Updated: Oct 19
*And we're not being paid to say that. I've used seed balls (aka seed/bee bombs) many times now, and can honestly say they're a great way to grow wildflowers in the garden. All you do is pop them on top of soil, water if needed, and wait for them to grow.
Autumn is a perfect time to scatter seed balls, in a nice sunny spot, which is why we'll be handing them out for free at our seed bank launch on November 1st at 10:30am in the Maltings, Farnham.
If we miss you, you can buy seed balls from a number of retailers online, or find recipes to make your own. The wildflower seed 'oddballs' (slightly misshapen seed balls) we'll be giving away are from seedball.co.uk, a company who, like us, want to 'increase the abundance of British wildflowers and wildlife that depend on them.'
Oddballs provide an ecosystem that deters predators (from eating seeds and shoots), and offers nutrition for optimal growth. This is particularly useful for wildflowers, which take a while to germinate and grow. Picture from seedball.co.uk
The oddballs we'll be handing out contain a mixture of wildflower seeds including: Poppy, Oxeye daisy, Musk mallow, Corn marigold Purple field scabious, Red champion and White cow parsley.
Once in flower, these native plants will provide an important habitat and food source for an abundance of garden wildlife.
To use oddballs:
Place them onto bare potted compost or a garden bed, at least 10cm apart (remove a top layer of soil of scattering in a grassy area). The balls don't need to be buried because they're already 'planted' inside the clay and soil casing.
Seeds will germinate inside the ball (with water, sun and warmth), and sprouts will begin to appear 4-6 weeks after scattering.
As the sprouts grow bigger, the balls disperse leaving a behind patch of young plants. Each wildflower species has a different flowering time and length of time to come into flower – some will flower in the first year, others the following.
We highly recommend seeds balls for an easy way to grow wildflowers at home. If you haven't already, it's definitely worth giving them a try.