4/20/14

Seed Balls: Toss & Grow Gift

Making Seed Balls is a fun, easy gift to make. What is a seed ball you ask? A seed ball is a dirt or paper ball infused with flower or plant seeds.
wedding favors

 Then when out on a walk, hike or around the city, if you see an area that you think could be made more beautiful with flowers, just toss a ball or two in that area and let nature take over and before you know it, flowers or plants are growing in an otherwise barren area.
wedding favors

Seed balls are a wonder wedding favor or Mothers Day gift. They are thrifty in cost, unique and fun!

There are mainly two types of seed balls. Dirt based and paper based. Today I am making both of them for you!

Besides flowers you can also embed edibles such as leafy greens, herbs into the balls also. Perfect for tossing on a hike, and feed the wildlife in the area.  I chose a packet of bee friendly flowers for my friend who has bee hives and a butterfly friendly mix as well as seeds for  herbs and greens all mixed in together.

I consulted with a Wildlife Biologist, and she loved the project, but advised that you should use native plants for the area the seed balls may be going. So since I am sending some to my step-mom in Idaho, I will be looking into what native wildflowers grow there before making her seed balls.

Jan's Tip: The Dirt balls use powdered clay as a main ingredient. The clay helps hold the ball together and dry it out. Clay is available at either pottery supply stores or I got mine at Vitamin World. The powdered clay is also great for making your own facial masks, so the $5.00 I spent on the jar will NOT go to waste!


 Printable Directions
Printable Gift Bag Topper (I'm not much of an artist, but your welcome to  use the printable copy for personal, non commercial use. Please link back here if you share it.)

Seed Ball (Dirt Version)

Supplies:
Powdered Clay
Soil
Seeds
water

Directions:
  • In large bowl or container Mix together:
          5 parts dry clay
          3 parts soil
          1 part seeds
  • Slowly mix in 1 part water. Mix well.  You are looking to make the mixture wet enough to hold together like play-dough  but not sopping wet either.
  • Add in the second part water as needed. Mix well.
  • Roll into desired sized balls.
  • place on a baking sheet or other flat surface and let dry completely. Usually 8-24 hours depending on humidity, temperatures, etc.
Do not seal in bags until completely dry or they may sprout!

Jan's Tip:  I got a dozen small 1/2 inch sized seed balls by using the following amounts: I used tablespoons today. So I used 5 heaping tablespoons clay, 3 heaping tablespoons soil, 1 (ok maybe more like 1 1/2 Tablespoons) seeds, and I actually needed about 3 Tablespoons water for this batch to hold together.

 

 
 Seed Balls (Paper Version)

Sorry I don't have exact amounts of paper and seeds to this version. I used a whole bag of yellow gift bag shred and got about 24 balls/heart shapes out of it. The purple paper I used about 2 sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 scraps of paper and got about 4 heart shapes. Hope that helps.

Supplies:
Paper torn into shreds/scraps(can be newspaper, dryer lint, colored paper)
water
seeds
bowl
blender, food processor

Directions:
  • In a large bowl place paper shreds and cover with water.

  • Let paper soak 2-4 hours till paper is easily pulled apart/broken down.
  • Run scoops of the paper and water through a blender or food processor till it breaks down into a paper mush.(You will need to do this in several smaller batches)
  • Put the batches of mush in a fine mesh strainer and let some of the excess water drain off, but do not yet squeeze all the water out. You'll need some to form the balls.
  • Dump the paper mush into a bowl. When all the batches are done, sprinkle in the seeds
  • Scoop up some of the paper mush and squeeze it in your hands to ring out the excess water, while also forming a seed ball at the same time. (Sorry this picture was of the yellow pulp)
  • Set ball on a flat surface to dry. (see my dirt balls and my paper balls together?)

Using Molds
  • I used these silicone ice cube trays from the dollar store:
  • If you want to mold the seed balls, like these hearts, lightly ring out a scoop of the paper mush in your hands but not completely. 
  • Press it into the molds.
  • When the molds are full take a towel or paper towel and press firmly on each mold to draw out as much excess water as you can ,while at the same time compressing it together as tightly as you can. (this will help it to hold together when it's dry)
  • Takes about 24 hours to dry in the molds.
 
I found this version to be slightly more crumbly than the balls,so pressing and compacting them well in the molds will help. Also no large seeds, it'll  break apart.( I lost 2 hearts due to large seeds and not compacting them down as much as I could on my first trial)
  


3 comments:

  1. OMG I remember doing this when I was a child and had forgotten all about making them as I got older.
    I may have to get back into making these.
    Thanks for bring back a childhood memory
    ColleenB -senior citizen,
    Texas

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh my goodness, you crack me up! You are not as senior as you think! Glad to bring back a fun memory!

      Delete
  2. I just saw the Seed Balls on a local TV show. What a fun idea, the kids will love to do this.
    Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Cheers,
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick
    http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

    ReplyDelete

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