Hundreds of seedballs were flung across the Ethos Farm today at the Ethos Farm Crystal Waters Permaculture Village by a wonderfully enthusiastic group of children participating in our Nature Kids program. Tonight the rain came and watered them in.
Thanks to the children and families for making so so many seedballs and for very eagerly flinging them out into our emerging farm plot. We are just at the beginning of this project so seedballing seems a wonderfully easy way to get things started and improve the soil too.
And thank you rain - such perfect timing to come tonight to water them all in. The thing is, if it hadn't come tonight, it would have been fine too. The seedballs are designed to protect the seeds while they wait for the rain to come. They can wait for months, possibly years until the rain swells the clay and activates the seeds inside.
Making seedballs - 5 parts clay, 1 part compost, 1 part seeds
The children and their families were at Ethos Farm today participating in the inaugural Seedball Slingshot Games - one of our Nature Kids program. It was a fabulously fun morning with children making seedballs, constructing a range of slingshots, then completing a set of four slingshot challenges.
The kids carried their seedballs about in egg cartons and made great little slingshots from sticks, strong elastic bands and a little bit of cardboard and gaffa tape. The sticks were from a weed tree that had been chopped down - a Wild Tobacco.
The challenges were:
can you hit the target?
how far can you fling it?
how many can you fling in 30 seconds? (counted in Spanish by our lovely Mexican WWOOFer)
how high can you fling it
Great tubs of clay mixed with compost awaited children to roll with the seeds.
So many young seedballers enjoyed getting their hands wonderfully muddy.
The parents joined in too!
It was a very productive morning with so many hands - hundreds of balls made.
The slinging began - there will be a great arc of sunflowers and beans soon.
The super slingshot duo tests how high they can fling their seedballs.
Hugh tries to fling as many seedballs as he can in 30 seconds.
Getting ready to see how far they can fling using different techniques - even plain ol' throwing!
Different designs for flinging were explored. The slingshot worked well, but so too did the bamboo thrower.
I selected beans and sunflowers to be put in the seedballs. These are easy to grow and great for the kids to come back to see (and taste) soon. The beans will provide food, organic matter and soil improvement. The sunflowers will add beauty and colour, as well as provide growing frames for the beans, organic matter and attract pollinators. We also added a few marigolds into the mix too for their edible flowers, colour, attract beneficial insects. Some companion planting guides suggest that sunflowers inhibit the growth of beans, other guides suggest it's good. I'm love to experiment to check it out myself and see what happens. I hope it will be a happy partnership - we'll see!
We have a great clump of clay remaining and will be making many more balls this week with a range of different seeds - to add more diversity into the mix.
I can't wait to see the field blossoming with sunflowers and ranging through tasting fresh green beans. I think then I'll organise a bean feast so we can all share the harvest.