Seed Bombs: Bomb or Bust?

As promised, I had to follow up on our seed bomb experiment. As you may remember last spring, in an attempt to add some colour to our neighbourhood and rid ourselves of an eyesore, the abandoned meatpacking facility on the corner, my children and I made seed bombs.

Using a recipe from guerrilla gardener extraordinaire Liz Christy, we concocted seed bombs, which are basically water balloons with some soil, peat pellets, bits of paper towel and flower seeds mixed in. Making the bombs was a little messy, but a lot of fun.

The lot owned by the meatpacking facility has been vacant for a number of years. The seven-foot high chain link fence collects a lot of wind-blown trash and waste from thoughtless passersby. I spent an afternoon raking up garbage and making sure there was no broken glass or city surprises on the site before I brought over my little ones.

The lot looked infinitely better after I'd finished. In fact, my spectacle attracted an audience from the building across the street. A few even pulled up lawn chairs on their balconies. No doubt, they were in shock that someone had taken it upon themselves to clean up the joint.

When I brought my children over, I instructed them to aim for the corner of the lot, where most of the trash collects. I lobbed one in the general area to give my kids the gist of the technique. They thought this was hilarious, and before we knew it, all the seed bombs had been launched, more or less in the general vicinity of the corner.

Fun was had by all, but the seed bombs didn't produce very much. In fact, they don't appear to have produced anything at all. They faced some very stiff competition from native plants and wildflowers. I have chosen my words carefully, as one of the bloggers I follow, Flora Urbana's Roger Latour, a specialist in plants native to this area, would not appreciate my calling these, ah gems...weeds.

All my raking seemed to stimulate growth among the natives, and our abundant rain this summer has contributed to their prolific growth. At any rate, you can see just how high the native plants have grown from the picture (My daughter is 4'1"). These plants do not look bad, and they are high enough to block garbage from blowing into the area and keep undesirables out.

Will we try seed bombs again? Well, this was our second year with zero results, but the seed bombs were still fun to make. This experiment may need a proper control next time. Answer: maybe.

Related posts:
Liz Christy Seed Bombs and Some Not So Covert Bombing
More on Guerrilla-ing in NYC and St. Henri
Attention Guerrilla Gardeners: the Liz Christy Seed Bomb (a how-to)
Trespassers in St. Henri Win City Gardening Contest
What Exactly is Guerrilla Gardening?
Guerrilla Gardening: Tips for the Novice


Heather | July 27, 2009 at 2:58 AM

Dear Readers,

I have received several complaints about how difficult it is to leave comments (much to my chagrin--I LOVE comments!)

After unsuccessfully trying to post a comment, Roger Latour sent me an e-mail to assist us in any future seed-bombing operations.

"What I tried to write was that you should aim your bombs on freshly bared ground, when competition is lowest...the weeds have a few millenia of practice in the matter! I know that very street corner and 90% of the plants are not native. That doesn't mean I discriminate on alien/native criteria, I just study spontaneous urban flora.

I also noted that your daughter is a very natural runner..."

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