Making Seed Bombs With Milkweed
Seed bombs are extremely easy to make and are a great way to casually plant seed in the fall or early spring (depending on the variety). I chose to make seed bombs with milkweed seed because this low-maintenance perennial is a must-have for any pollinator garden and is easily seeded in the fall.
Seed bombs are a perfect project to get your kids involved in gardening and make for a great winter activity to get ready for spring seeding. They are also fabulous party or wedding favors.
Follow these simple instructions for making seed bombs with milkweed and easily substitute any wildflower seed that catch your eye.
1. Get Your Ingredients Together
One of the key steps to making seed bombs is making sure you have the right ingredients. They are easily found in your local garden center and craft store.
Seed Bomb Ingredients:
- A non-toxic clay. It can be powdered or prepared clay. I chose a clay without any added dyes that was all natural.
- Organic compost. Try to get the best compost available – this helps the seeds sprout and grow larger plants.
- Seed (of course!) I used milkweed seed but you can use any wildflower seed.
I put all the ingredients in bowls so it was easy to access them while making the seed bombs.
2. Mix The Compost, Clay and Water
I thought this was the most fun part of making seed bombs. It was therapeutic to get my hands dirty in the off-season!
Start with equal parts compost and clay. The more compost, the better!
Pro tip: Feel free to use garden gloves, as this does get a little messy. I don’t mind getting my hands dirty but wish I had taken my ring off!
Start with one part compost to one part clay and mix it together with your hands. Add water gradually to get a soft texture that is easily molded. Once I had the right consistency, I kept adding more compost, clay and water until I had enough for about 12 seed bombs.
3. Roll The Mixture Out Flat And Cut
Once you have enough clay/compost mixture, roll it flat on the table and use a sharp tool (I used a butter knife) and cut in even sections. This makes it easier to make semi-consistent sized seed bombs, although in the end mine weren’t all the same size.
4. Roll Into Balls
Use your hands to roll each section out into a round ball. This step definitely reminded me of making cookies. Each ball should be roughly the size of a quarter.
5. Add Seeds!
I used a toothpick to poke holes in each seed ball and fill with milkweed seeds. Milkweed seeds are medium sized so I could press them further into the center of the ball. If you’re using smaller seeds (like poppies) make sure to keep them towards the surface of the ball so they have the best chance of germinating. If you’re using larger seeds (like sunflowers) they can be buried deep in the center of the seed ball.
I added about 6-7 milkweed seeds per ball. Make sure not to put too many seeds in each seed ball as they could get overcrowded once planting.
6. Roll Into Balls Again
Once you’ve added the seeds, use your hands to roll the bombs into round balls again, making sure to press the seeds in.
This is easiest part: let your seed bombs dry for a few hours until hard.
Waiting for the seed bombs to dry.
8. Plant (Or Store For Next Season)
If you’re making your seed bombs in the off-season, simply store the seed bombs in an airtight container in a cool, dry place until it’s time to plant. A mason jar in the back of a closet works great!
How To Plant Seed Bombs:
When: Plant in the fall once there have been a few frosts and there is no chance the seeds will germinate before spring. If you’re making milkweed bombs like I did, fall is the only time to plant. If you’re making seed bombs with other wildflowers, sow in the fall or in the early spring once there is no more chance of frost.
How: Simply throw the ball onto bare soil in the garden or like a true rogue gardener, toss balls in random spots throughout your property. With a little water and plenty of sunlight (with the help of the compost), your seed bombs will germinate and grow easily.
My milkweed seed bombs will eventually become a haven for monarchs!
I had a lot of fun making seed bombs and the entire process – once I had the ingredients – took less than an hour. Have you made seed bombs for your garden? Please share your experience in the comments below!
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is the famous orange milkweed species native from Canada to Florida. Needs fast-draining soil and full sun. Perennial.
How to Make Milkweed and Flower Seed Bombs for Pollinators
Our latest effort to expand monarch butterfly and pollinator habitats in Vermont: seed bombs
The monarch’s have returned to Mexico and we’re in that annual limbo of Fall weather in New England. So, it could seem odd that we’re talking about growing milkweed in November, but now is actually the perfect time to get your seeds outside for the Spring.
Last spring we tried growing milkweed seedlings. We planted over a thousand seeds, raised them into seedlings and planted them around our Stonehurst Showroom property. The harsh and dry summer, mixed with wildlife curiosity, didn’t bode well for our seedlings. Few took the conditions and our seed harvest this year was vastly smaller than the year before.
That being said, we’re trying something new this year-making milkweed seed bombs.
What is that you ask? I’ll tell you in a step-by-step guide.
First, you’ll need potting soil, clay, milkweed and/or flower seeds, water and space to get a little messy.
(For the clay we used chemical free, clay kitty litter.)
You’ll first add the potting soil to your mixing bowl.
Then you’ll add equal parts clay.
You’ll slowly add the water, but if you over pour, not to worry, just add more dirt and clay. You’ll know if you added too much water if the consistency is more liquid than solid.
The consistency should have a thick, moist, potting soil feel to it. If you have plenty of seeds, you can add your seeds to the mixture as well. If like us, your supply is short, we’ll tell you what to do in the next step.
You’ll roll the mixture into small seed bombs, similar to the size of a donut hole. If you haven’t already added the seeds, you’ll do this now. We used chopsticks to create a little hole in the ball, we did this two-four times per ball, dropped the seeds in and cover the holes.
Once you’re done, you’ll need to let the balls air-dry until they’re completely dry, 1-3 days.
Once dry, you’ll be able to toss them outside in different places. This will allow the seeds to germinate over the winter in the cold and have a proper habitat when the snow melts and the temperature goes back up.
We’ll keep you updated on our success and if you try this, let us know how it goes. Have a successful growing method? Let us know in the comments!
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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.
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