An empty lot and a bag of seed bombs: it’s the perfect Christmas gifts for gardeners. These little balls of seeds are easy to toss into neglected areas, creating tiny wildlife habitats for bees, birds, and butterflies. They also make great garden starter kits for those who are new to gardening.

What is a seed bomb? It’s a ball of compost and seeds stuck together with clay. While seeds have their own little stash of nutrients inside them, placing them in a nutrient-rich seed bomb gives them an even better head start. These balls of seeds have historically been tools for guerilla gardeners who want to toss a bit of future colour into neglected urban lots, but they’re great as compact stocking stuffers for gardeners as well.

There are as many ways to make seed bombs as there are recipes for Christmas cake. The most common recipe is as follows:

  • 5 parts clay soil or potter’s clay powder
  • 1 part compost
  • 1 part native wildflower seeds

Place the compost and seeds into a bowl, and add your clay slowly, mixing it as you go. Add water until your mixture has the consistency of very thick, somewhat chunky dough. Roll the clay into balls that are 2 to 3 centimetres wide, and place them on a windowsill to dry for several days.  When you toss the seeds onto the ground, the clay will slowly break down in the damp and the seeds will start to grow.

Traditionally, seed bombs contain wildflower seed mixes, although you can create a garden-in-a-ball out of other small seeds as well. How about some Asian greens for early spring gardening?

Wrap your seed bombs, take a piece of brown paper and wrap it around one or several seed bombs as if you were wrapping a small, round chocolate. Tie it at the top with colorful raffia, and you have a seed bomb that’s lovely to plant and a package that’s perfect fodder for the compost.