Seed Bombs can be a lovely native-habitat activity for class parties. Or just class.
I told the kids: “Regular bombs destroy the Earth, but native seed bombs can help save it.”
At the very least, they can help save a child from coming home with yet more never-to-biodegrade Craft Foam party creations.
I led a Seed Bomb activity at a party in a secular school last week, and for a holiday that is not in the Jewish year. But wouldn’t it make a neat Tu B’Shevat project? Actually, it could be programmed at synagogue anytime—no party required—and tied to nature work: teva, tikkun olam, shomrei adamah, etc., or to the goal to make any waste place more welcoming to native wildlife. Habitat mitigation, reconstruction, conservation. Think interstate shoulders, utility poles, easements, abandoned lots, trash collection points, and so on.
The seeds must be native to the area. That’s the whole point: to help teach what is native and why native is important. Plants that have co-evolved with local habitat offer deep and wide ecological function. They feed more animals. They do not bully other species. They may well be the single host plant for a native butterfly (like the famous milkweeds). They contribute, not destroy.
Seed bombs are made of a clay/soil mix designed to break or dissolve upon landing, and thereby releasing seeds. Thrown in a place that gets rain and sun, they might sprout.
Here’s what we did:
• Every kid gets a blob of clay/soil mixture. Kid flattens blob into pancake and fills with native wildflower seeds. (Seeds are arranged like a buffet, with photo of the flower in each container. It’s February, so there are no real flowers to show.)
• Kid re-forms ball, wraps in wax paper and ties a tag that includes instructions for throwing.
• Kid hears that the seeds will feed the Earth one way or another: they might sprout and produce nectar, pollen, seeds or other food for insects, birds and mammals. But even if they don’t, bomb seeds will be eaten or eventually decompose and become soil.
• Kid hears that every seed is from Middle Tennessee and plays nicely with the other plants and animals here.
• Kid recognizes the pods of Common Milkweed from Nature Journeys with school naturalist. Kid notes variety of seed dispersal adaptations: seeds with fluff, hard shells, soft casings, barbs, and seeds that are ridiculously small.
• Kid likes the sound of the word “bomb.”
My seeds came from my yard, plucked from the day before.
Not sure which seeds are native for your area? Check your local Native Plant society or native plant nursery. Try to avoid cultivars and fancy stuff and go for the species that grow well in the meadows or woods nearby. They are the likeliest to have the deepest and widest ecological value, and the likeliest to grow well.
History of seed bombs:
Guerrilla gardening isn’t new, and seed bomb tutorials abound online. If a kid makes them, everyone wins.