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* To prepare air-dry clay for this activity, leave it out of the packaging for about 3 days and then grind it into a fine powder using a hammer or mallet. Ask a grownup for help with this—and don’t forget your protective eyewear!
Once your seed balls have dried, you’re ready to plant! There’s no need to bury or water your seed balls. Simply toss them in a bare area of your garden and watch your plants grow. No outdoor garden? No problem! Place your seed balls in planter pots instead. If you’re not ready to use them yet, you can store your seed balls in a cardboard box or paper bag.
Planting with seed balls is an ancient Japanese practice called 粘土団子 (nendo dango), meaning “earth dumpling.” During the modern era, Japanese microbiologist Masanobu Fukuoka popularized this method of sustainable farming. The potting soil provides nutrients for the seeds to germinate, which means to sprout or grow. The clay acts as a carrier for the seeds and soil. It protects the seeds from being blown away by wind and from being eaten by animals. Once the temperature is right and there is enough rainfall, your seeds will sprout and grow where they landed!