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!