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Seed Bombs: A Wildflower Party

It’s fall in San Antonio but if you were new to the city and had to spend any time outside recently, you just might call me a liar. The sun still blazes, but every now and then a cool morning greets us, and we just may dip below 85 for the highest temp of the day. We know it’s still warm, but we still bring in all your fall favorites you expect to see at the nursery all the while advising you a little extra caution when it comes to planting in these swinging temperatures. Most of your fall veggies will do fine now without extra protection from the sun, with the exception being lettuce which appreciates a little reprieve when the temperatures are still high. The first small batches of pansies, Johnny jump ups, and even cyclamen have shown up at the nursery for those who always want them early, but it’s best to wait until consistently cooler days to plant those unless you want Johnny melt downs.

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(You’ll be better off when temps cool consistently for these.)

But the one thing that is always best to plant at this time, even with the swinging temps, is wildflower seeds. So many people wait until spring to sow wildflowers, thinking they will get that picture-worthy bluebonnet patch, and then they end up standing at their “patch of reality”, shoulders slumped, staring at the few scraggly plants that have reluctantly popped up. You’ll basically be playing catch up all spring, and in all reality you might not catch up at all. The optimal time to get started on your wildflower patch is September through November here in San Antonio. And guess what? We’ve got an amazing workshop coming up to help you do just that.

Monarch Tag and Seed Bombs Bandera

(Come one, come all! This is gonna be fun!)

October 8th, at 10AM, at our Bandera location only, we will be hosting a sort of wildflower seed bomb soiree, if you will. We are inviting all who would like to come join us in making seed bombs. $5 gets you 20 seed bombs that can be released in your own yard, around the city, along the countrysides, and just about anywhere to give our pollinators a little boost. Seed bombs are a combination of wildflower seeds, red potter’s clay, potting soil, and water, mixed up together and rolled into little 1 inch balls.  Seed bombs, introduced back in the 70’s were originally thought of as a form of “guerilla gardening” (the act of gardening on land that is not being cared for, or abandoned). It’s thought that seed bombs work better than the technique of just broadcasting seeds because the potters clay tends to keep the seeds from blowing away to soon.

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(Ingredients for seed bombs. Photo credit: Monika Maeckle)

In order to make sure we were ready for this workshop, a few of us got together to demo some of the recipes we had for the seed bombs. Laura Jarvis, Ellen Barredo, and myself spent a day playing, I mean, working, as we tried out a couple of different recipes to find what we thought would work best for us at the workshop. We measured out  our wildflower seeds, red potter’s clay, soil, and gradually added our water, mixing all the ingredients together by hand, until we achieved the correct consistency, not too dry and not to wet. We kneaded and shaped the “dough” and worked on making the balls the correct size because if they are too large, they won’t break down as quickly and may reduce the chance for germination. The seed bombs were set out to dry for 24 hours, and we each took some home to do our some of own “guerilla gardening” around town.

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(Laura and Ellen opening seed packets)

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(Measuring out the clay and soil)

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(Mixing in the wildflower seeds. Ellen looks happy!)

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(Laura carefully and gradually adds the water.)

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(Mixing it up just right.)

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(Seed Bombs! Okay, so we can do better at making them the right size, but you get the idea.)

Our hopes in sharing these seed bombs with you is that you will then place them in areas of your garden, or nature, that will be undisturbed for the remainder of the fall and winter seasons. Through the natural course of weather, the clay and potting soil mixture will begin to disintegrate, releasing the wildflower seeds to where they can make contact with the soil and begin to germinate. Come spring time, you will hopefully have a beautiful patch of wildflowers and some very happy pollinators fluttering and buzzing around. Sound good? We thought so too!  By planting more wildflowers we increase our population of pollinators. With an increase in pollinators we turn right around and get more wildflowers. Isn’t that a great reciprocal cycle? Don’t you feel like breaking out into the Lion King’s ‘Circle of Life’ right about now?

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(More fields like these above, bring more help from the guys below.)

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(Ahhhhh! Pollen!)

So we hope to see you at our Seed Bomb workshop, this Saturday, the 8th of October at our Bandera location. Get there at 10AM, bring $5 at least, extra money if you wish to make more than 20 seed bombs, and be ready to have a whole lot of fun. P.S. There’s a possibility of some Monarch tagging and releasing too! See you there!

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(photo credit: Laura Jarvis)

-The Happy Gardener

-Lisa Mulroy

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