Tired of Tilling? Try Seed Balls


Ever thought of lobbing seeds into your field? No tilling, just a good arm?

Seed balls – a combination of seeds, compost and clay – are used in no-tilling cultivation as a way to get seeds established in a given area.  They don’t actually have to be thrown (though many associate seed bombs/balls with guerrilla gardening).

For easy, no-till gardening, try seed balls. Photo by Dave Miller.

This technique is inspired from the work of Fukuoka and generally involves a mixture of 1/3 seeds (seeds mixtures are fine as long as they are roughly the same size and germinate at the same rate), 1/3 compost and 1/3 clay (clay holds the ball together until the rain begins the germination process).

Here, as in much of the permaculture discussion on seed balls, there seems to be a lot of emphasis on making actual balls.

Whether by hand or by using the contraption, it seems like a lot of work.

I understand Fukuoka to have also experimented with pushing the seed ball glop through a mesh to end up with big square snakes which easily break up. So instead of balls I guess you have “cubes”. This method seemed about ten times faster.

Brian Kerkvliet of Inspiration Farm, Washington, demonstrates the process of making seed balls:



Paul Wheaton is is the tyrannical ruler of two on-line communities. One is about permaculture and one is about software engineering. There is even one for Missoula. Paul has written several permaculture articles starting with one on lawn care that he presented at the MUD Project 17 years ago, including articles on raising chickenscast iron and diatomaceous earth. Paul also regularly uploadspermaculture videos and permaculture podcasts. In his spare time, Paul has plans for world domination and is currently shopping for a hollowed out volcano in the Missoula area, with good submarine access.

See all of Paul’s contributions to Make it Missoula here.