SEED BALLS - AN INTRODUCTION - PART B
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
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.
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
On) -- (Exit)*