Should seed bombing be illegal?

No. They are performing a civil service.
36%
9
Yes. Hooligans with flowers are still hooligans
16%
4
Depends on where, why, and what they used to do it
48%
12
 
Total votes: 25
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Seed Bombing Illegal?

Fukuoka-san's gift to the world, [url=https://permaculturetokyo.blogspot.com/2006/10/seed-balls.html]seed balls[/url], have spawned the guerilla gardening tactic of [url=https://www.guerrillagardening.org/ggseedbombs.html]seed bombing[/url]. It appears there may be [url=https://www.good.is/post/ask-a-lawyer-will-seed-bombing-get-you-busted/]legal ramifications[/url] here.

So what's everybody think?

HG
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It's so sad to see Fukuoka-sensei's gentle terminology, seed balls, corrupted with the terms of war. Looking at the link you provide, I see such materiel offered as grenades, bombs, revolver ammunition, long-distance projectiles, etc., and the act of encasing seeds within a protective clay/compost mix (so that they'll have a better start in life) described as "making seed bombs."

BOMBS???!!!

In Gardening???!!!


Fukuoka-sensei, who joined his ancestors last August at the age of 95, surely must be staggered at this subversion (dare I say, perversion?) of his brilliant idea.

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My first reaction was with cynthia to hate the idea of shaping seed balls into grenades and revolvers. But I love the idea of guerrilla gardening and the more I thought about taking yourself seriously as a subversive gardener, not just planting flowers, but undermining the system, the more I saw the humor and street theater of it all.

I'm all for planting flowers and undermining the system, but the above said, I'm still a non-violent revolutionary. If I take it up, I'll shape my seed balls in to valentines and "bomb" public spaces with flowering hearts!

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I could only agree with this if they made sure they only spread local seeds. The big problem with eco terrorists like these is they mean well, but don't do enough research into what they're doing. They wanna spread flowers everywhere but usually spread non native species which end up hurting the local environment instead of helping it. It's like the anti whaling groups who throw smoke bombs and stink bombs on whaling ships and pollute the ocean in the process.
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I care what grows on my property. If I caught someone in my yard tossing any kind of seed around, I wouldn't even speak to them. I'd just release my dogs. :evil:
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I take it from the articles in the link, they are seed bombing public spaces, not private property.

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A distinction made publicly, but who knows? Vacant lots are often so tied up in legalities even cities can't figure out who owns them, and I hear these are prime targets....

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The "legal ramifications" article mentioned seed-bombers being caught by property owners. That's what I was responding to.

I'm really not a nasty person. Besides, that's my pooch Angus in my avatar. All he'd do is slobber all over a trespasser, while trying to mooch a treat. My other dog, Daisy, would just dance around and bark. It's not like I have a couple of guard dogs here! :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Even siccing dogs has a range of degrees that makes final judgements difficult... :wink: :lol:

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Well, knowing Angus and Daisy, they'd end up eating any seed balls they found lying around. Eating is their passion! :lol:
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I heard of this a few years ago and think its fun, but as with anything people need to remember their responsibilities as well as their rights. If each individual who does this respects the property of others(restricting seed bombing to parks for example and not entering someone's obviously private property) and behave in a respectable manner I don't think they'd find many problems. Another thing I'd suggest to people who do this is that if someone asks what you are up to, take a calm attitude when explaining and don't be aggressive- you never know you may even turn someone round to your way of thinking.

Its the same with dumpster divers- some will do this with respect for the property they are on, and don't have problems. Its those who make a mess and attract attention that have problems.

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Okay, let's talk specifics...

What about a brownfield still owned about the company that polluted it, but abandoned for years?

Whay about that foreclosed house that the bank isn't maintaining?

What about that guy next door with the cars rotting in his yard?

All "privately" owned properties. To seed ball or not to seed ball?

And what does everybody thinink about the proposals to make [url=https://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/05/seedbomb-instills-fear-plants-trees.php]ACTUAL seed bombs[/url]for reclaimation work?

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It's a whole lot better than what my neighbor wanted to do the guy up the road that made him mad he wanted to throw "Total vegetation killer" bombs in his yard. :shock: I talked him out of it of course.

About the seed bombs that is a hard one. Are they invasive species are they actually going to "pretty' up the traget in question are they doing this out of love for mother earth or just to be jerks will it actually help.

How about getting volunteers to go and plant in an organized, constructive manner instead of a chaotic one. That would be so much better for everyone involved.

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I dunno Gixx.

Nature doesn't plant in order; it very much plants in chaos and lets systems sort it out. Nature doesn't care about the organization, .and seems to do fine.

Let's say for the sake of my examples, we are using regional natives, and have no "legal" access to the properties. There has been no indication that they are going to do anything with the property for some time...

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By organized I mean the right plants in the right place Xeriscaping if you would. I was thinking about doing it in way that would benefit nature more than anything.

Fine, I actually couldn't believe I posted that, being an anarchist or at least a wanna be anarchist is there such a thing? Let's go bomb the 'edited' out of everything in site, we'll get some tequila it will be a good time. :lol:

You think I'm joking.............................. :shock:

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... and if you decide the seed bomb isn't legal, what about standing on your property and releasing wind borne seeds when the wind is at your back?
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Those seeds are completely at Nature's whim toil, not the target focused, compost and clay supported, ecosystem inherent delivery package of a seed ball (which won't release the seeds until sufficient moisture is available, and keeps the seeds from predation until then). And not all seeds are airborne dispersals either.

Seed balls also allow for planting seed guilds, like indian paint brush with it's favorite host, little bluestem, fr'instance... or combining color combos or groups that make sense, like black-eyed susans, indian grass, and blue-eyed grass (a combo from my border I like). So there are inherent factors that do make Fukuoka-san's idea perfect for this concept...

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thanks HG, I just wanted to see the exact defining characteristics expressed.

definitions are interesting. very powerful things.

I still don't have an answer to the original question for myself, btw. So as it stands, i think if I saw it done I would look the other way but not lie if asked what I saw. Secretly, I would cheer.
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That's my take on the situation part of me say's let do it but the other part say's not to. It's a but than, but than, but than kinda thing. It would add plant life to a probably dead or derelict area but than it's not your area to be doing anything with but than whosoever area it is should be doing something with it but than.........

If I had one I'd throw it. Don't tell anyone.

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I'm still thinking it's a bad idea, since most seeds would probably be invasive seeds. You want them to work, so you can't throw delicate seeds. You need hardy, hard to kill off seeds which usually come from invasive species. Throwing random seed balls could easily throw off the balance in nature. Once the plants get established in the run down vacant lot, they'll spread to other lots. Soon we'll have another problem like Kudzu or English Ivey running around. I've never seen seed bombs(that you buy) specific to small regions, or even states. They're all just generic flower seed bombs which will spread non native flowers. By spreading non native plants of any kind you do more damage to the ecosystem than the vacant lot, which will eventually fill with native plants in do time.

Like I said before, they've got heart, but not brains. Meaning well doesn't always mean you do well.
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using regional natives, and have no "legal" access to the properties. There has been no indication that they are going to do anything with the property for some time...
For this example, I see no reason not to toss some well-thoughtout mixture seed balls into the property. Birds do it, why can't we? :lol: I guess I'd feel more justified in sending forbs, perhaps some vines, but not so much shrubs and less trees. If the property is already going wild and trees are starting to grow, then it would feel more OK.

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Let's look at the repercussions of our example.

At the brown field, the increase in habitat and food plants would draw more birds, so more seeding by defecation (which are certain to be bird foods, right?) More habitat and food, so at least we are moving unused ground into natural services. And as the wildlife uses it, it becomes more diverse yet...

At the foreclosed house we could have tailored a mix more to lawn needs, white clover mixed with native hard and fine fescues say. Rabbit forage, bird feeding, and still lawn friendly. We could use flower balls up near the beds... We green up the lawn with atmospheric nitrogen from the clover and fill in the patches in the lawn with drough tolerant native grasses with feeding values...

The guy with the junkers gets nasturtiums, a tough little annual nasty-soil specialist, with good vining and flower power. Coverage would not be complete, but poignant... a little color on an otherwise uncovered eyesore.

So nobody who will run rampant, everybody selected for site and purpose...still a misdemeanor? A felony? Assault with a deadly flower? As bad as the crimes being committed by the owners?

Opinions?

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That's what I was getting at on the chaos vs. order. If there were a constructive reason and they tailor made bombs for certain situations than let them fly. We sure as heck don't want some invasive coming in and threatening the natural order we already have. Mother Nature has taken millions of years to get it right one wacko with the wrong stuff could set it back by leaps and bounds. We see this now with all the imported plants ad insect wreaking havoc on our ecosystem.

So in that case I DO NOT think it should be against the law, in fact if done properly it should be a law that they are used.

Let me take you for a drive around St Louis. We would need a big truck and a trailer to hold enough to get the job done.

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Urban brownfields are exactly the sort of targets that were originally envisioned. While this tactic may seem like a new development, it was orginally called green grenades and utilized old glass Xmas tree ornaments and utilized chemical fertilizers (not so green and friendly) and was cooked up by Liz Christy and the Green Guerillas to spruce up "urban renewal" back in 1972.

Even Fukuoka-san's role in invention here is overstated; this technique has been known as "earth dumplings" (tsuchi dango), and has been known in Japan for hundreds if not thousands of years...

There is nothing new under the sun...

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Assuming a targeted approach using native/non-invasive species ONLY, I am wholeheartedly in favor of this. The blog attached to one of those links showed examples of public areas that were previously barren, now bursting with tulips and lavender and other non-invasive beauties. Obviously those aren't the result of seed balls, but I think seed balls in public or abandoned places, along the lines of what HG laid out, could be a wonderful thing.
Well, knowing Angus and Daisy, they'd end up eating any seed balls they found lying around. Eating is their passion!
Hmm, I guess they would eventually be, um, re-deposited at some point... gives new meaning to the term seed bomb! :wink:
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On my relatively short commute to work, there are at least three commercial properties available that were stripped of the naturally occurring trees and vegetation, graded and then offered for sale.

On one, there is no fence, no signs warning against trespass, and just the commercial real estate sign. They left a few trees, piled up some boulders that could be used in landscaping, and threw down some tough sod that has filled in nicely. It is far from beautiful, but somewhat friendly to wildlife and not unpleasant to look at. I saw mushrooms at a distance this winter, not a surprise at all, probably saprophytic. No erosion of the topsoil, and not a nuisance to neighbors, other than the sheltering woods being thinned.

The other two have had all trees removed, soil and accumulated leaf litter and understory removed and sand used to fill in for grading. There are tattered construction fences, multiple signs for commercial realtors and of the "no trespassing no parking" ilk. One of them has a sand mound covered in Phytolacca americana and Chenopodium album along with other opportunistic weeds. Both spill sand runoff onto paved roads, and present an eyesore that collects windblown litter. Large areas of denuded soil and sand.

I have not seeded these areas, and am not going to. All the no trespassing signs helped in my decision. I have wild collected Gaillardia seeds from sandy local environs that could help stabilize the sand at the margins and beautify the area. Salvia coccinea and Salvia lyrata both frequently occur here and might do well also. Certainly Liatris spicata and Cnidoscolus stimulosus would also grow and add beauty and diversity. Cnidoscolus and Opuntia would also discourage trespassers. I've also seen Sisyrinchium spp growing in areas like this, and probably could get my hands on some seed. Just thinking about all the seed and seedlings I have at no more than two phone calls away is inspiring, but come to naught.

It's possible if I ask the developer or realtor they would let me seed bomb or broadcast. My experience over the years is they do not want to do anything to risk the future income of the property. They don't want me to find gopher tortoises or paleo artifacts, and they don't want to encourage anyone to visit the property where they might get hurt. I've had permission from people like that to collect fruit or nuts, or surface collect artifacts like old coke bottles and rusty spoons, but more and more they do not want anyone to show any interest in the property unless you are a potential buyer.

There's a site I know of that looks like a fallow field, but was a source of serious pollution a quarter century ago. A junker collected sometimes toxic stuff with subsequent leaching and court cases. Maybe twenty years ago, we saw a migrant farm worker and family foraging wild plants on the site and had to warn them off (recommending a nearby site I foraged on myself). I think of that when I think of beautifying sites I don't know well with things that might attract people who don't know any better.

There are no simple answers anymore, if there ever were.

I like the concept of seed bombing or guerilla gardening, but would have to consider each case individually.

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A thoughtful and considered post...

We always like those... :D

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Maybe it's possible to toss bird seed from the sidewalk at night? I'm thinking that the birds themselves can distribute seeds :wink: further away from the sidewalk. Over the months, and with rain/wind action, plants might begin to appear.

*perhaps* they would not be torn out...worth a thought.

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So by enlisting natural allies, it somehow absolves us of complicity, Cynthia?

There are hundreds of thousands of microorganims in a seed ball; plenty of beings to diffuse our guilt. :lol: We are still just scattering seed in either case...

I think that most folks here are taking the position I suspected all along, that it is a matter of individual circumstance. I find any circumstance of neglect or harm to natural ecosystemic health worthy of pelting with seed balls; a small price for a larger crime, but I am clearly outweighed by the majority.

If you all agreed with me all of the time, I probably wouldn't like you all as much as I do. :lol:

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No seed balls in my example for the Florida "sidewalk" birds; I'm talking about tossing out loose bird seed from the sidewalk at night. I can only toss bird seed maybe 3 feet or so before a light breeze will bring it back to me. It's up to the birds, breezes, and whatever else might disperse loose seeds to carry them further.

The only property I've ever considered using seed balls on is absolutely infested with Yellow Star Thistle. I can't find a sufficiently small amount of clay to embed the native wildflower seeds I have (California poppy) so that I can toss them far enough into the YST to make a difference. *sigh*

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A "handful of seeds", huh, much more politically correct then "Seed bomb" I think you might have something there. :)

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So terminology is the difference?

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No, when I make a seed ball (which I haven't done...yet), it will be a small, compact, toss-able object. Maybe I can get it 10 or 12 whole feet into the Yellow Star Thistle infested property! for the California poppies--native to the state, official state flower, self perpetuating, bumblebees and honeybees love 'em--to compete against.

Whereas birdseed--and I can buy birdseed for native and/or migratory birds at the independent pet-supply place I get my dog and cat food--I can just reach into the bag, get out a handful or two of seed, make my way to the YST-infested property, and toss the seeds over the fence. I can maybe get 3, on a good day 4, feet of distance with loose seeds.

Since these seeds are the food that native and migratory birds are used to finding around here, the plants that would grow from said seeds would be much more desirable than the YST, which (I've read) not even goats will eat after the YST has flowered. :shock:

So, in the case of the Florida property, what I'm wondering is whether similarly focused bird seed could be used.

Loose bird seed by the handful is *not* the same as a seed ball, so it requires different vocabulary.

Cynthia

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A plant that goats won't eat. Heavens help us all...

10-12' Cynthia? You throw like a girl... :P

Seems I remember Liz Christy and the GG's using Wrist Rocket slingshots... used to be pretty good myself...

Opens up a whole new frontier... try a hundred feet instead of ten. :D

But what's in the birdseed? Got millet in there? Which ones? How about Niger?

A whole new ethical dilemma... :?: :?

Or just sunflowers?

:wink:

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The Helpful Gardener wrote:A plant that goats won't eat. Heavens help us all...

10-12' Cynthia? You throw like a girl... :P
In the 6th grade, I could throw a softball 65 feet or so (with either arm), even though the stupid things were too big for my hands. "Baseballs are for boys," I was always told, even though I could actually *hold* a baseball in my hands.

These days, my throwing is absolutely pitiful due to a partially torn rotator cuff in each shoulder. See, if the tear in the tendons etc. is partial vs. complete, the docs (maybe "health insurance manager") tell me that surgery isn't needed. Right.... While I wait for an hour each day after waking up to be able to get dressed b/c of limited ROM....etc.....

Re. varieties of seed: I've been going to this pet-supply shop since before it opened! (Good trick huh?) But before I throw any seed anywhere, even if it is the "native and migratory blend," I'll ask *which* plants are represented.

Sunflowers aren't native to California, even though I planted a few out by the street last year. I maintained them, despite squirrel invasions, but won't foist them upon anyone unawares.

I have niger seed in a finch-feeder on my porch, and can sweep up any fallen seeds. Well, I have the finch feeder and the niger seed, and will put up the feeder next week, after the electricians finish working on the house *and* the inspector clears their work. It just won't do to have a bird feeder clonk the inspector on the head....

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The Helpful Gardener wrote:So terminology is the difference?

HG
:? :?

Not sure what you are getting at but I'm on your side buddy. Just saying in jest that the terminology difference may make it more palatable to some that wouldn't like the idea. What's a more kid/earth friendly word "handful" or "bomb"?

I have actually been thinking about places around me locally that could use a "handful of bombs" but it is pretty much lush around here. If it's not corn or beans it's cover cropped or else there is more than likely an abundance of native this and that growing.

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Don't take me too seriously here, Gixx. In case you haven't noticed I am playing devil's advocate here (more than usual, which is really saying something :lol: ) .

I'm just trying to get people to look at the issues behind invasiveness, and ecological abandonment, and about how we effect things both in our doing AND in our not doing.

Truth be told, I'm probably more on the fence on this topic than I have made out to be, but have been formulating my thoughts and gathering others' ideas. I find the forum to be a valuable tool for gauging not just public sentiment but my own some times, and by asking more questions than stating things I get more enthusiastic and truthful feedbacks, and can simply adopt that which resonates, and at least be aware of the other points of view that exist.

I learn as much here most days as I teach, and sometimes way more.

:D

Cynthia, get the wrist rocket. Save your arm, dear... :wink:

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The Helpful Gardener wrote:Don't take me too seriously here, Gixx. In case you haven't noticed I am playing devil's advocate here (more than usual, which is really saying something :lol: ) .

I'm just trying to get people to look at the issues behind invasiveness, and ecological abandonment, and about how we effect things both in our doing AND in our not doing.

Truth be told, I'm probably more on the fence on this topic than I have made out to be, but have been formulating my thoughts and gathering others' ideas. I find the forum to be a valuable tool for gauging not just public sentiment but my own some times, and by asking more questions than stating things I get more enthusiastic and truthful feedbacks, and can simply adopt that which resonates, and at least be aware of the other points of view that exist.

I learn as much here most days as I teach, and sometimes way more.

:D

Cynthia, get the wrist rocket. Save your arm, dear... :wink:

HG
Now your scaring me. We think quite differently yet very much alike. :wink:

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I believe that is safely said of most humans, friend...

:D

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Although I participated in debate in high school, on this thread I'm expressing my own views. I could probably argue four different positions on this topic (100% justified, justified in some cases, almost never justified, and trespassing at all times), but the Yellow Star Thistle situation is quite real and has been bothering me for quite some time.

I will say again:

Loose bird seed by the handful is *not* the same as a seed ball, so it requires different vocabulary.

This is not a semantic difference; it is a difference in essence, in character, in action, and in result.

Cynthia

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