How To Make Seed Bombs
The guerrilla gardening movement as it is now understood got its start in 1973 on New York’s Lower East Side when a New York resident named Liz Christy, fed up with the lack of green space in her neighborhood, began lobbing “seed grenades” – biodegradable balloons filled with tomato seeds and fertilizer – over fences, into vacant lots, or anywhere else where she wanted plants to grow.
Decades later, “seed bombs” are all the rage. Crate & Barrel have designed their own seed bombs; designers in L.A. and San Francisco use them to beautify urban decay; J. Crew recently distributed wildflower seed bombs as part of their spring collection, encouraging shoppers who received them to go forth and plant the bombs to help them support local bee populations.
Making your own seed bombs is also a great activity for kids– we like to sculpt them into fun shapes like hearts and flowers, but really, the creative possibilities are endless. Plus: it’s easy to set up and clean up, and seed bombs are also a fun way to demonstrate that a simple act can produce beautiful results, in the form of flowers or food.
Beyond their conception in New York, Seed bombs may have originated in Japan, where an ancient technique called tsuchi dango (which translates to “earth dumpling”) became a form of aerial restoration used as a means to distribute seeds to inaccessible rural areas.
All seeds– flower, herb, and vegetable– can be used to make seed bombs. Pictured above and below are our homemade “GC Radish Bombs.” We chose radishes for a couple of reasons: First, they sprout very quickly and grow very quickly, even in neglected environments. There are also several interesting varieties that come in fun colors— white, red, pink, and even black. Radishes are delicious eaten raw, are full of Vitamin C, and are very hydrating to the body.
- Potter clay from a craft store
- Mix 3 parts clay compost and 1 part seeds together.
- Form into fun shapes, sculpting the mixture like clay. Be aware that this may take longer than you think; you have to really massage it and it takes some strength.
- For best results, allow 24 hours for shapes to set.
- Throw them right before it rains.
- Follow up to see if they grow!
If you like the idea of seed bombs but are not in the mood to make your own, Grow The Rainbow and American Meadows both have nice options. But– as with most things– there’s nothing like the homemade version.