Guerrilla Gardening – Seed Bombs & Seed Balls

clay and chilli seed balls

I’ve been following guerrilla gardening on Twitter for quite some time, and have become familiar with the term ‘seed bombing’ as a result. It’s an idea that’s always appealed to me – it’s a kind of eco-friendly, bee-friendly, slightly radical anti-vandalism activism – but it’s just one of those things that I’d never pursued. Seed bombs, or seed balls are nothing new though; they are believed to have been used by native North American tribes way back when.

So how do they work? It’s a simple process really – the seeds I bought are encased in a ball of peat-free compost, dried clay and chilli, which are hand-rolled in North London (yes, really, and no, it’s not what you’re thinking). The dried clay acts as a protective casing from common seed predators (such as ants, mice and birds). When enough rain permeates the clay, the seeds inside begin to germinate – helped along by the nutrients and minerals contained within the balls. So it’s like a tiny self-sufficient seeding system. Maya have added chili powder to the mix to help to deter predators while the seed ball slowly degrades, and eventually the seeds sprout.


seed bombs

I’m a slap-dash sower at best; so the idea of chucking down seed balls and letting them get on with it greatly appeals to me. With the wild flowers that I want to encourage to grow in the flower borders and in-betweeny bits at the Smallest Smallholding, it’s even better to let them just get on with it too. Wild flowers generally favour poor soil conditions – with our sandy soil, they should be well at home! We already have some established cowslip, red campion, flowering nettles, poppies and more, and the idea here is to create wildflower patches that will eventually re-seed and take care of themselves in the future. The thing I like about wild flowers is that they’re not only pretty, but they’re often hugely attractive to pollinators, and don’t require any extra care or nutrients or fertilisers to thrive. Give me a wild flower over a cultivated bedding plant any day of the week.

Seed balls aren’t exclusively the remit of guerrilla gardeners; they’re actually a great option if you’re looking to increase pollinator-friendly flowers into your own patch at home. You can chuck them down in those hard-to-reach areas, or simply leave them strewn in bare patches and let the magic happen.

seed balls - maya project clay seed balls (seed bombs)

Anyhow, I managed to get my hands on some Maya Seed Balls (£4.50 for a tin of 20 ‘Urban Meadow Mix’ – there’s also butterfly, bee and other mixes available), and once the temperatures reach double figures (the Met Office is umming and aahhhing, but it could be next week… we can only hope…), I’ll be seed bombing the Smallest Smallholding. Not quite guerrilla gardening (the seed balls are the result of research by conservation academics at Maya), but it’s a little bit rock’n’roll, at least…

maya project


  1. I have some to try out as well so will be doing much the same ( hopefully next week!)

    Really lovely presentation I think – would be such a great small gift for someone

    • I’ve never tried seed bombs before, but I’m hoping these will prove successful, as my wildflower sowing has been a little hit and miss in the past. The borage has done wonderfully, of course, so much so that it’s proving a little difficult to keep in check… but at least the bees and butterflies love it (and the flowers don’t look half bad in a cocktail either 😉 ).

    • Rachiebabes says

      How did you get on with the SEEDBALLS? Hoe they gave you lots of pleasure…?

  2. Hello,I pulled mine up about a month ago and they are not even remotely in the same league as these. Perhaps I was too early — but it seemed to me that they had started to rot. We never get it right with garlic or onions….