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Seed Bombs: Fighting the Filth

Here's our DIY guide for making (and planting) these throw-and-grow green grenades.

Seed Bomb SproutingThe guerrilla gardening movement has blossomed as it’s moved from the underground (heh, heh) into the light of day with seed bombs. What is guerrilla gardening? It’s the practice of planting — you might also say beautifying or greening — neglected, vacant land, both public and private. Sometimes this involves edible plants, sometimes decorative (or both).

The act, despite its obvious benefits, is frequently illegal and anyone participating should be aware of the consequences, even if they’re seldom applied. Though the history of the movement has not been recorded — it’s a guerrilla movement, remember? — it reputedly began in New York City and other urban centers during the 1970s when much land was abandoned and public spaces were often ignored.

Hand-rolled and packaged by people with disabilities, Seedballz Seed Bombs are changing lives. Contains an all-natural mixture of seeds, red clay and soil humus. The clay helps speed germination and protects against thieving birds and insects. Sold in 4 oz packs.

Seed bombs are the major weapon in this ground attack. They contain everything needed — compost, clay and seeds — to yield a green explosion in open ground. They can be dropped, tossed or shot from sling shots (our tests show a danger of backfire with the latter method).

Also known by their less radical name seed balls, they’re fun to make and use and are an especially great project for children though we recommend you makes sure your kids know they should be used legally — see the comments below — and never as weapons (you can always use seed bombs on your own property, or get permission before attacking someone else’s property).

DIY Seed Bomb Recipe

  • 4 parts potter’s clay available at your local art supply store
  • 1 part organic compost
  • 1 part seeds of your choice
  • 1 part water

Hand mix compost, clay and water thoroughly to a consistency of Play-Doh®. Add seeds (native varieties are best) and mix well. Roll 1 inch balls from the mixture, adding more water if they do not hold together easily. Place on a cookie tray and allow to dry for 24-48 hours.

Seed bombs have become so popular that even legitimate businesses have joined this subversive movement of veggie-vandalism. Planet Natural has gone guerrilla gardening one better by offering a selection of SeedBallz. Made by people with disabilities, they’re offered in a number of flower, veggie, and herb-seed varieties. Purchased or home-made, seed balls are a great way to go on the offensive in the green revolution.

7 Responses to “Seed Bombs: Fighting the Filth”

  1. Judy Ney on May 14th, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

    Before I plant these, do they contain neonicotinoids? We need pollinators.
    Thank you,

    • E. Vinje on May 14th, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

      Judy –

      Neonicotinoids are a class of pesticides. They would not be in seed bombs, which are a mixture of seeds, clay and mulch.

  2. annika on June 13th, 2016 at 1:48 pm #

    When used for permaculture seed bombs/balls are great, but it’s ILLEGAL to dump seed bombs on private property. Dumping is a TRESPASS. Here’s what’s going on in my part of the upper middle class world: whenever a neighbor has a problem with another neighbor he or she bombards their neighbor’s house with seed bombs. Seed bombs not only ruin landscapes that cost thousands of dollars to plant but they also invite rodents. That’s correct–rats, white footed mice, brown mice, chipmunks, rabbits, squirrels, many birds and their predators are attracted to seed balls/bombs. The rodents chew up expensive roots on bushes, trees and herbaceous plants as they desperately try to eat all the seeds and moss. Rodent’s poop also attracts their predators, and those predators tear up the garden looking for rodents. As if this is not bad enough some have decided to throw glass shards inside the seed balls.

    Seed bombing private property, other than yours, could cause the destruction of property and it is illegally dumping. Dumping is against the law and a person can get a fine, arrested or sued for such acts. As for children, anyone teaching them to throw seed balls on private property other than their own, is encouraging bullying and unlawful behavior, and therefore corrupting minors.

    • debbie on July 28th, 2019 at 3:39 pm #

      Your property is surely your’s only, and it is not considerate for others to “bombard” your landscape with seeds. The people who did this probably had good-intentions only, ask anyone who is a pro in landscaping and gardening about grass yard without native plantings vs. one that has local native plants and flowering shrubs, trees, gardens, and they will tell you that you may need to raise your own standards and reconsider what is in your yard. You have honestly made a real plea against this yet you include such violent languaging I am wondering how you can possibly in the same breath blame others’ acts being bullying aggressive, threatening, or violent even destructive, sorry that is pretty ridiculous. But I wrote even though you may never receive nor read this, because actually this is a generous offer of plants that are of native variety thus they contribute to pollinators which are becoming endangered species- aka Monarch Butterflies, honeybees, etc. Still, if you do not want these organic, peaceful yet a bit presumptuous folks dropping natural seeds (after-all they assume everyone does or wants them to feel as they do: that planting local, native, organic, for the pollinators, will help promote a natural balance in your property). Personally this has been my real experience through establishing and maintaining gardens, yard, horse pastures, a property that will not contaminate our home or well, as we do not use poison, sprays, or chemicals that one way or another will enter the ecosystem affecting not just all insects and wildlife, but humans, our kids, and our pets. I have not planted non-native nor non-organic plantings and have a beautiful perennial butterfly/pollinator garden that self-sustains a great balance without the kinds of pests you mentioned. We have been doing this on our 15-acre farm for 25 years. It is an amazing balance, how one helps the other in nature’s world.
      Good luck, best wishes. Peace.

      • Maddie on August 8th, 2019 at 1:20 pm #

        HAHA YES! Go Debbie! Annika no doubt is an awful neighbour with an attitude like that and her need to have total control over a perfect, sterile, poisonous garden was the likely inspiration for locals to seed bomb her. The woman is anti-chipmunk…. she is like the witch in a Disney film!

        Annika, good luck in your lawsuit against local children. If I notice any kids blowing dandelion fluff and making wishes upwind of your property, I will call the cops on these domestic terrorists on your behalf! ;D LOL

    • Dan on January 11th, 2020 at 12:37 pm #

      I agree with everyone else responding to this, Annika, you sound like a bad neighbor. I also 100% guarantee you are either paranoid and incorrect or simply lying about “shards of glass” in the seed bombs – an absolutely ridiculous assertion to make about local activists who clearly place a higher value on community health and safety than you do. Reconsider your way of looking at the world!

      Note: I totally understand Annika will likely never see this comment, but this message is for anyone else reading this who agrees with her. Community and native plants over property lines and toxic landscaping!

    • Dan on January 11th, 2020 at 12:48 pm #

      Also, the rodent activity you mention is far more likely due to local wildlife investigating the fertilizers, irrigation equipment and nonnative species than to a handful of clay balls. Remember that as annoying as you find the critters, your yard is their home even more than it is yours.