) - once you start looking at stores and around you, you will be amazed how items can be used as forms for the clay.
Mix the clay with the seeds and additives, make the mix a bit wet, and use a trowel to spread the mix on the forms. This is usually done in the summer time, and the clay begins to dry up in an hour or two. Shake the clay of the form and let dry for a day. Store the pellets in a dry place and scatter when the time come. If you a lot of seed balls you may want to invest in a concrete mixer, but for 1,000 square meters you do not.
Good luck - update us when you can
I hope this helps.
posted 6 years ago
Because pictures are worth .... something !!!
Here are some photos of some forms used to make seed balls (cubes etc) quickly.
I'm surprised no one has replied to your posts. Maybe I just don't know much about making clay seed balls but your idea of pouring them into forms that can be popped out when dry, instead of laboriously patting clay balls one by one, seems genius. Thanks for the idea!
Sitting in a garden and doing nothing is high art everywhere. - Mike Garofalo
posted 5 years ago
Thanks Jay for the kind words,
Hopefully if someone searches for Masanobu Fukuoka, etc will come across this and use it.