Earth Month

Earth Month

Seed Bombs and Seed Scattering

4/19/2024 | Angela Whitlock, CSRA

As part of the Champaign County Forest Preserve District, we are constantly striving to protect natural resources and inspire others to care for, enjoy, and explore their natural world.  

A great way to do this and to participate in Earth Month involves dispersing seeds to propagate natural wildlife and native species. Birds, butterflies, moths, beetles, bats, flies, beetles, small mammals, wasps, and bees are all pollinators, visiting flowers to either drink nectar or feed off pollen and transport pollen grains as they move from place to place.  


One way to spread seeds is by using the seed scatter method.  

  • First, prepare a bed of soil by weeding and turning the soil with a digging fork. Make sure to break up big clumps of soil and rake it flat when done.  
  • Next, add sand to your seeds and shake together in a container to evenly mix. A 50/50 mix of sand and seeds is useful when sowing small seeds. The sand will give you more material to work with while also separating the seeds for better spacing.  
  • Scatter the mixture evenly across the prepared soil. Rake to bury the seeds. Make sure to choose seeds that are specifically for pollinators, and opt for native species. For a list of pollinator plants for Illinois, check out this great resource.  
  • Then, water the seeds thoroughly and evenly. Keep the seeds evenly moist while they are geminating.  
  • Place a plant label in the ground that lists the plant and date. A wooden stick, clear tape, and permanent marker are all you need to do this. Popsicle sticks work great, as they are the perfect width to write on. Use the tape to cover the area you have written on so that it doesn’t wear off. Or, just place a stick near the seeds and write the plant type and date in a notebook.  

Seedlings usually appear within a couple weeks, but make sure to consult the seed packet for a more exact expectation. They can also be vulnerable until they are study and well-rooted, which typically happens after a couple of months. Check them regularly to make sure they have sufficient water and are not being smothered by weeds or attacked by insects. You can also cover the seeds with a fine mesh to protect them from many types of insects.  

Note: If you are planning to scatter seeds in a public place, make sure that you have proper permission to do so. Community gardens often have restrictions and regulations or may require specific permission. Public parks often do not allow this unless you are part of an organization.  


Another way to distribute seeds is by making seed bombs.  

  • First, gather your materials and prepare your work surface. Line a baking sheet with newspaper to keep the craft contained. To make seed bombs, you need three things: soil, seeds, and air-drying clay. You can find air-drying clay at craft stores.  
  • Break off bits of clay and make them into. Create an indent in the center of each ball.  
  • Next, fill each indent with a pinch of wildflower seed mix.  
  • Repeat this step with a pinch of soil.  
  • Re-roll the clay ball to seal the seeds and soil inside and let them dry for a few days. Turn the balls as they dry, once a day, to make sure they are drying on all sides. 
  • Once the seed bombs have dried, plant them in some prepared soil. Watering and rain will wash the clay away while also keeping the soil moist, allowing the seeds to grow.  

An alternative to making seed bombs with clay is to use scraps of paper instead. This method involves making scraps from paper sheets, soaking the paper for 20 minutes, squeezing the excess after out, and then putting the paper in a food processor to form a pulp. From there, you can mix the seeds in with the pulp and roll them into balls. This method has similar results, but be careful of the type of paper you are using and make sure not to use paper that has artificial coloring or any other artificial materials mixed in with it.  


Sources: Royal Horticultural Society (online),,, The Pioneer Woman (online),,  

Image credit: Unsplash