Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Thursday 11 April 2013

A tin full of butterflies and bees

Well, the means to attract them to Compost Mansions, at least!
One of the many things we are trying to do here is provide a haven and a refuge for wildlife; somewhere they can find food and places to hide and nest and breed.

I have talked about our desire to resurrect the Pool area back to its former glory and we also would like to attract even more insects to our patch of land. Bees and butterflies in particular need all the help they can get, flowering plants to feed from are vital and I am planning yet more areas which will have bee and butterfly friendly planting.

So I was very interested to be contacted by Eco social 
enterprise  Project MAYA, who have come up with an innovative way to raise funds for their environmental sustainability initiatives whilst increasing UK wildflowers: ‘SEEDBALL’. 


Project Maya tell me the SEEDBALLS are hand rolled in North London  and each marble size seed ball contains a mini ecosystem: flora-locale accredited wildflower seed are mixed with clay, peat-free compost and a smidgen of chili powder, and rolled into a small ball. Each ball is approximately 1cm in diameter, making them easy to scatter.
The concept sounded intriguing and  I was also particularly  pleased to see SEEDBALLS  are made using Peat Free compost ( a passion of mine, as you know!) but as the SEEDBALL website points out

...many of the cultivated and exotic flowers that are common in gardens produce no nectar, so it’s super important that you plant native flowers. It's also important to avoid peat-based compost as our rarest butterflies are found on peat bogs, and the extraction of peat used in compost destroys this fragile habitat. Here at SEEDBALL we’ve made a promise to ourselves, and to you, to only ever stock native flowers, sourced in the UK, and to use peat-free compost. 

Hear hear I say :-) I was hooked! So Project Maya very kindly sent me a tin of the Butterfly mix to try - containing seeds of Purple Loosestrife, Forget me not, Yarrow, Musk Mallow and Red Campion. 

Open the tin and look inside!

Once the SEEDBALLS are on the ground the dried clay acts as a protective casing from common seed predators (such as ants, mice and birds). When sufficient rain permeates the clay, the seeds inside begin to germinate - helped along by the nutrients and minerals contained within the balls. The chili powder continues to deter predators while the seed ball slowly degrades and the seeds sprout. 

This is such a great idea and the SEEDBALL tins are also really pretty. They are aparrently manufactured by the last tin maker of London and can be reused and recycled after use, the seed ball labels are also printed in the UK.

I think these would make a lovely gift for someone keen to help bees and butterflies and other insects. You can throw them onto a bed or boarder, or into pots. The bees and butterflies won't mind and will just be pleased to have food :-)
And I can't wait for the ground to warm up a little more so I can get seed bombing outside.

SEEDBALL is currently available to purchase in selected retail outlets and on line and cost £4.50 for a tin of 20 balls, the perfect amount for a wildflower border or pots of wildflowers. You can also apparently buy bulk bags of 500g  (£40) for larger wildflower area creation. I suspect I might get a bigger bag, although I may also have a go at making some myself.

Project MAYA was officially founded in May 2011, by a group of friends and environmental scientists in order to put ideas from research into practise, and help to create a sustainable society.  MAYA activities are centred around four main areas: enterprise, research, campaigns and education.

SEEDBALL Website: www.seedball.co.uk
MAYA project: www.mayaproject.org

Disclaimer:  I was sent a tin of SEEDBALLS in order to write this review, no money has been paid to me. As always the words I write are my own, although I have used information suppled by Project Maya on their website.

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