Guerrilla gardening for kids

Get the kids into guerrilla gardening by making seed bombs to add colour to the garden. This is an extract from a new book on children's gardening by Matthew Appleby.

Making seed bombs is a fun way to get kids involved in gardening. Image: Paul Debois
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The Children's Garden by Matthew Appleby
The Children’s Garden by Matthew Appleby

Guerrilla gardeners aim to green up drab spaces in their local environment. They are part of a movement that has taken hold
 in many cities in the northern hemisphere. Making seed bombs is one of their techniques that is suitable for children to copy. Older children will love the idea of being environmental warriors when they can change a place they are not allowed to go by chucking a missile into it. Launch the bombs in spring and return in summer to see the results.

Getting started

Where the seed is small, it is quicker and easier to mix it in with growing medium and powdered clay from the start. Sunflowers are one of the best guerrilla plants because they make everyone cheerful – their seeds are large so poke one or two into each seed ball before it dries. Using bought powdered clay is more pleasant to handle than clay garden soil.

The simplest method is shown below; there are many other variations that use a funnel to fill different types of carrying vessel, from seed pill capsules and balloons to empty eggshells. Stuff the opening with tissue so the contents don’t fall out when you throw the bomb. Always check with the landowner for permission to launch the seed bombs; if this isn’t possible stick to neglected areas of your own garden. Avoid sensitive sites, where rare plants are growing for example.

More ideas

  • Use wildflower seed mix or cosmos, nicotiana, marigold, zinnia or grass seed.
  • If you have surplus plants raised from seed, plant them around street tree pits near your house.
seed balls
Make small balls out of clay and compost mixture. Image: Paul Debois.

How to make

  1. Mix together seeds, and equal quantities of growing medium and dry clay powder.
  2. Trickle in water a bit at a time. Mix with a spoon.
  3. Take a pinch of wet mixture and roll into small balls with your hands.
  4. Let the balls dry overnight and then go out and launch them.

From The Children’s Garden by Matthew Appleby, published by Frances Lincoln (£14.99). Picture credits: Paul Debois.

Matt Appleby

About Matt Appleby

Matt is a former teacher turned journalist. He took up writing while in New Zealand and trained as a journalist there. He has since written five books (three on cricket and two on gardening) with The Children's Garden due out in spring 2016 published by Frances Lincoln. He writes for Horticulture Week and other publications. Married with two boys, aged 3 and 6 he lives in London.
@mattapple1
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