18 July 2004

Replanting Stanley Park with Seed Balls - 18July04

This email was sent to Ivy Busters as an example of how seed balls can
be used to re-forest devastated areas.

It includes information on how seed balls are made and two
practical examples of how they can be used.

I'll bet if I had a lawyer he'd make me write this:

The seeds are for my own use and distribution and your help
would be appreciated if you have extra or unused seeds to
send me. This journal entry is not a solicitation on behalf of the
The Stanley Park Ecology Society nor an endorsement by them
of my activities.


Heather Barnes
Ivy Busters Coordinator
The Stanley Park Ecology Society

Hello Heather,

I saw the news items from a month ago about your Ivy Busters project
http://www.vcn.bc.ca/spes/ivybust.htm and at the end of the story it
mentioned that you will need funding to replant the desert created by
the ivy after it has been removed.

My back prevents me from offering direct physical help with removing
the ivy itself, but I would love to assist your restoration work. I
discovered a method that could involve school children and other
community members in your efforts:

Seed balls

1 Part : Dry Mixed Seeds with all kinds of desired plants.
3 Parts : Dry Compost with fungi and soil microbes, (plant compost,
not animal manure). 5 Parts : Dry Red or Brown Clay, finely powdered
and sifted, not gray or white clay, if possible. * Mix ingredients
DRY, turning and sifting to coat seeds with soil, then clay, then add:
* 1 to 2 Parts : Water added a little at a time until the clay mix is
easily workable.

Once they are dry, seed balls may be stored in a cool dry place, where
they can breathe until they are spread abroad. Or they may be
broadcast immediately after drying, and allowed to lay dormant in
place until released by timely rains.....The seed balls, however, are
perfectly content to simply lay about "sleeping" until the right
amount of rain falls to insure their success. When rains come, no
matter where a seed ball has landed, something from the mix inside
will be at home on the spot, so all possible habitat bases are covered
in one broadcast application, and plant successions are accelerated by
generations. A minimum application seeks a scatter density of at least
10 seed balls per square meter. Adequate coverage requires at least
.20 grams of seeds per seed ball, or 2 grams of seeds per square meter
minimum! Rehabilitation requires at least 3 grams of seeds per square
meter. These are only general recommendations. One acre contains 43,
560 square feet, or 4, 050 square meters. Between 8 and 12 kilograms,
or 20 to 30 pounds of mixed seeds are required per acre. One hectare
contains 2.471 acres. http://www.seedballs.com/

How it can be used:

1) PPWP's seed ball project will re-vegetate 40 acres of the Cerro
Grande burn area with native grasses and wildflowers.
Volunteers made 125,000 seed balls this winter, and to spread
them on the ground in the spring and summer.

The balls have sprouted!

* Posted by: Eric_Burke z9 Japan (My Page) on Wed, Jun 16, 04 at

"One week later, the seedballs have sprouted! I went up to the mountain
on my break, just like last week, and I found that my seedballs have
dozens of different seeds sprouting from them! It is so amazing! In
some of them, the force of the sprouting broke the ball in half, and I
found the other half a centimeter away! Now was that natural, or did
something distub [sic] it? But it is really neat. I could tell that quite a
few of the sprouts are radish/daikon, and there is at least one oat
growing from each ball. Now for the natural thinning. Survival of the
fittest (for each microclime, at least)! I will keep records of which
plant won the battle in each location, that way I will know where the
best places are to plant (purposely) each veggie in the future."

Again, I would be happy to assist you in this work.

Yours Truly,