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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Plant Propagation, increasing your stock of plants in Ireland.

Spreading, Sowing and Throwing Seeds

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Rank attained: Tree plantation keeper

Joined: 27 May 2007
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Location: inishowen Ireland

PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:51 am    Post subject: Spreading, Sowing and Throwing Seeds Reply with quote

Our last guinea pig died a few weeks ago. It had a good life; well as good as it can get stuck in a cage and being stared at through the bars by a dog who appeared to be deeply in love with the little ball of fluff ( I think it was probably a meal she was looking for).
Just before it died we had bought a large bumper pack of guinea pig food from the pet shop and not wanting to waste any, Julie decided it would be a good idea to boil it up with the other left over vegetables and old meat and use it as dog food. This has been done before on a small scale and I must say the resulting mush is the most disgusting thing I have ever taken off of the hob. The flattened maize and corn are all right, they cook quite nicely. The seeds on the other hand, eugh!

I'm not squeamish by any stretch of the imagination; I was changing cat litter trays this week for the neighbour's cat after all. The smell that came from the cooked guinea pig food was even worse than the litter tray. I had to take drastic action, so the bag has mysteriously disappeared and the contents have been scattered far and wide around the undergrowth in the park. I used the same method as the men in the Escape from Colditz Film who scattered the soil from the tunnels by concealing it in their pockets and letting it drop down their trouser legs as they walked around the yard, or park in my case.

Seed Dispersal
I realised that I was inadvertently doing a bit of natural seed dispersal. Seeds are very clever at making sure they have the best chance of survival. I remember as a child I would strip down rosehips and take out the fine hairs to use as itching powder, the seeds would just be thrown back into the undergrowth, job done. I still pull off grass seed heads as I am walking, it's a lovely feeling, then I will just let the seed float off and settle anywhere, sometimes they will stick to my clothes for days until they drop. There are quite a few methods of seed dispersal that ensures the survival of the species.

Dandelions and sycamores are amongst the most successful at this method in our garden. Just one of each can cause havoc, not only to your garden but all of the neighbours too.
Seeds in pods such as peas laburnum or gorse will throw their seeds out on dry sunny days. The seeds land just far enough away from each other to grow without too much competition
Relying on the wind or an animal brushing against them, poppies have perfected the art of distributing their seeds like a pepper shaker.
Coconuts have a hard outer shell which floats the seed downstream and lands it on a muddy bank ready for germination.
Hooking up
Cleavers, burdock and certain weeds have small Velcro like hooke on them that will latch onto sheep or any other passing animal such as a mouse, dog or us going out for a walk.
Just passing through
Our dogs have been a favourite for this method, especially when they have eaten the uncooked guinea pig food. Blackberries, gooseberries raspberries are three types of sweetly coated seed that disperse themselves by passing though the internal workings of the body.
Some seeds split out of their tough outer casings when they drop from the tree. The most well known one being the Horse chestnut (conkers)

Seed Balls

Apart from scattering the guinea pig food in the park I have also been making a few clay seed balls to experiment with. This idea came from a book called "One Straw Revolution" by Japanese farmer Masanobu Fukuoka. The book is a spiritual memoir of a man whose innovative system of cultivating the earth reflects a deep faith in the wholeness and balance of the natural world. Trained as a scientist, Fukuoka rejected both modern agribusiness and centuries of agricultural practice, deciding instead that the best forms of cultivation mirror nature's own laws. Over the next three decades he perfected his so-called "do-nothing" technique: commonsense, sustainable practices that all but eliminate the use of pesticides, fertilizer, tillage, and perhaps most significantly, wasteful effort.

It still requires work though, lots of it and mainly menial, but that's a good thing!

The clay seed balls were made to encase rice and clover (which was planted with rice to act as a nitrogen fixer) these were then thrown onto the fields. The clay protects the seed from birds and ensures that they will only germinate when the wet weather comes. The idea has been taken up by some groups who need to plant trees and grasses on very steep unreachable areas, and of course the guerrilla gardening movement have taken it onboard too. The seeds don't need any special treatments to make them viable, nature does it all. All we need to do is mix clay, compost and seed together. It looks a bit like dark cat litter I am putting in the neighbour's cat tray. Now there's a gap in the market, maybe I could incorporate the two together.

REseed ball.jpg
Just one clay seed ball for a start, but soon there could be millions!
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REseed ball.jpg

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medieval knievel
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

you can buy seed 'grenades' (actually shaped like grenades) in some shops in dublin. but at about 20 for three grenades, i won't be buying (m)any of those...
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