Seeding the Land – Ancient technique for propagating plants

Dori Smith, master gardener, author of books and articles on permaculture, and member of the CI community, is advising and taking some key steps to restore and enhance the grounds at CI.
On the last day of the 2017 Summer Season, Dori brought out a big batch of native grasses and wildflower seeds, selected from the offerings at Santa Fe’s Plants of the Southwest for their beneficial qualities, drought resistance, resilience, and beauty. These weren’t just seeds, Dori explained, these were “seed balls” — individually and carefully wrapped in a casing of moistened mix of soil, compost, clay, and a dusting of red chile pepper to deter the appetite of the local fauna, then air dried. It’s a clever method of planting, just how Nature likes to provide all starts in life, from seeds to eggs — with a little protection and nourishment. The heavy, dried clay casing protects the seeds within from the heat of the sun and from animals, and anchors them to the ground so they are not blown about by wind or washed away by heavy rains. As they germinate, the “newly hatched” seeds are nourished by the soil and compost and shaded by the crumbling clay. 
It was a beautiful, brisk, sunny day when Paul led a blessing and smudging ceremony for the big bin of seed balls that Dori brought with her husband Steven and board member Cynthia Devlin. Then we fanned out on the land to toss them, one by one. Most landed with a slight thud, rolling a few feet or a few inches to find  their resting place. That night the rains came, as if on cue. Happily, these were long, lasting, gentle rains, not the torrential rains that move earth. The grounds, thoroughly soaked, gave the seeds a very good start in life and we look forward to seeing the transformation of the grounds over time with native plants. Thank you Dori!