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Consider Seedballs

 Birds, wind, rain....keep those seeds where you sowed them.  Make seedballs!

 

 

 

  


Seedball Recipe

Sara Beckelman, Texas Master Naturalist, NT Chapter, 2006.
Adapted for educational purposes by Jane Bartosiewicz, Dallas County Master Gardener, NT Master Naturalist.

Ingredients:

  • 3 parts fine humus which includes microbes (I use Hu-More, which I purchase at Calloway's.)
  • 1 part seeds (Usually collected from the area or close by the area where you want to put out the seedballs. Local ecotype seeds promise more seed germination than non-local ecotype seeds.)

  • 5 parts red clay, “Ranger Red” (Fine, ceramic clay.) (I use Red Art clay purchased from Trinity Ceramics, located at 9016 Diplomacy, off Regal Row, south of 183.) ph: 214-631-0540. Approximately $20.00/50 lb.bag.

  • 2 parts water

Mixing Instructions:

  1. Put humus in medium-sized bucket
  2. Add seeds and mix well to coat the seeds with humus
  3. Add Clay and mix well to distribute the seeds and humus evenly through-out the mixture.
  4. Add 1 or 1.5 parts of water and mix well.
  5. Add remaining water slowly until correct consistency is reached. Mixture should be moist and easily formed into a ball. If too dry, the molecules in the clay will not line up to form a secure cover for the seeds and the seedball will crumble easily. If too wet, it will take longer for the molecules in the clay to set up and get firm. Choose a happy medium.

Making the seedballs:

  1. Pinch off enough clay to make a ball about ½ inch or smaller in diameter.
  2. Roll in your hands with slight to moderate pressure. Roll until you feel the seedball firm up and it has a smooth outside surface.
  3. Keep rolling for another 30 seconds. If your mixture dries out too much and crumbles when you try to roll it, you can add more water and mix into mixture like kneading bread.
  • If you are making seed balls by yourself, you can lay a wet paper towel over the mixture to keep it moist longer.

  • You can close up the mixture in plastic and keep it to finish later, However, try to complete the seedballs from a mixture within a couple of days. If you wait 3 or 4 days to a week, the seeds will start germinating.

  • If making seedballs to put out on a slope you can make them somewhat flatter than round so they will not roll down the incline.

  • The reason for the size of the seed balls is that there can be anywhere from 30 to 150 seeds in a ½ inch diameter seedball, depending on the size of the seed being used. Seeds such as bluebonnet seeds are large and a seedball would only hold about 10-15 seeds. The average is about 50-60 seeds per ½ inch diameter seedball. Seedballs wil be thrown out or sown at the rate of about 1 per square foot. Since it is unlikely that 50-60 plants can grow in one square foot, you would be wasting seeds by making larger seedballs. Also, a larger seedball will take longer to disintegrate.


Finally, I do not use sand in my seedballs. They become too hard and very difficult to melt when it rains. The idea behind seedballs is that mother nature takes care of the seedballs and you do not have to do anything except make them. The seedball protects the seeds from birds and others who would eat them. When it rains heavily for several days, the clay will melt and just barely cover the seeds that are mixed with humus, a perfect growing medium for the seeds.

 

Texas Seed Sources
These are only some of many wildflower seed sources.

  

Be smart, you will need to know what type of soil the seeds will go into - caliche, blackland prairie, cross timbers (sandy); sun or shade, moist or dry.

 

  TIPS
(Adapted from Jane Bartosiewicz, 2006, Master Gardner, Master Naturalist) 

  • A seed ball contains all the essential ingredients for seed germination except water.
  • Seed balls remain dormant until they are sufficiently watered and outside temperatures have warmed enough for germination.
  • Seed balls may be placed in the garden anytime
  • Distribute 1 seed ball/sq. ft.
  • Seed balls can be stored in a dry, cool place for up to 3 years before planting
  • Do not bury seed balls
  • Do not break up the balls-- they are more successful if kept intact.
  • Place in an area with well-drained soil.
  • Seed Balls may be placed in container gardens or directly in the garden.

 

  Suggested Mixes – What Seeds to Use 

  • Check plant lists and choose sun or shade mix, favorite combinations, or single species that are suitable for your soil type--sand, loam, clay or caliche soils.

  • Check water requirements and put like needs together.

  • Check sun/shade requirements 

Hummingbird & Butterfly Seed Balls - Best in Full Sun
Host a party for butterflies at your place!Include a variety of host and nectar plants such as:

  • Purple coneflower
  • Tickseed Coreopsis
  • Blanket Flower(Gaillardia)
  • Scarlet Sage
  • Lemon Mint
  • Moss Verbena
  • Standing Cypress
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Plains Coreopsis
  • Toadflax
  • Butterfly Bush
  • Prairie Bishop’s Weed
  • Mexican and native milkweed
  • Flat-leafed parsley,  fennel and dill.
 

 Butterfly Mix II
Bill Neiman suggests this “BTFY Retreat will invite your guests to feast on the nectar and provide color throughout the seasons. Butterflies bring you dances of life that continue for years to come.”Use seeds of:

  • Missouri Primrose
  • Tahoka Daisy
  • Maximilian Sunflower
  • Standing Cypress
  • Prairie Verbena
  • Black-Eyed Susan
  • Scarlet Sage
  • Mealy Blue Sage
  • Gayfeather
  • Butterfly Weed
  • Obedient Plant
  • Foxglove
  • Drummond Phlox

  Annual & Perennial Mix : Include your favorites!
Suggestions for fall or spring planting:

 
All Perennial Mix
  
Wildflower Mix for Sun/Partial Shade 
Suitable for sand, loam and clay soils.  Requires dry-medium moisture.
  • Gaillardia
  • Rudbekia species
  • Texas Bluebonnet
  • Lanceleaf Coreopsis
  • Huisache Daisy
  • American Basketflower
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Golden-Wave Daisy
  • Greenthread
  • Purple Prairie Clover
  • Cutleaf Daisy (Englemann Daisy)
  • Partridge Pea
  • Lemon Mint
  • Illinois Bundleflower
  • Drummond Phlox
  • Mexican Hat
  • Missouri Primrose
  • Tahoka Daisy
  • Maximilian Sunflower
  • Standing Cypress
  • Prairie Verbena
  • Black-Eyed Susan
  • Scarlet Sage
  • Mealy Blue Sage
  • Gayfeather (Laitris)
  • Butterfly Weed
  • Obedient Plant
  • Penstemon species
 
Shade/Partial Shade Suggestions
These are annual and perennial under story plants that thrive in the shade or along woodland edges.  They are perfect for adding color in front of hedges.
  • Pigeonberry
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Lanceleaf Coreopsis
  • Golden-Wave
  • Cutleaf Daisy
  • Drummond Phlox
  • Black-Eyed Susan
  • Scarlet Sage
  • Annual Winecup
  • Milkweed
  • Obedient Plant
  • Frostweed
  • Western Ironweed
  • Tall Aster
  • Prairie Wildrye
  • Inland Sea Oats.
 
Favorite Combinations
Spring Blooming          Fall Blooming
  • Englemann Daisy and Mealy Cup Sage
  • Bluebonnets and Gaillardia
  • Golden Rod and Fall-Blooming Aster or Roadside Aster
  • Boneset and Sunflowers
  • Indian Grass and Pitcher Sage.
 Mass Plantings
  • Penstemon Species
  • Coreopsis species
  • Black-Eyed Susan
  • Bluebonnets, any favorite.
 

 

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 August 2013 )
 
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