new seedball formula for ultra dry areas

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new seedball formula for ultra dry areas
« on: January 17, 2010, 03:50:40 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

Re: new seedball formula for ultra dry areas
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2010, 07:19:23 AM »
Hi there,
Have you seen Fukuoka Masanuba's work in Greece?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SefF4zUeMGw
There he used cotton or mulched newspaper in seeballs, along with local soil and red clay. 
As I understand cotton is a poor wicker of moisture and that's why it's a bad clothing fiber to get wet in the cold. 
Some people have practiced germinating seeds in cotton, because the humidity in the cotton ball can be controlled relatively easily. I have no experience, but we could device an experiment rather easily if you are more interested.
What sort of application did you have in mind?

Re: new seedball formula for ultra dry areas
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2010, 02:05:03 AM »
TY!
i read about his work, by accident years ago but all seedball adventures i have read about always focused strictly
on red clay and compost with is unsuitable for dry climates.
yes t-shirts (cotton) get very clammy when we sweat. natural wool does not it vents.
woodproducts like newspaper, egg cartons, wood dust and rayon are excellent at absorbing moisture
however silica beads or kitty litter are better yet.
some newespapers are printed with soy ink, others are not and might be detrimental to seed sprouting/development...
lots of experimentation is needed and your help/input is appreciated.
here is another post of mine which updates a lil to what i said here.
http://guerrillagardening.org/community/index.php?topic=3197.0
where are you?

Hi there,
Have you seen Fukuoka Masanuba's work in Greece?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SefF4zUeMGw
There he used cotton or mulched newspaper in seeballs, along with local soil and red clay. 
As I understand cotton is a poor wicker of moisture and that's why it's a bad clothing fiber to get wet in the cold. 
Some people have practiced germinating seeds in cotton, because the humidity in the cotton ball can be controlled relatively easily. I have no experience, but we could device an experiment rather easily if you are more interested.
What sort of application did you have in mind?