Move over bath bombs, the new trend in earthy, self-indulgence is the seed bomb. Often called guerrilla gardening, seed bombs are made for areas where you’d like to add color but can’t easily cultivate because of fences or other blockages. These bombs would be best employed — or deployed — in the neglected flower beds and street planters of your community. You could also attack a forgotten section of your neighborhood with one, but you didn’t hear that from us.
The idea is to pack an array of seeds into a ball with all the things they’d need to get started on their journey. The casing of clay will protect the seeds from birds and insects. It also soaks up rain and dew, allowing the seeds to germinate and prepare for their transformation into seedlings. The compost gives them the nutrients they need to grow. Seed bombs work best when “planted” — tossed somewhere casually — in early spring or fall, so the April showers can help them do their work.
They’re perfect for your newbie gardeners, as it gives them a sense of accomplishment and might even encourage them to progress to the next level of gardening. Creating seed bombs is simple and easy. And if you’ve ever made truffles or cake balls, this may feel eerily similar.
How to Make Seed Bombs
3 parts of natural clay; can be found at art stores
5 parts compost
1 part wildflower seeds – you can use a pre-made wildflower seed mix
Start with 1 handful of seeds. Add the 5 parts of compost and mix well.
Add the 3 parts of clay and mix thoroughly.
Add small amounts of water, mix until consistency is similar to biscuit dough.
Grab a chunk, and roll in your hand until round and smooth, and truffle sized. Air dry in a warm dry place; preferably overnight. Once dry they can be stored for a few weeks in a cool, dark place.
Somewhere between seeds and seedlings is the bare-root plant starter.
It may not look as pretty as the potted plants you get in the nursery, or as promising as a fresh packet of seeds, but it’s every bit as viable.
The bare-root starter is a live plant in a dormant state. It will arrive when it’s ready to go in the ground and it’s essentially the root system of a plant with the dirt removed. The roots will converge into a “crown,” which is the top of the plant and faces up towards the sky.
I’ve always had success with bare-root bulbs, which can be planted in spring or fall. Much like with seeds, you must be patient with these plants as it can take anywhere from six to eight weeks before you start to see obvious growth.
TIPS FOR GROWING BARE-ROOT PLANTS:
Your bare-root plant will arrive in a plastic bag, and should be damp, but not too moldy. Your new plant should go in the ground as soon as possible, but if you need a few days, you can store them in a cool dry place, like a cool garage or a basement. They can be kept this way for about 5 days.
Sometimes bare root plants can dry out during transit so it is a good idea to soak them in a bucket of water for 2 to 4 hours to rehydrate them before planting. Warmth and moisture will signal them to start growing so check on them occasionally to be sure they aren’t getting moldy or soft.
Follow the instructions for planting, and take care not to plant too deep. Many times bare-root plants won’t thrive or bloom if the crown is too far below the surface.
Once planted, give them a bit of water, but not too much. The roots will need time to adjust to their new home, and you don’t want to add more stress.
Wait to fertilize until your plant is about 6 inches tall. You can also add a bit of mulch at this time.
For more information about bare root perennials, check out my YouTube channel!