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Clark Public Utilities has started adding pollinator gardens to our properties. A pollinator is an animal that helps plants make fruit or seeds. Animals like bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies make great pollinators because they get their food from the flower of the plant. When they go in to get their food, they brush up against parts of the flower and the pollen sticks to their body. When they move to the next flower for a snack, the pollen on their body transfer to the new flower. Pollen is a fine powder produced by certain types of plants. In the spring, summer, and fall you may be able to see this yellow dust blowing in the wind or settling on top of cars.
Pollinators love wildflowers that are native to the areas they live in. A seed ball is a mix of seeds with compostable paper, clay, or soil. For our project we are using paper. As the rain falls, the paper will compost away, allowing the seeds to germinate and grow wherever the bomb was thrown. An adult may need to help with the food processor.
- Construction paper or newspaper
- Native wild flower seed packet – good for pollinators
- Muffin tin
- Blender or food processor
- Prepare the paper by ripping or cutting it into small pieces.
- Place small pieces into a bowl.
- Add water to the bowls of paper.
- Soak paper for at least 20 minutes – we want the paper fibers to soften.
- Add soaked paper to the blender or food processor.
- Blend paper until it has completely broken down.
- Should look like mush, this is called paper pulp.
- Add a layer of paper pulp to the muffin tin.
- Sprinkle in a layer of seeds.
- Top the seeds with another layer of paper pulp.
- To avoid stained skin, wear plastic gloves.
- With your fingers, scoop out the contents of one muffin space.
- Over the sink, press each ball firmly to make sure all the fibers are sticking together and keeping the seeds inside – this will also squeeze out excess water.
- Wait for the seed balls to dry (this can be a few hours or a few days).
- Once the balls are a bit dry, try transferring them to a cooling rack to dry all the way through.
- Once the ball is dry all the way through, it is ready to be used outside.
- Seed balls should not be thrown outside when there is still snow on the ground (seed packet will have ideal planting information).
- Store seed balls in an air tight container, in a dry and dark place.
- Use a seed mix that is native to our county and that has a variety of seeds. By selecting a variety, it will mean at least some of the seeds will root and grow.
- Think about where you throw your seed ball. Shade? Dry? Wet? Is this an ideal place for the wildflowers to grow?
- Mix the various colors of paper mash for a multi-colored seed ball.
- Consider giving a seed ball away as a gift with handwritten instructions!