Use 'Seed Balls' for a greener world

Can you imagine a technique of planting trees that is absolutely fun for any age group? Imagine a technique which also helps to increase the green cover on the planet Earth, without involving much of your labour, time and investment! ‘Seed Balls' could be the answer to make things right for nature.

The trees are the silent victim of works intended for modernization and urbanization. But wait! Isn't the green cover the reason we are alive and breathing. Then why do we not care enough for it, and allow reckless cutting of trees? We need to stop wasting time in saying "don't cut the trees" and rather, start planting the trees.

Recently, nature lovers have taken to the idea of seed balls which doesn't ask for curtailment of the development process, but ensures that we breathe fresh in a very simple way. This afforestation technique is fully operational in US, UK, Kenya, Canada, Australia, China, New Zealand and many other countries. In India, the initiative has begun and gradually gaining momentum.

What are Seed Balls?

Also known as ‘earth balls' or ‘seed bombs', they contain variety of seeds and compost, wrapped effectively in clay or soil. The balls are dried, and then scattered over any place, for instance - your gardens, your farms or far off mountains, at the appropriate time of the year. The plants grow from the seeds after sufficient rainwater permeates through the clay.

Seed Ball: Throw it and Grow it!

The Japanese microbiologist, Masanobu Fukuoka, wanted to find a technique that would retain the natural characteristics of soil while farming, because, according to him cultivation and ploughing destroy the soil. He wanted to increase the food production, but only with ‘natural farming', hence rediscovered and popularized the seed ball technique.

Why Seed Balls?

 

  • The seed balls have a natural protective casing, which protects them from common predators (such as ants, mice, birds, etc). Also, it eliminates the chance that extreme conditions like winds or floods, will blow away, wash off or destroy the seed. The seed, wherever it is scattered, is safe until it germinates properly.

 

  • The tiny-sized seed balls contain a mini ecosystem within their safe haven - clay, minerals, nutrients, seeds, moisture, etc. They enclose all that a seed needs to sprout and grow into a plant. The only external requirement is light and water, which they is fulfilled by Sun and rain, respectively. The ball is heavy enough to anchor the growing plant.

 

  • The seed balls work well in almost every environment. You need to find out which seeds are well suited to local climate and soil type, and what they need to grow in those conditions. Prepare the seed balls, and then, simply, disperse them at the right time of the year, sin a flower pot, a garden, a farm, or throw them to distant hill or mountain. 

Take care that you don't disturb the pristine and vulnerable ecosystem, by introducing a non-native species.

  • The seed balls offer the opportunity to mix seeds of one or more plant species in a ball, which may have different requirements of nutrition and timing to grow. The technique remains the same, but recipe varies. So, if a plant species from the mix fails to survive, you still have chances that other plant species sown in the ball, may survive. 

Remember not to choke the plants by overloading them with seeds.

  • The seed balls are easy and convenient technique for people of any age. It can be a fun activity for kids and adults, who can be exposed to the fact that our nature is at risk and there's an urgent need of finding a sustainable solution for it. One seed ball produces more than one plant, which will produce more seeds and further, more plants from those seeds, until complete plant cover is achieved.

 

  • The seed balls can be used by rural farmers or urban gardeners to introduce vegetation, and also experiment with it. They can be used by people who have an aching back and can't bend down to sow seeds or plough land. Also, they can be used by aerial farmers, who can drop the seed balls from the sky, or by guerilla gardeners, who can throw the seed balls onto the lands they don't own (such as roadsides, mountains, empty plots, etc), but not at the cost of laws and rules of the place.

 

  • The seed balls are an effective method for re-greening the degraded area, without tilling, ploughing, fertilizers, pesticides, weeding or pruning. They can be used on lands that are steep slopes, woodlands, deserts, and other difficult terrains.

 

  • In urban areas, where there's less available land and people have almost no time to care about greenery around them, seed balls are time saving and less labour activity for their in-house flower pots and roadsides.

 

  • Amazing part of the activity is that you can make these seed balls at home, at school or buy them online. You can gift them to your kids, friends and relatives, because we all need plants to breathe fresh air.

 

How peaceful would it be to live in a world where people gift each plants, a world where government uses its air-planes to drop seed balls instead of destructive bombs.

 

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Author

Harry Walia