Seed bombs for the Life Pinassa Project

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Socialforesters are currently producing seed bombs as part of the project LifePinassa, in which we are planting black pines to conserve Catalan forests. In this article we would like to explain to you exactly what this  is, its value and how you can produce it yourself.

What are seed bombs?

Seed bombs or, in our case, seed discs are seed containing balls formed out of soil and clay. They are used, for example for reforestation projects or guerrilla gardening. They are 100% ecological, but very efficient at the same time. Another famous name for seed bombs is “nendo dango”, the name given to them by the  Japanese rediscoverer Masanobu Fukuoka. This old sowing technique dates back many thousands of years. Already in Ancient Egypt people used seed bombs to plant food after flooding had destroyed their fields. Fakuoka rediscovered this method and made it famous.

We are talking about a very environmentally friendly, cheap and natural sowing system that protects the seeds from being eaten by forest animals such as birds and mice., The seeds are set free and start to germinate, only when the rain dissolves the balls. The soil given to the seed bombs adds nutrients and helps the plant to grow. Due to this, there is no need to prepare the soil where the plant is supposed to grow in advance and you can save a lot of time and effort.

The seed bombs are a great tool in helping us to reforest some thousand black pines in the area of Can Maçanain Montserrat. 

How to produce and use seed bombs

To produce nendo dangos you mix five parts of soil with three parts of clay. We recommend that you use very fertile types of soil such as compost or humus. While blending the two ingredients you add a handful of seeds and form the mixture into a small ball or disc. Add some water to work the mass more easily if necessary. Form compact balls and let them dry in the sun afterwards.



As soon as the bombs are hard, you can spread them. After that, the only thing you have to do is wait until the rain dissolves the balls and frees the seeds. Where accessible, we recommend burying the nendo dangos to better protect them. In less accessible parts, which the seed bomb is actually made for, just throw them on the ground and trust the earth and clay protection. Thanks to this we are also able to plant the black pines in very difficult to reach areas. For the same reason, the guerrilla gardening movement uses the seed bombs for many of its projects, too.


What to consider?

Before getting started right away, we want to give you some more tips and things to consider.

First of all, you should use high quality seeds. That is to say no genetically modified (GM) seeds or ones that could harm the environment in any way. You should also make sure that you only plant native plants to avoid disturbing the ecosystem’s equilibrium and harm indigenous plant species.

Furthermore, you should carefully consider if it makes sense to sow with seed bombs. Sometimes it might be more favourable to plant in the traditional way. Nendo dangos are particularly useful for areas that are difficult to access, as for example big expanses where you cannot use a tractor. Another occasion to use seed bombs could be, for example, a reforestation project with many people participating.

Remember that seed bombs already contain natural fertilizer (humus, compost) that helps the plants to grow. Please do not use additional chemical fertilizer.

And now have lots of fun giving this natural, eco-friendly and easy way of sowing trees, vegetables or any other plants a try! 




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