Guerilla gardners are radically seed bombing vacant spaces to create lush gardens.
Last year, a group of guerrilla gardeners broke into a disused plot of land in central Brighton and set up a community garden called The Mound. The land had been derelict for the last 14 years and the gardeners wrote to the land owners saying they would vacate as soon as development on the site began. The land owners were – perhaps understandably – unamused at the squatting and responded by sending in bulldozers to level the 20 square meters of vegetable patches, blooming flowers and educational resources, returning the site to its previous state of neglect. Rumor has it a colony of rare crested newts was also lost in the process.
Today, however, the land is a thriving green meadow of mustard and poppies, thigh high shining green weeds and bright yellow thistles, all thanks to an extensive campaign of seed bombing.
The seed bombing phenomenon seems to have bloomed from nowhere; radical gardeners making little muddy balls from damp compost and mixed seeds and throwing them into any unloved urban area where the plants might take.
Josie Jeffery is the author of Seedbombs: Going Wild with Flowers and widely considered the go-to authority on seed bombing in Brighton & Hove. She says seed bombs originated in ancient Japan and were revived halfway through the 20th century by philosopher and microbiologist Masanobu Fukuoka as a way of introducing revitalizing plants to tired soil that had been exhausted through over use. The little muddy grenades were then adopted by the New York Green Guerrillas who used them to begin transforming run down areas with bright flowers and greenery.
Make your own seed bomb
1. Use water to dampen compost, or a clay/compost mix
2. Add a mix of seeds – salad leaves or wildflowers – and roll in your hands to make a ball
3. Push it into the soil in an appropriate place, or throw it at an urban wasteland
4. Wait and hope!
Remember: Only use native, non-invasive species. The law around seed bombing private land remains unclear. Do so at your own risk.
by Sarah Lewis-Hammond on October 13, 2011