SEED BALLS - AN INTRODUCTION - PART B
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Begin growing a guild of micro-organisms in a compost pile. For this micro-guild, gather a little leaf litter from the bottom of the leaf floor, under all of the native trees and shrubs within your entire watershed. Look for the white mycelium filaments, often found at the interface between the decaying matter and the upper, organically rich soil layer. Fruiting bodies are welcome. Also gather a little duff from beneath the oldest grasses and shrubs found by stream banks. DO NOT TAKE ALL of the material from any one place. That would tear a large hole in the local biosystem. Take a handfull from here and there, then spread the surrounding duff over the cleared place. Make the ground look about like it did before you collected the sample. Understand that we cannot rely on wildcrafting to supply all our soil humus needs. We would quickly strip the forests and prairies of the long term organic wealth that represents their concentrated future fertility. Whole ecosystems could be unraveled over night by enthusiastic uninformed advocates.
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New Mexico school children making seed balls.
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Put the various samples in a dry bucket and mix thoroughly. Let stand for a few hours so the larger critters can crawl out. When the mix dries just a little, rub gently between your palms into a coarse powder. Put a little of this leaf litter mix at the bottom of your compost pile to inoculate the compost with beneficial organisms. They will grow and spread mycelium, spores and micro critters throughout. A few weeks to several months later, depending upon location and climate, you will be able to harvest a little of the essence as needed for inclusion in seed balls. Living soil humus is critical to success, especially in arid regions. If you have a great variety of environments on your site you may need to grow several kinds of compost each in its own locally conditioned bed. Soils from each different habitat such as wet riparian, dry grassland, humid forest and disturbed barrens, can be grown and kept in raised compost beds of straw, lumber, logs, stones or earth. Each bed can then approximate the natural conditions that are home to the "Little People" you invite into you restoration plans. They are the real "Natural Farmers" and you must make them comfortable if you wish to restore health to the land. Only they know how to make sterile soil fertile again, how to make seeds feel at home, and how to nourish tender plants.
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Mixing, tossing, and sprouting seed balls in New Mexico.
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All Photographs And Text Copyright (C) 1996 Jim Bones (Unless Otherwise Indicated) Box 101, Tesuque, N.M. 87574 (505-955-0956)
"Light Writings" http://www.seedballs.com

See "The Seed Ball Story" Video Tape
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