Seed Bombs for Earth Day

This post comes directly from Marcie Cuff’s blog Mossymossy.com. Marcie wrote “This Book Was a Tree,” my favorite book about exploring nature with kids. 

Seed bombs are magical little nuggets of clay, compost and native seeds used to surreptitiously improve areas you’re unable to reach.

DSC_2534-300x200To determine native species in your area, ask a smart friend, or visit the Native Plant Database. My family and I live in the Northeastern U.S., and our seed bombs include (among other seeds) eastern red columbine, red milkweed, butterfly weed, New England aster, joe pye weed, lanceleaf coreopsis, blazing star, wild bergamot, sweet coneflower and rigid goldenrod.

Select low-maintenance drought-tolerant native species that can thrive with intermittent care. As mentioned previously, choose seeds wisely. You certainly do not want to select invasive species that will threaten biodiversity. Consider species that create habitats for other native critters like butterflies and birds.

To determine your soil type, do the squeeze test: take a handful of moist (but not wet) soil and give it a firm squeeze. Most likely, one of three things will happen:

  • The soil falls apart as soon as you open your hand. This means you have sandy soil.
  • The soil holds it’s shape, and when you give it a little poke, it crumbles. This means you have loam. Perfect for a garden—it retains moisture and nutrients, but doesn’t stay soggy.
  • It holds it shape, and when you give it a little poke, it sits stubbornly in your hand. This means you have nutrient-rich clay soil. Perfect for this project.

DSC_2534-300x200If you have dreams of a yard-ful of annuals, perennials and veggies, yet have the horrible misfortune of heavy clay soil (I can relate), today you are in luck. There is little need for clay amendment in your seed bomb recipe. Just head to your backyard and collect some clay soil. If your soil is sandy or loamy, however, you must add natural clay (often found in natural stream banks), terracotta clay powder or air-dry clay (found in art supply or health food stores).

Like making a mudpie, making a seed bomb is not an exact science. Use the below recipe as a guide, but your measurements needn’t be exact.

Seed Bomb Recipe

– 3 parts clay (see note above)

– 3 parts dry organic compost or worm castings

– 1 part small native perennial seed

– 1 to 2 parts water (added by the Tbs)

The mixture should be moist, but not wet. Knead it with your hands, being sure to incorporate all seeds. Roll it into 1 to 2 inch balls. Set them on newspaper to dry for 2 days before using, or store on a sunny windowsill before throwing over a fence. Your seed bombs are ready to wreak havoc on green wastelands. Just throw and they will grow. Rich in nutrients, the clay and compost aid in germination and help strengthen plant root systems.

Nicely packaged in a handmade bag, seed bombs make fantastic handmade gifts for friends, family and teachers. Include a nice note or quote like one of these:

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant. –Robert Louis Stevenson
Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them. –A.A. Milne

Once there was a tree, and she loved a little boy. –Shel Silverstein

The greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. –Roald Dahl

Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart. –A.A. Milne

Small as a peanut, big as a giant, we’re all the same size when we turn off the light. –Shel Silverstein

Once you have perfected the seed bomb, you may get the urge to branch out and attempt other small-scale unlawful acts. Do not mention my name during your interrogation!

Now, Joanie or Johnny Appleseed, plant something already!

Free activities from bestselling kids books

Did you know that many of the best kids books have free printables and downloadable activity books? Publishers offer these for teachers and parents to extend popular and educational stories. Here are a few we like. There are many more available.

Josephine

This charming biography invites readers to step inside the vibrant and spirited world of performer and civil rights advocate, Josephine Baker. Robinson’s paintings are as colorful and rich as Josephine Baker’s story, offering page after page of captivating and animated illustrations and rhythmic text, which is written in blank verse. More about the book.

Make your own banana bracelet as featured in the book. Or design and color Josephine’s exotic pets and more.

Press Here

This now-classic book has been a best seller for almost three years. “Press the yellow dot on the cover of this book, follow the instructions within, and embark upon a magical journey!” It’s about the power of imagination. It’s also an interactive book perfect for reading aloud. More about the book.

Make a “Press Here” minibook and more with this PDF

 Lately Lily

In this picture book from illustrator Micah Player, Lily is a worldtravelling girl with boundless curiosity. She goes on  adventures with her best friend Zeborah, travelling by plane, train, boat, and even by camel. More about the book.

Download a Lately Lily activity PDF here

Kokeshi series

These cute books introduce kids to the Kokeshis’ fabulous world of kimonos, unique hairdos, cheerful friends, and more! More about the books.

Download the activity kit here

Free, fun printable comic book activities to spark kid creativity

Here are three awesome, free, printable activity guides for your  kids from First Second Books. These activities are fun, buy they’ll also spark creativity and teach your kids a bit about drawing comics.


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Download the Glorkian Warrior Activity Kit!

It’s based on the hilarious hero of graphic books and the video games based on them. Read our interview with cartoonist James Kochalka.


Adventures in Cartooning

Download the “Adventures in Cartooning” activity book!

It’s based on the book “How to Turn Your Doodles into Comics.” In this action-packed cartooning adventure, kids will have as much fun making comics as reading them. From the Center for Cartoon Studies.


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Download the Official, Awesome Giants Beware Activity Kit!

Giants Beware! is a fantastic graphic novel that twists traditional fairy tale gender roles in a smart, funny way.