Now that the good weather’s here, it’s time to get to work solving our area’s food security problems. We can all hope that the snow which is now quickly melting is the last we see for quite a while, and that means its time to start looking to plant some food.

If you’re lucky enough to have space or a plot in a community garden, now would be a good time to be starting things indoors. But if you don’t, don’t despair. Our city is a big place, and filled with big patches of dirt which could use a little life. There’s lots of ways to use this space, from learning to pick out edible “weeds” (a very large chunk of what grows here is actually quite nutritious) to planting a community garden. But the easiest by far is to throw seed bombs.

Seed bombs (or balls) are small balls of seeds, clay and compost. They’re simply thrown onto any area with soil, where they lie in wait for rain to soak through the tough clay shell. This shell protects the seeds from birds and others who’d eat them, as well as the trauma of being thrown. It also provides mineral nutrients for the new plants, especially if it’s red clay from a riverbed. Seed bombs can be made by hand, or in big tumblers for larger operations (the easiest way is a spinning oil drum).

Wikipedia: Seed Balls Seed bomb guide and Forum
Instructables: How to Make a Seed Bomb
On Seedballs – a fantastic resource for history and methods.
“Seedpills” – an innovative new idea using gel-capsules to hold seeds and fertilizer which melt when rained on.

This process has many ancient roots, but its modern history goes back to Masanobu Fukuoka, the Japanese natural farming guru. His radical growing styles didn’t plant things in rows or monocultures, and refused to weed, fertilize or till them. Like Permaculture, it emulated nature by allowing plants to group themselves into synergistic relationships. And for this process, seed bombs were perfect for broadcasting a nice random spread of carefully selected seeds.

In a “city of waterfalls”, there are certainly options around for lots of juicy red riverbed clay, and you’ll spot more sites than you could bomb in a week. If you don’t have seeds, there are many cheap wildflower mixes you can buy, or simply go scrounging in the woods for dried seed pods that survived the winter. Be creative and experiment, and share your stories and results.