What is a seed bomb?
Seed bombs come in many forms. In all cases, a seed bomb is a bunch of seeds stuck together, often with dirt, paper, or other materials. Seed bombs are sometimes used by “guerilla gardeners” who like to plant rogue flowers in vacant dirt around the neighborhood, or even out in the woods. Seed bombs also make great gifts or party favors, especially when you are looking for a homemade and personal touch to your gift.
What are the ingredients of a seed bomb?
Let’s talk what sort of plants you want to grow. If you are thinking flowers, do a little planning as far as time of year of planting and the type of flower. Consider the climate, zone, and sunlight needs of the seeds you are thinking of putting into your bomb.
Consider also the recipients of your bomb. If they are mostly city dwellers in apartments, giant sunflowers might not be the best bet.
If this is a gift for wedding guests or others who travel from far, consider putting in seeds that are innocuous (instead of invasive). Just because something is native in your area, doesn’t mean that it should be planted everywhere. Try also to avoid something that grows aggressively, such as Morning Glory.
The best bets for seed bombs are annual flowers that germinate easily, and don’t require special planning beyond time of year. Zinnias and Cosmos are beautiful and easy, and grow with a riotous color that brightens up any barren space.
If you are thinking herbs, consider herbs that are useful in the kitchen, such as basil, thyme, and sage. These are easy to grow plants, and don’t require any special considerations (like rosemary, which can be difficult to grow from seed).
Recommended Recipe for Seed Bombs
Some recipes you find on the net recommend putting a lot of seeds in each seed bomb. While this really packs the seed bomb full-up, the resulting plants will probably not perform well. In general, plants need enough space to thrive. If most of the seeds germinate, and you are not around the thin them, they will compete for nutrients and water. They won’t thrive, and will probably die. The recipes we like are the ones that include only a few seeds per bomb.
Here’s what you need:
1 cup compost (aged, sifted, and ready to be used)
1 cup of clay (potters clay can work, or even clay from your backyard if you happen to have some)
Bowl big enough for the compost and the clay
Approximately 50 seeds
Add the clay to your bowl.
Add a little bit of water, and slowly mix it up, until you can stir the clay like batter or mashed potatoes. Small lumps if you have some won’t matter.
Add the compost to the clay mixture. We are looking to have an equal amount of clay to compost, so if you added extra clay, try to match it with the compost. Add small amounts of water as you mix, but not too much. You want a mixture you can play with and mold, not dirt soup.
Using a spoon, scoop up a bit of the mud mixture (like you are getting ready to drop cookie dough onto a cookie sheet). You can press the seeds into the spoonful with a finger, and then roll the spoonful into a ball or clump. (If you are making gifts, I’m sure you’ll try much harder to make a pretty ball. I’m not that picky myself).
Place the ball (clump) on a baking sheet or other flat surface that is easy to clean.
Repeat until you’ve used up all the mud mix or the seeds.
Place the bombs in a dry place (sun is okay) to dry out and harden up.
How to Make Seed Bombs with Paper
Making DIY seed bombs with paper is a really cool (and perhaps less messy) activity to do with children. The same rules for choosing seeds applies.
Here’s what you need:
Paper (newspaper, paper towels, math homework, construction paper, recycled paper, even cardboard, just about any kind of paper-like material that can be torn)
A large bowl, bucket, or bin that can hold water
A few other empty containers
Strainer/Colander with small holes
Blender or Food Processor (an old one or second hand one that you don’t use for food preparation is recommended)
Tear up the paper you want to use. You can use a paper shredder for this if you like, or you can just use the exercise to get out the day’s tensions and stresses.
After you’ve shredded the paper, place it into the large bowl and cover the paper with water. You can soak the paper overnight, or you can soak it for just a few minutes. The goal is to just get the paper to absorb as much water as possible, since the paper is going into the blender next.
Put about a copy of the soggy paper into the blender. Don’t fill it up all the way (you’ll be sorry). Add water to the blender, at least until it covers the paper. You may need more water, you’ll have to check and see what your blender can handle.
Once you’ve blended up the paper, put the colander over one of your extra bowls. Then pour the mixture from the blender to the colander. Don’t worry about trying to get all the water out, you’ll want the water to be in there when it is time to make the seed bombs.
Once most of the water is out of the pulpy mixture, transfer the blended paper to another bowl. From there, you can do one of two things (involving the seeds:
- Make balls like the clay/compost bombs above, placing the seeds on the inside and then wrapping the mixture around it.
- Drop all the seeds you want to use into the mixture, and stir it all up until the seeds are spread out uniformly (you may have to knead the seeds in). If you choose this method, you can more easily form fun shapes with the pulpy mixture.
- Add food coloring or use colored paper or construction paper to make your bombs more creative
Make your seed bomb! Some folks like to press the pulpy mixture (and seeds) into cookie cutters to make fun and unique shapes.
In every case, if you are giving away seed bombs as favors or gifts, try to include a card or note explaining the bomb and how to use it. Consider including the “ingredients” list in case travelers are called upon to explain just what exactly they are carrying.
In some cases, guests who are flying home may not want to carry the seeds home with them. Some states (or countries) can get a bit grumpy about carrying seeds in or out of their territory.
Before you bounce, check out another great article from one of our many Mom Advice Line contributors:
- How to Help My Toddler Become Independent
- Creative Ways to Teach a Child His Letters
- I’m Worried, My Child Shows No Interest in Writing
- My Child is Failing Kindergarten. Now What?
- Teaching Your Children to Be Good Sports in Sports
- What Does An Infant Do All Day in Daycare?
Emily Anderson is a mother of three children, ages 8, 6, and 3. Located in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, Emily is a full-time mom and part-time blogger, jumping in front of the screen when the kids are occupied. She can be reached through the Contact Us page.