The manufacturers of Seedball sent me a couple of tins of their product to try out and review. It’s an ingenious idea, little pellets of clay and soil packed with lots of different wildflower seeds in each and a little chilli powder to keep the ants away. You scatter a few over your putative seedbeds and wait for the rains…or as I did grab the watering can and sprinkle a few drops of pre-stored rainwater from the waterbutts.
These seem like the perfect answer for the wannabe gardener who doesn’t want all the hassle of seed trees and seedlings and pricking out and thinning out and all that malarkey. I’m not averse to a bit of proper gardening as long-time readers will remember and also more recent readers will be aware that Mrs Sciencebase and I have taken to #AllotmentLife recently. Nevertheless, I thought I’d set up a couple of tubs with Seedballs from the bat and the butterfly tins. Each ball contains 30-150 seeds and there were a couple of dozen Seedballs in each tin. I’ve used half from each tin in my tubs, and we’ll give it a couple of weeks to see how germination goes (it can take 2-6 weeks depending on water exposure, apparently). There’s nothing to show you just yet, I have great expectations, however.
Meanwhile, the sciencey bit. The clay acts as a protective casing keeping birds away from the seeds. Once sufficient water has permeated the clay, however, the seeds will hopefully begin to germinate, with a little help from the nutrients and minerals in the ball. There are several natural pesticides and invertebrate-repellant compounds in chillis, so this additive deters ants and slugs while the seedlings grow.
The butterfly mix will hopefully draw the lepidopteral crowds assuming germination happens before what naturalists call the June gap, which happens between spring butterflies and the summer butterflies. I’m in two minds about the bat mix, I love bats. We have 2-3 pipistrelles that frequent our garden catching myriad moths on the wing. But, therein lies the rub, as most readers will know I’ve got a bit of a fixation with moths at the moment. Circle of life.
Also in the Seedball range mixes of seeds for birds, shade, “Cloud Meadow”, beetles, bees, poppies, and the aforementioned butterflies and bats mixes.
Thinking about it, I might take the bat mix tub up to the allotment. Not much call for moths on the vegetable patch, to be honest…