Part 1: Make Seed Bombs, Not War

14 February 2013

Have you seen those empty lots on the streets  of our cities? Have you ever felt the forbidden urge to see them planted with trees instead of bare concrete? Seen those neglected planter boxes? Now you can do something about it! Come join the Seed Party and learn how to make seed bombs!

At the seed party, plants are our biggest clients, we fight for their rights to be in the concrete jungle and our biggest tool is the ‘seed bomb’.

So what is a seed bomb… does it explode? Well, no… unfortunately… A seed bomb is just a thing that holds the seed and the required nutrients for the plant to have a kickstart!

It is good to note that our biggest enemies are the seed stealing crows. Plants face a lot of opposition from a lot of things, from bad soils to hot weather. But all these can be converted into positivity if the plants were to be given a place in the concrete jungle! The right plants can fix bad soil, cool down the weather and have enough food for nice wildlife!

So this is how to make a mud seed bomb. Our very own homecooked recipie.

Things needed:

  1. Red clay
  2. Compost
  3. Seeds
  4. Water

You are probably wondering where to get that red clay. Red clay is that clayey loam you can find at the bottom layer of your garden beds or more easily avaliable whenever there is construction or roadworks around. There is never a shortage of that in the city. We got ours from one of the mass transit projects.

The first thing to set out is the ratio, here we used a ratio of 1:5 that is 1 part red clay with  5 parts compost. You could use any variation from 1:1 onwards. The trick here is to balance the amount of nutrient (compost) with the holding power of the clay. Too much clay may make it difficult for the seed to push its way out but too much compost will cause the seed bomb to breakup too easily, allowing birds to pick on the seed and defeating its purpose of protecting the seed till its sprouted. If in doubt, 1:1 is a good way to start.

Next you mix the clay and compost together and add some water till it becomes a malleable lump like cookie dough.

Take a pinch of the lump and add a few seeds before rolling it into a ball.

Leave the seed bombs to dry in the sun or use them immediately when moist. Seed should sprout in 5-14 days, dependent on the plant. Instead of making balls, you can make sticks (to throw further) or press them into coins or even in cookie cutters for exotic shapes. We like them round, they don’t break easily when round.

To use them, you can toss or drop the seed bombs into any places with some soil and water. Common targets are vacant lots, neglected planter boxes, empty flower pots or those patchy roadsides.

Alex Lee is an urban explorer, DIY dude & greenie. He is constantly exploring, observing and apply interventions to cities to create conversations. Pint-sized but feisty, he is currently one of #BetterCities’ collaborators, leading our While We Wait project in Greater Kuala Lumpur. Alex believes the city is a living thing.