new seedball formula for ultra dry areas

  • 15 replies
  • 25044 views
new seedball formula for ultra dry areas
« on: January 17, 2010, 03:17:13 AM »
my name is John I live in the USs pacific southwest (California) surounded by desert as far as I can see.
currently in the process of developing a seed ball launcher which is all mechanical, is coming along nicely...
the thing that is giving me a bit of a problem are the seedballs. using a compositional formula similar to conventional
seedballs but using coffe grounds instead of compost. I am currently using 5 parts natural high clay content red dirt which I have dried and pulverized, 2 parts dried fine coffee grounds and 2 1/2 parts water one large pumpkin seed (centered) as well as various types of small seed. so far the balls form easily, stick and hold their shape well without crumbling or cracking. within a day or 2 they are almost as hard as kiln fired terra cotta. very suitable as a projectile being able to withstand tremendous instanteaneous thrust as well as a high altitude landing on hard ground without disintegrating during either phase. unfortunately this composition requires prolonged precipitation or contact with soaked soil to soften and allow for the seeds to start their life cycle.  desert soil in this area is mostly decomposed granite, esentially coarse sand which drains quickly. rain is rare and snow even more so. although our high desert received several inches of snow a few years ago which actually remained for days before melting - it was quite a sight at night! generally the relative humidity is between 5-10% and the occasional dewey night during the winter months are  usually the most meaningful moisture available in this area.
has anyone developed or heard of specialty seedballs for this type of situation?

to my estimation it would be favorable to integrate a substance into, especially on the outside of the seedball to extract moisture
from the air and transport it to the center of the ball. beads of silica gel come to mind as they can readily absorb considerable ammounts of moisture. what other materials/mechanisms would be suitable?

additionally a substance that is able to expand rapidly once it comes in contact with moisture would be of great assistance in breaking up the tough seedball allowing the seeds embryo full freedom of movement.

the seedballs will likely be spherical and 1 - 1.5" (25mm - 38mm) in diameter although other shapes could be produced if desirable.

any ideas and useful input are greatly appreciated!

thank you,
john

*

willie wit

  • /soil is analog/
  • *
  • 53
Re: new seedball formula for ultra dry areas
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2010, 02:22:20 PM »
heya , in the uk you can get stuff called ` water retention granules` that you can put in the bottom of pots , this material absorbs massive amounts of water and becomes a gel like substance .
not sure how you would `attach` it to your seed bombs tho as you couldnt add it to the mix when it was wet/damp.
drilling holes in and adding a bit to the middle may work but would be a time consuming job.
 8)

Re: new seedball formula for ultra dry areas
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2010, 09:12:43 PM »
THANKS! these water retention granules what color or texture or are they, what are they called on the small label on the side of the container.
drilling holes might allow lil critters to come in, perhaps not a good thing also structural integrity would be reduced

Re: new seedball formula for ultra dry areas
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2010, 03:56:53 AM »
Hi John!  I'm in Bishop, CA and I'm new to high desert gardening.  Can you give me some information on what seeds you are using?  And if you've made/used these seed balls, have you had any luck with them in the past?  Thanks!

*

willie wit

  • /soil is analog/
  • *
  • 53
Re: new seedball formula for ultra dry areas
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2010, 05:45:55 PM »
THANKS! these water retention granules what color or texture or are they, what are they called on the small label on the side of the container.
drilling holes might allow lil critters to come in, perhaps not a good thing also structural integrity would be reduced
try googling `polymer water retention crystals ` southwestern gardening forum.
the holes could be plugged up  ;D
 8)


Re: new seedball formula for ultra dry areas
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2010, 09:21:01 AM »
Hi John!  I'm in Bishop, CA and I'm new to high desert gardening.  Can you give me some information on what seeds you are using?  And if you've made/used these seed balls, have you had any luck with them in the past?  Thanks!

i like desert gourds they  sprawl and shade the  ground but special support formula is needed for desert currently i am testing balls with 2x coffee grounds 1x clay and seeds ...
give your own formula a try and let me know how easily it absorbs water and falls apart
are you also  growing a garden?

Re: new seedball formula for ultra dry areas
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2010, 09:50:40 AM »
THANKS! these water retention granules what color or texture or are they, what are they called on the small label on the side of the container.
drilling holes might allow lil critters to come in, perhaps not a good thing also structural integrity would be reduced
try googling `polymer water retention crystals ` southwestern gardening forum.
the holes could be plugged up  ;D
 8)

very interesting! US$3/ lbs in large quantities  might be a bit much but i will source and try it
thank you for the tip!

*

willie wit

  • /soil is analog/
  • *
  • 53
Re: new seedball formula for ultra dry areas - eurika!
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2010, 10:05:36 AM »
hi , had a brainwave last night - if you formed the seed bombs around a piece of straw size tube , then slipped them off when dry you could put the water retention crystals in the middle and bung the ends up.
be careful of how powerful your launcher gets - we have a lot of `hot air ballooning` in the uk in the summer - if one of those was downed by `friendly fire` it would be a PR  disaster for international relations and guerrilla gardeners worldwide !
   ;)    :D   ;D
 8)
bb7
« Last Edit: February 19, 2010, 08:45:27 PM by buddliabill7 »

Re: new seedball formula for ultra dry areas
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2010, 06:22:14 AM »
buddliabill, i like it!!!

"hi , had a brainwave last night - if you formed the seed bombs around a piece of straw size tube , then slipped them off when dry you could put the water retention crystals in the middle and bung the ends up."

i also looked into water retention crystals very pricy here in the USA and they seem to be pretty much the same as
fancy silica style kitty litter sold here which is much less expensive.

i will be experimenting with that and also some other materials, my post about it http://guerrillagardening.org/community/index.php?topic=3197.0

the idea so far is to take the seeds and glue them together with orange juice.  Acidic, very sticky and free here in California just pick them off trees hanging into alleys... once dried pack a slightly excessive amount of  seedball formula around the outside forming a ball between your hands then place in bottom of mold add top and compress.
wait a few days for wood to extract moisture. crack open mold to free whatever caliber seed projectile you have
formed. next, start a war  ;D

Re: new seedball formula for ultra dry areas
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2010, 06:00:05 PM »
A good source for bulk California native or desert habitat seeds is http://www.wildflowersonline.com/store/index.html
They are based in Los Angeles and if you spend over $30 you get free shipping.

Re: new seedball formula for ultra dry areas
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2010, 02:09:56 AM »
ty Zombie,

i grow and find local seed for the balls it is had to find the source of commercially produced seed sometimes.

Re: new seedball formula for ultra dry areas
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2010, 10:53:34 AM »
Hi John - the founder of the seedball "Masanobu Fukuoka" who has written a book called The Natural Way of Farming - The theory and practice of green philosophy has a section called greening the desert. If you can source the book it may be able to help you.

Re: new seedball formula for ultra dry areas
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2010, 07:44:07 PM »
If you want great water retention I would suggest earthworm castings or organic cotton in your mix.  Both have a lot of water retention.  Just be sure to give the ball an outer coat that doesn't have cotton or other fibers, as this will actually work against you by wicking the moisture out of the seedball and into the dry air until the balls moisture equilibriates with the outside air. I just made a tutorial on making earthworm casting seedballs with a tumbler, check it out:
http://guerrillagardening.org/community/index.php?topic=3852.0

Re: new seedball formula for ultra dry areas
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2011, 02:54:42 AM »
You can find bulk California native or desert habitat seeds at http://www.wildflowersonline.com/store/index.html

I love photography.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2011, 09:04:52 AM by Niloufer »
I love photography.

Re: new seedball formula for ultra dry areas
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2012, 06:22:24 AM »
you can find in the market polymer water retention dust, which you mix  a small quantity with the soil before u make the seed bomb. the commercial name for the one iam using in greece is called 'lumido'

Re: new seedball formula for ultra dry areas
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2012, 01:49:12 AM »
your information is very useful