In the beginning of March when Annicke the mouse girl started to smell spring in the air, she went to her friend Reginald's house with her sack of wildflower seeds. She had collected them last summer in the meadows around Hazel Village. She wanted to ask Reginald's gardening advice.
Reginald sighed a gusty sigh. "Friend, I'm sorry to say it's still too early to plant seeds! The ground is frozen too hard for digging, and if any seeds sprouted yet, the baby plants might freeze at night. Probably in two or three more weeks, it will be time.
But for now, I have to sit with my seed collection and ponder my plans."
Annicke knew a trick, though: the friends could make seed balls! These are little pellets made of clay, dirt, and seeds. All the animals of Hazel Village could throw them on the ground anywhere, and once it got warmer, the seeds might grow!
Here is how they did it: they used equal parts of air-drying clay, dirt, and seeds.
Reginald found some gardening gloves so they wouldn't get their paws grimy.
They rolled out the piece of clay until it was nice and flat.
On top of the flat clay, they put the dirt and seeds.
Then they mixed everything together. While they were mixing the clay, Annicke told Reginald the rules of seed balls.
"Reggie, we must not throw these in somebody else's garden or yard, or any place where another friend takes care of the plants. Last year, I threw a lot of them in Flora Fox's market garden, and she got mad because she said the plants were weeds instead of beautiful wildflowers. It depends on your perspective, I guess.
"So now, I know to ask my friends if they want these plants to grow. Or, I throw seed balls in places like the side of the path, where no one is keeping any kind of garden."
Once the dough was mixed up, they rolled it into little balls.
They marked each seed ball with a symbol to show what was inside. The wildflower seed balls had little flowers stamped on them, as you can see. The radish seed balls had jagged patterns of some kind stamped on them...Reginald told us that is an "artisanal" R. We suppose that makes sense. The friends left the seed balls alone until the clay dried.
Meanwhile, they decorated bags to store their creations.
And they left the finished packages by their friends' doors. This one is for Zoe Rabbit.
They are excited to see what happens!
P.S. The clay is Crayola air-dry clay: any similar air-drying kids' clay, or real potter's clay, would work. The dirt is potting soil. For best results, sow these in the early spring, on open ground that gets good sunlight.
And Annicke wasn't kidding: it's very rude to throw these on property that other people are taking care of. Also, don't throw them in wildlife preserves or other natural areas. We are growing some in our own garden, and along a stretch of Tenth Street near our store, where we know it's usually only bare ground and weeds.