We (105 children, my colleagues and me) were trying many methods to see some plants grow in the commonlands of Chittoor and Ananthapur but in dry and semi-arid areas where rainfall is highly unpredictable, this made the survival of planted sapling a TOUGH job.
Recently we tried a very old method for re-vegetation, Seedball distribution.
What is a seed ball?
Seed balls, simply put, are a method for distributing seeds by encasing them in a mixture of clay and compost.
Story of seed balls
The seed ball method has been working for centuries. The earliest records of aerial reforestation date back from 1930. In this period, planes were used to distribute seeds over certain inaccessible mountains in Honolulu after forest fires. Seed bombing is also widely used in Africa; where they are put in barren or simply grassy areas. Natural farming pioneer Masanobu Fukuoka has experimented with them.
What is it for?
Seed balls are useful for seeding dry, thin and compacted soils and for reclaiming derelict ground. Seed balls are particularly useful in dry and arid areas where rainfall is highly unpredictable. Most seeds are very light and there is risk of them being blown away by the wind, making them unsuitable for launching long distances.
How does if help?
When sufficient rain has permeated the clay, the seeds inside sprout and are aided by the nutrients and beneficial soil microbes surrounding them. Seeds will remain dormant until their environmental needs are met with these factors: water, correct temperature and a good position to grow in.
Most seeds are light and there is risk of some of them being blown away by the wind. The compost offers nutrients for the seeds to germinate and grow strong during their infancy (seedling stage) and the clay binds the seed balls, making it hard enough not to break when it hits the ground. Seed balls have use in nearly any region where plants can grow: for reseeding ecosystems into areas of man-made deserts, avoiding seed eating insects and animals and protecting seeds until rains fall to soak the clay ball and stimulate the seeds. Seeds contained in such balls then germinate in ideal conditions for each climate/region. It is ultimately one of ways the seeds get dispersed.
Download the .ppt that we used for training from this link- http://1drv.ms/1SqVLrn
See this shot clip made with pictures of us (only children)- https://youtu.be/044NsoX647k