Friday, January 30, 2009

Garden Posse seed bomb workshop

Still feeling fresh from our kid-friendly seed bomb demo at the Really Really Free Market, the Garden Posse hosted a seed bomb workshop for grown-up types. Warm cookies and homemade cider were served.

Boone and Dieter came all the way from San Marcos (the night of Austin's "Arctic" cold front) for the workshop. We recognized Jessica from our very first dig at 34th Street, and we were glad she came back. It helps us believe people really do read our emails.

Seed bomb making with grownups is less frenzied than doing it with kids, but everything is essentially the same. And it's so simple. We got our "recipe" from Heavy Petal (which I recently discovered is a great garden blog). It's this:

5 parts dry red clay (from potter's supply store, in Austin)
3 parts dry organic compost
1 part seed
1 - 2 parts water

Measure the parts evenly with any measuring implement (we used a red plastic cup), and mix together. Then roll into balls. Your hands will look a little bit like the swamp thing.

We made two batches of seed bombs. Eventually people started getting fancy and trying out different shapes. Someone suggested heart-shaped seed balls would make a great Valentine's gift. Seriously, they would. It made all the girls go "awww."

We plan to throw them into overgrown lots, and tuck them into the margins of curbs and grass. They'd also be great to throw into your own lawn or garden. The possibilities are endless.

We made these with Texas native grass seeds, and flower seeds collected by Natalie's uncle. We encourage using native seeds, especially when you are not controlling how they spread.

So, another successful seed bomb workshop! This is such a great activity, we can't wait to share it with more and more people (especially teacher people). Our next planned workshop is February 22nd, and we'll keep you updated on other GP goings-on.

In the meantime, Quilombo is looking for volunteers on Saturday afternoons. Come over to the Eastside and help out in our sister garden! You'll be glad you did.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Seed bombs are a kid magnet

Here is the tray of seed bombs we made at the Really Really Free Market on Sunday - muddy little blobs of clay, compost, and seeds. Our first foray into seed bombs could not have been more successful, or more fun. It was all thanks to a horde of kids, and this magic formula:


With the help of a few new friends from Treasure City Thrift (organizers of the Really Really Free Market, a play on Milton Friedman's "free market"), the Garden Posse set up shop on a bench in Chestnut Park. No sooner had we begun to mix clay with compost than the boy pictured above wandered over to ask what we were doing. We told him he could help us mix up our batch of seed bombs. "I don't want to get my hands dirty," he said. But after we told him he could wash them later, he was all about seed bombs. Then three more kids showed up....

And then every kid in the park was huddled around our bucket, grabbing a handful of muddy clay, and rolling it to spherical perfection in their hands. It was awesome. Even after all the seeds had been cleared out of the bucket, the kids hung around admiring their handiwork, pointing out which seed bombs were theirs, and asking when they could throw them. They all wanted to make seed bombs again, one girl wondering if she could do it at home with her mom. A particularly adorable brother-sister pair picked out seed bombs to take home and plant. "I wonder what it will grow into," said the girl. "Maybe tomato seeds!"

I think it's the combination of playing with mud and the excitement of an experiment that makes seed bombs such a great kid project. The demo having been an unintentional kid project, it felt pretty magical. We'll have to see on Tuesday if adults can match the joy and excitement shared by the kids on Sunday.

We were convinced by the folks at Treasure City to repeat this at the next Really Really Free Market, on February 22. They also took a lot of unbearably cute pictures of the kids with the seed bombs (while my hands were covered in mud). Hopefully I'll be able to post those on the blog.

The next demo will be tomorrow, at 7:30pm, Carly & Greg's house. Contact Greg if you need directions at Bring native seeds and snacks if you have them. The possibility of going to Clementine's for music and $2 beer will be on the table as well.

See you then!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Seed bomb videos

Are you hearing all this stuff about making "seed bombs" or "seed balls" and wondering what that's really about? Do you wish you had a visual representation of your possible future experience? Well, that's why we have YouTube. There's several seed bomb videos out there. Here are a few:

The Seed Ball Story
(It's almost a half an hour long, probably very thorough)

Fruit Tree Tour
(for some reason, there is no sound, but very nice images. You get the idea.)

Permaculture Seed Balls "The Fukuoka Method"

(in Japanese without subtitles. Masanobu Fukuoka, father of "natural farming", uses seed balls as an integral part of his technique.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Seed bombs & the Really Really Free Market

Our seed bomb making workshop will be held next Tuesday night at our regular meeting time of 7:30 pm.

But if you can't make it next Tuesday to our seed bomb workshop, we will be trying it out at the Really Really Free Market on Sunday. We invite you to engage in the learning process with us, and also shop for really, actually free stuff (it's better than any recession sale!). Corner of 16th & Chestnut (at our Chestnut garden) on Sunday, 1 - 4pm. I can't promise we'll be there for the full three hours, so check it out on the early side of things.

The Really Really Free Market is a monthly event brought to you by Treasure City Thrift. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Seed bombing postponed

Inauguration wins, and seed bombing has been postponed to next Tuesday. Updates will be forthcoming. Meanwhile,


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Seed bombs vs Inauguration

I just realized that January 20 has a significance that goes beyond our first endeavor into seed bombs. It's Barack Obama's inauguration. People may want to watch the most historic event of our times. So we could combine making seed bombs with watching the inauguration, or we could move our seed bomb making to another night. Because I don't think that they'll move the inauguration (but maybe if we ask nicely?).

Let's discuss our options.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

No gardening tonight - Seed bombs next week!

A combination of tonight being freezing and not having a site has resulted in no gardening plans this week.

Let us renew our call for potential sites! We need them. Tell us about them. We are anxiously looking forward to planning them.

Next week, however, we will participate in that time-honored guerrilla garden tradition: Making seed bombs. Seed bombs are the friendliest bombs ever. Also known as the less militant-sounding seed balls, they've had a long history. They were first used in guerrilla gardening in 1973 by New York City's Green Guerrillas. (You can see the original recipe here: TWO SEED GRENADE RECIPES OR HOW TO HIDE THE ILLEGAL DUMPING SPACE.)

You can also watch this video of founder Richard Reynolds making seed bombs. Or read this blog with instructions of a seed bomb-making workshop likely to be similar to ours.

We need red clay (like potter's clay) and wildflower and other native seeds to make seed bombs. So if you can collect those over the next week, bring them!

We'll be doing the actual bombing at another time to be determined. Also to be determined is the location of this workshop. (If you'd like to volunteer your space, let us know.)

Happy freezing temperatures, everyone.

Friday, January 9, 2009

We're looking for new garden sites - Help us find them!

Since the Garden Posse's auspicious birth, we have gardened within our own neighborhoods. We want to keep planting throughout Austin, which is comprised of many neighborhoods our members do not live in. We believe these neighborhoods could benefit from guerrilla gardening, too.

Do you live in one of these neighborhoods? Is there a potential site near you which you think could use a guerrilla garden? Would you point it out to us, please?

Here are a few guidelines for a garden site:

- Located on genuinely neglected public space
- Relatively permanent
- Back from the road and traffic (for a vegetable garden)
- Close to a legal source of irrigation (your house, or a business or neighbor who will give permission)

Also, would you be willing to maintain the garden, and tell your neighbors about it?

Here's a "before" photo of our 34th St garden, so you have an idea of what a potential site may look like. Keep in mind they come in many shapes and colors.

We'll be compiling a map of sites to check out and plan during coming weeks.

We're discussing this in our Facebook group. If you're on Facebook, please join us there. You can do all sorts of things like share your own gardening experiences and tips, get advice for guerrilla gardening, and post photos of your oh-so-cute new puppy. (Although we'd prefer that you refrained, technically you could do that, and we'd all go, "Awww.")

If you're not on Facebook, we vaguely understand. You can always comment here or email us at We hope to hear from you soon!

Monday, January 5, 2009

This year, resolve to join a cool posse

Happy New Year, everyone! As I mentioned in the last post of 2008, there is a lot to look forward to in 2009. Like the potluck at Greg and Carly's tomorrow, where we will be thinking about exciting things to come. It would be awesome if you came with your own ideas for the future. Here's a prompt: What guerrilla gardening projects would you want to do if we had actual money to do them?

If you are on the email list, you'll be receiving directions from Greg to his house. If not, please email Greg at

An update on the water jug situation: The missing water jug has been returned! I bought a new water jug from Wheatsville, and the second time I went out to water the garden the old jug was just sitting there, where the tomato plant used to be. If the borrower of the water jug is reading this, thank you for returning our jug. It will come in handy because the water jug at Chestnut Garden has gone missing as well.

The 34th Street garden was very grateful for the return of water and the plants are looking great. I've been doing some much-needed weeding, with our new Cobrahead tool. Not to be too relentlessly promoting this item, but seriously, it is awesome. It's like a sharp giant iron fingernail which makes digging out roots ridiculously easy. I no longer swear at Bermuda grass - I just destroy it. You really have to try it.

Also, did I mention that an anonymous person planted radishes in the garden? It's very exciting to have people participate in our projects on their own. It's also exciting to see so many new faces in the Garden Posse Facebook group. I'm pretty pysched that people are interested in following our activities. Stay tuned.