Seed Bombs Away

Though I admit I harbor a special fondness for urban entropy — the muted allure of vacant lots and barren earth — I am also a fan of reclaiming under-utilized space, which guerilla gardening exemplifies nicely. While there are all sorts of methods of garden space reclamation, from the labor intensive to the casual, by far the easiest is the seed package or “bomb.”

Reportedly invented in the '70s in New York City and championed by proponents of “do-nothing” or Fukuoka farming, seed bombs have become the weapon of choice for a new legion of green guerillas. They’re easy to make, and even easier to use — and within each lies the potential to re-foliate an abandoned lot, a street meridian, or a neglected curbside planter.

Simply mix equal parts clay and compost with a couple of packages of wildflower seeds (natives please!), mold into marble-sized balls, air-dry and carry with you wherever you go. These clever, self-planting projectiles can be tossed over chain link fences, tucked around the roots of trees, or placed just about anywhere there is a patch of unplanted ground. The compost helps to nourish the seeds and the clay protects them until the rain and the passage of time have a chance to disseminate them properly. The seeds that survive will grow to hopefully attract any number of native butterflies, bees, and other important pollinators who will make good use of your small contribution to their ecosystem.

In the city, getting “back to the land” isn’t quite the obvious notion that it is in the country or even in the spacious backyards of suburbia. Hemmed in on all sides by concrete, steel, and glass, it can be hard to remember sometimes that despite our best efforts to eradicate it, nature still flourishes as best it can in every available spot. Lending a helping hand to the process can inspire us to become more invested in the future of the spaces around us — especially the spaces that are most in danger of being taken away.

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