About this project
- To grow ONE MILLION wild flowers
- To make supporting the bees ridiculously easy
- To add fun, joy, color, hope, and inspiration to life
We've been avid seed ball builders ourselves for years. But last year we started thinking about how to get everyone we meet to join in growing more flowers and creating more colorful neighborhoods.
Why? Because the world needs more good news and less bad news. Wildflowers provide color and joy to our neighborhoods, habitat for pollinators (like honey bees), food for wildlife, natural medicines, and of course they look adorable in our kitchen or as a crown on our little ones.
After 18 months of mixing, planting, and testing like mad scientist kids ourselves... Seedles were born! By mixing clay, compost, seeds and water we make colorful seed balls that grow into wildflowers wherever you toss them.
So now, you, me, and a bunch of our friends are going to do something super bold and fun ... Go wild, and we're talking ONE MILLION kind of wild here, with the most amazing ancient technology ever! We want these colorful wildflower seed balls all over our towns, neighborhoods, and planet! Each Seedle can grow up to 5-10 wild flowers.
"If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." -African Proverb
Bees pollinate one of every three bites we eat. Disappearing bees = disappearing food. By some estimates they impact $15 billion worth of US crops. As we like to say around here, "If you love your ABC's (Almonds, Berries, and Coffee) help the vanishing busy bees."
Why Grow Wildflowers?
If you really more reasons, read on.
We like to say, "Bee kind to your future self" because growing wildflowers is direct antidote to the challenges the honey bees are currently facing. Your pledges will help feed the bees, who feed our food system, which feeds our bellies. We have links in our FAQ's if you'd like to learn more.
- Seedles! - Rainbow colored seed balls. Just throw it and grow it! Grow wildflowers appropriate for your region easily. (Activity Kit includes all you need to make them at home.)
- Thyme Bombs - Herb Seedles each ball containing a different type of seed such as Basil, Mint, Thyme, Dill, Oregano, Chives & Parsley. You can use these to easily create your own indoor or outdoor herb garden.
- Seedles Eggs - Early Bird Special - We send you egg shaped Seedles, you have all the fun painting them.
- Wild Postcards - Custom designed “bee the change” postcards featuring illustrated wildflowers and pollinators.
- Original Art - Sunny Solwind's bee art in black & white or black & gold
- Go Hansel and drop them along your route to work then enjoy them everyday. You deserve it.
- Make a kitchen window garden with the Thyme Bombs.
- Reverse egg hunting - Truly celebrate spring by letting kids add color and life to your backyard.
- Make (Big) Kids Smile - Order a bunch for your wedding or a school garden project.
Your pledge will help fund:
- Production Scaling and Improvements - Right now we're making them by hand, your support will fund the design and development of a process which will produce 100,000 seed balls in a matter of weeks instead of years.
- Materials Costs - Ordering in bulk quantities allows us to keep costs down and focus our energy on the production quality.
- Movement Building - Yes, we may use some of these funds to buy a burrito with extra guacamole for our late night efforts. Change takes time, but making life fun and getting others involved is where we excel.
What are seed balls?
We made a video to explain how we make them.
They were used in ancient Egypt to repair farms after the annual spring flooding of the Nile. In the recent past they were popularized by a Japanese Farmer named Masanobu Fukuoka who wanted to find a way to increase food production without taking away from the land like modern methods do.
Why does this matter to you? Well, it matters because they are a time tested solution for easily growing seeds. The clay and compost provide everything the seed needs to grow ... except for the water, which is provided and perfectly timed by annual rains. Therefore, your seeds germinate in ideal conditions for each climate/region. Your seeds don't get eaten by bugs, birds, or other creatures. Instead they are protected and supported as they grow up big and tall.
Why not just make my own Seedles?
We say GO FOR IT! Use the recipe in the video above, have fun making them by getting your favorite seeds, and then toss them anywhere you want to see more plant life.
However, we do want you to know a few reasons why our Seedles rock ... and roll. ;)
- Red Clay - A special red clay that feeds the seeds minerals and protects the seeds from insects and birds.
- Compost - Three types of compost are used including worm castings, sifted compost, and beneficial bacteria infused compost.
- Seeds - Filled with regionally appropriate native wildflower seeds, they can grow up to 5-10 wildflower plants. You will get high germination annual and perennial seeds, which ensures your Seedles will sprout without a doubt this year and in the coming years.
- Size - The seedballs you will get are about the size of a nickel. Many other seedballs are too big, and have too many seeds inside causing wasted seeds and too much competition between the young seedlings.
- Hot Peppers - We use hot pepper powder to prevent ants, slugs and other insects from trying to eat the seeds before they sprout. This isn't in the coating so it's safe for you to touch.
Some words of caution: Depending on soil and weather conditions not all seeds will sprout. Provide supervision when children play with finished Seedles as well as the activity kits as clay, compost, and earth based pigments should not be inhaled or ingested. Never throw Seedles in wild, sensitive, or protected habitats. All of our hard-earned tax dollars go to keep the plants in those areas safe from being invaded. Respect private property and landscaped yards. After all we are all about building joy.
A Special Thanks To
Risks and challenges
Our biggest challenge is going to be increasing the production of these hand-made Seedles. Right now we are hand making them in our kitchen, one-at-a-time and it is a labor of love. In order to realize the bold vision of growing ONE MILLION wildflowers we need Kickstarter support to produce the 100,000 seedballs it will take.
At a previous project Chris started, Hayes Valley Farm in San Francisco, he and a team of seed ball enthusiasts successfully engineered a process which created around 500-1,000 seedballs per hour. We plan on implementing this process, but have not figured out the exact way to coat the seedballs with color using this process. We have a small but dedicated network of supporters including engineers, designers, and entrepreneurs so we expect this won't be of tremendous difficulty. We have allotted extra time to fulfill the rewards with unforeseen challenges in mind. We will, of course, communicate with you along the way.
Our Easter orders will be challenging to fulfill on time. We will do our best, but we ask in advance for your patience and understanding in case we are not able to turn around the Easter rewards in time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Pollinators help produce about one out of every three bites of food we eat. According to the American Beekeeping Federation, "As honey bees gather pollen and nectar for their survival, they pollinate crops such as apples, cranberries, melons and broccoli. Some crops, including blueberries and cherries, are 90-percent dependent on honey bee pollination; one crop, almonds, depends entirely on the honey bee for pollination at bloom time." On the business side that's billions and billions of dollars! Plus where would Pooh Bear be without his honey? Oh, dear.
Here are some great resources on the web that are not affiliated to the project.
You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone video: http://youtu.be/nO13k2TnNhc
Honey Bee Mystery: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/stories/animalsnature/honey-bee-mystery/
Bee Smart School Garden Kit: http://pollinator.org/beesmart_about.htm
Current news on bees: http://www.abfnet.org/index.cfm
Bee Smart pollinator gardener app: http://www.pollinator.org/beesmartapp.htm
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations paper: ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/012/i0842e/i0842e09.pdf
For bee boys and girls
So to start, there are three Types of Coverage:
1. Lush Stand (almost solid flowers) 3 Seedles per sq. ft.
2. Average Display (good coverage) 2 Seedles per sq. ft.
3. Meadow Look (scattered flowers) 1 Seedle per sq. ft.
So, if you have an area that is 10 feet x 10 feet, or 100 square feet, we recommend you scatter 100 Seedles to achieve the Meadow Look, or 300 Seedles to achieve the Lush Stand look. Keep in mind, Seedles have annual and perennial flowers, so over the perennial flowers will likely reseed themselves and your flower patch will get more dense.
￼Although seed balls, seed bombs, and Seedles are all a combination of clay, compost, seeds, and water, Seedles are brightly colored and absolutely more fun. Beyond that they include three types of compost instead of just one, and high germination rate native wildflower seeds. And who wouldn't want to grow the rainbow?
R￼￼￼umor (a.k.a. uncited wikipedia page) has it that ancient Egyptians used the technology. The more well known and cited user is a Japanese agriculture scientist named Masanobu Fukuoka. His book One Straw Revolution is practically legend. We suspect clay coating seeds is older than time*. (Source needed)
We can't give away all of our secrets now, can we? We can tell you that the base is all food and food grade materials and that the color comes from oxide pigments. According to the manufacturer's website, "They are not found in the earth as natural soils, but are created using natural components such as iron or clay that are manipulated, usually by heating. The resulting shades are bright, UV resistant and have powerful tinting strength."
Fo￼￼r months now we've been seeing the number 11 in more-than-mere-chance quantities. How many times a day do you just happen to look at your phone or some other clock reporting time with the number 11? For us it's an average of 5.
So we looked it up and it stands for idealism, vision, and intuition. Aren't those words perfect to describe our goal to grow a million wildflowers? So we fit all the quantities and rewards into multiples of 11.
Not poisonous. In our case, Seedles are not poisonous and safe to touch. Although the base of the coating is food grade the color is derived from natural components that are not edible. See question above about coating.
Fun, easy, and safe, causing kids to play enthusiastically while parents relax with peace of mind
1. A Seedle contains all the essential ingredients for seed germination except water. You can sow them any time and they will be protected from the elements and the birds until they get water and they are ready to grow.
2. Seedles remain dormant until they are sufficiently watered and outside temperatures have warmed enough for germination.
3. Seedles may be tossed in an empty patch, in container gardens or directly in the garden. anytime.
4. Seedles can be stored in a dry, dark, cool place for up to 3 years before planting
5. It is not recommended to bury Seedles.
6. We don't recommend breaking up the balls - they are more successful if kept intact.
7. Place Seedles in an area with well-drained soil.
Seedles are great for backyards, front yards, and even school yards, with approval. They can also be pampered in sunny patios and kitchen windows. Some throw them in neighborhood eye sore spots like vacant lots or unmanaged medians. Never throw Seedles in wild, sensitive, or protected habitats. Definitely respect people's private property and landscaped areas. We want Seedles to increase joy, not anger or frustration.
Ladies and gentlemen, we now have a new word for the dictionary.
To spread fun, color, and life via retro agri tech
Getting back to the question, it depends. We seeded our family's yard in 2008 and the perennial poppies and yarrows still come up every year, providing color, habitat, and soil nutrients. Depending on growing conditions and types of seeds you may Seedle once a year or once a lifetime.
Support this project
- (28 days)