Having Trouble Getting Plants to Sprout?  Try Using Seed Balls

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 10.34.29 AM

Seed balls are a simple and effective way to protect seeds until they can germinate and get established in the soil.  They are ideal in nutrient-deficient soils that don’t hold a lot of moisture, and they can protect the seeds from being eaten by opportunistic birds and animals as well.  Best of all, they are very easy to make, and it only takes a few minutes to create a batch that’s ready for indoor or outdoor planting.

Getting Started

All you need is some good clay, compost, a little bit of water and a couple of seeds.  If you don’t have any compost on-hand at the time, don’t worry.  You can make your own on the spot by crushing and mixing together items like dried leaves, vegetable scraps, egg shells, tea leaves, coffee grounds and grass clippings.  Once you have your compost, simply combine it with equal amounts of clay and make a ball that’s about the size of a quarter.

However, it’s important that the clay and compost are combined evenly.  Take your ball and cut it into small slices before mixing and cutting again.  Keep repeating the process until the compost is distributed throughout the clay.  It’s also important that you add just the right amount of water to keep the ball moist without it becoming saturated.  You want to end up with a ball that retains its shape and can be rolled between your hands without leaving moist residue behind, just like a ball of fresh Play-Dough.

Planting the Balls

All you need to do now is stick a couple of seeds into the clay, gently cover up the hole, and plant it in suitable soil.  As a general rule of thumb, try to plant large seeds deep in the center and smaller ones closer to the surface.  The clay will help to keep the seeds moist and protect them as they germinate and start to take root.  You can plant the seed balls into pots indoors, put them into holes in the ground outside, or you can even leave them on the surface as long as they are in an area that is not exposed to intense, searing sunlight.

Not only does this method allow you to plant seeds without having to dig or till soil beforehand, but it can also speed up the germination process and reduce overall growing time as well.  However, it’s important to be mindful of how many balls you plant in any given area to avoid over-crowding the  garden which can inhibit growth and productivity.

Food for Thought

While the general process is very simple, there are differing opinions regarding the best clay and techniques to use when making the balls.  Some people are convinced that red clay is better because it contains just the right amount of iron to promote optimal growth.  However, all clay contains iron, and it’s unlikely that you’ll notice a difference if you use white or blue alternatives instead.  The key to optimal growth is having good compost, good soil, and keeping the seed balls moist.

Some people are also convinced that it’s best to let the clay dry out completely before pulverizing it into a powder, mixing it with compost and adding water afterward.  While this can make it easier to mix everything together, starting with wet or dry clay shouldn’t impact how well the seeds grow, and waiting for the clay to dry can make this process unnecessarily time-consuming.  Feel free to experiment with different techniques and see which ones work best for you.

As you start to think about spring and the upcoming growing season, consider planting some crops with clay balls instead of scattering the seeds directly into the soil.  This simple technique can save you a lot of time and effort, and chances are that you’ll get your garden off to a fuller, healthier start.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
Jason P just claimed a Free FireStriker
Paul just bought a V1-Pro Tactical Flashlight
Jenny just claimed a Free FireStriker
Ken just claimed a Free FireStriker
Sally just claimed a Free FireStriker
Paul just claimed a Free FireStriker
Chris just bought an Ultimate Bug Out Bag
Mike just bought a V1-Pro Tactical Flashlight