Investigation Seed Balls
Make-It Monday takes a new turn today. We are going to do an experiment, or investigation, about a craft that many of you may have tried-making seed balls. What are seed balls for those of you who haven’t heard of them?
Seed balls are also known as seed bombs or seed tape. They are made by mixing seeds with torn paper or paper strips for seed tape. They are also made by combining seeds with a mixture of clay and soil shaped into little balls.
What do you do with them?
You can place them on the ground where you want the plants to grow. No need to bury them in the ground. When rain hits them, they will fall apart, mix into the ground, and the seeds will sprout. Or will they?
I thought it would be interesting to make some different seed balls, and test their sprouting ability. Why?
Well, what does a seed need to sprout? Did you say water? That’s absolutely right. Most seeds need water to start the growing process. And, what do most seed balls contain as an ingredient? WATER!
So, if seeds need water to sprout, and we are making them moist by putting them in the seed ball, does that affect their ability to sprout when we actually put them outside? Maybe they have already sprouted inside the wet seed ball? What then?
Let’s investigate and find out!
What materials will I need?
Potting soil that is a mixture of peat humus, compost and sand
Paper for tearing
Bowl for mixing
Fast sprouting seeds such as beans , radishes, lettuce, sunflowers, cabbage, kale
We are going to make two types of seed balls with two types of seeds. We will make the following:
- Clay and soil seed ball with bean seeds
- Clay and soil seed ball with radish seeds
- Paper seed ball with bean seeds
- Paper seed ball with radish seeds
What are the steps involved in this investigation?
STEP 1: Making Type 1 seed balls with clay and soil
Add soil and clay to a bowl in a ratio of 2:1. What does this mean? Add 2 times as much clay as soil. I pulled the clay apart into small pieces and added it to the soil.
Then, I mixed the two together. It was a bit difficult since the clay is pretty stiff even though it is moist. I made 4 balls about the same size-2 for seeds to be added to while the balls are still wet, and 2 for seeds to be added to after the balls have dried.
I put two green bean seeds inside one ball, and mixed 15 radish seeds in with another ball. The remaining two balls need to dry before I add the seeds. I am not sure how that will work, but we will see! Why am I doing this?
Because I want to see if the moisture in the seed balls affects the germination of the seeds.
STEP 2: Making Type 2 paper seed balls with bean and radish seeds
I cut up 3 sheets of white tissue paper into a blender. I added about 1 cup of water and blended the mixture.
I poured the mixture into a bowl, formed it into a ball and squeezed out as much water as I could. Then I formed it into 4 balls, added 2 bean seeds to one, 15 radish seeds to another and set 2 aside to dry before adding the seeds.
Here are the seed balls so far:
If you look closely, you can see the radish seeds in the top balls. The bean seed is down inside so you can’t see it easily.
The bottom seed balls will dry today. I will add the same number of seeds to them later.
What happens next?
When the seed balls all have seeds in them, I will place them on top of soil in a pot and sprinkle them with water every day OR sit the pot out in the rain. Then, I will count how many seeds germinate in each type of ball and how long it takes to sprout.
Next Monday, I will show you my results. How will you record your data if you try this?
What do you think you will find out? In other words, what is your HYPOTHESIS?
I hope you try this investigation. Send me your results!! I’d love to see what you find out. If you think of ways to make the experiment better, send them too!!
Have a great day and enjoy investigating seed balls.