Seed balls are seeds wrapped up in a ball of clay. They may eliminate the labour of ploughing or digging holes for seeds, providing many of the advantages of ploughing, with much less labour and no machinery. Seed balls have also been used for reforestation.
Seed balls should be scattered on the ground and forgotten about. They will sprout when there is enough rain. There is no need to plant them, as they are already surrounded by soil, nutrients and microorganisms. The clay shell protects the seeds from birds, ants and rats.
To make seed balls:
- Take 1 part mixed seeds and 3 parts of local compost. Mix well.
- Add 5 parts red clay. Mix well.
- Add 2 parts water, mixing constantly until the balls are just wet enough to be sticky, but not so wet that there is excess water. Mix until the whole mixture uniformly has this sticky texture.
- If you choose, you can add something like ground chilli or pennyroyal to help repel pests.
- Take little balls of the mixture, one inch in diameter, and roll them into balls between your palms.
- Wikipedia: "Seed Ball" and Masanobu Fukuoka
- Fukuoka forum - check out the videos!
- Appropedia: Seed balls - includes external links to a video of a "drum" to make 40k seedballs a day, enough for one acre a day. Minute 17 of video "Seed Ball Story"
- Youtube: Gabi's Seed Ball tutorial
- biochar has been added to seed balls with great benefits, and appears to be improving some qualities such as germination rates - see: article from Ithaka Institut (in German though)