Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Making Wildflower Seed Bombs!

Faith and I tried making a batch of these yesterday so that we were ready pre-pared for the Home Education group today where we are running this as an activity for others to try out! They don't look that attractive in the pictures but they are packed full of British Hedgerow Wildflower seeds, varieties that will grow in semi-shade, and so carry the potential to be really beautiful! I can't remember where I saw the idea but it comes from the 'guerilla gardening' movement where people go under cover of darkness usually to garden derelict areas and make them beautiful and more useful for wildlife. I believe the original bombs were much larger and made from clay and compost but our version is made from recycled paper pulp! Here's how we did them:
Sheets of newspaper torn into small pieces and soaked in water (we found that four sheets of a tabloid sized paper filled one of our ice-cube trays)......
We then blended a large spoonful at a time with about a half-pint more water so as to be kind to our blender!

This was the result - sloppy paper pulp that Faith had fun playing with!
We mixed a tablespoonful of the wildflower seed into the pulp and stirred it in well then tipped the mix into a muslin cloth tied over a large pan. We twisted the cloth up and hand-squeezed as much water as possible out of the mix.
We took small amounts of the pulp and pushied it into the ice-cube compartments, squeezing any more water out as we went. They were a little tricky to get out of this ice-cube tray - I think that a silicone one would be easier to use, and it would make some fun shapes as well! Once popped out we lined them up on the radiators to dry as they need to be completely dry for storage or the seeds will try to germinate prematurely!

I remembered too late for this batch that when we made paper we added coloured tissue paper and it turned the paper purple, so tomorrow I'm going to try adding yellow and orange tissue paper for a Spring-like look!

Once dried these can be put into a bag and carried with you on a walk or drive and chucked into the base of a hegerow where the seeds will hopefully germinate and the flowers will grow! This was why I chose the native wildflower seeds as so many hedgerows have been lost, reducing the number of habitats for insects, birds and animals and particularly affecting butterflies. This is a fun way to try and redress the balance - we are going to try and 'bomb' our local canal-side hedges with these!

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