By LAUREN LaROCCA
The Frederick News-Post
FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — Brian Slagle’s parents are renegades when it comes to gardening. It’s not unusual for them to throw squash and eggplant seeds into the little patches of soil in the sidewalk outside their Church Street home.
Slagle followed suit.
“It’s kind of a family project,” he said.
He discovered seed bombs during a trip to Los Angeles, where they’re “really big,” and a couple of months ago began branding his own in Frederick.
As the rain hits, the small, round “bombs” break down, and seeds sprout from them at various times. It typically takes about five days to get started, Slagle said. Most mixes work best in spring and fall, but “they’ll sit dormant if there’s not much rain and just kind of hang out.”
The idea is to beautify — and in some cases feed — the world in an act of guerrilla gardening; to modernize our notion of green space. People can turn an otherwise vacant lot into a new, aesthetically pleasing environment, a home to bumblebees; or bring a wildflower plot to their own backyard garden or windowsill.
“I like the whole urban gardening movement,” Slagle said, “growing vegetables around street signs.” The Frederick artist was taking a break from installing a gumball machine — full of seed bombs — at Cafe Nola in downtown Frederick.
He cited People’s Park in Berkeley, Calif. — a parking lot that, after mass demonstrations and bloodshed, was transformed into a public park — as well as the more recent edible landscaping movement, brought to life locally by Michael Judd.
“The food industry is changing,” Slagle said. “There’s kind of a food revolution going on. People either know someone or they have some kind of produce growing. … It’s not a new thing; it’s just a new trend. Back in the day, everyone had a garden.”
His seed bombs are made from powdered red clay, cayenne pepper (to keep birds from eating them), compost and seeds.
“My kids love to make them,” Slagle said. “We sit in the backyard and make them.” And then his twin daughters “fight over watering it.”
“It’s fun to watch, and different things come out,” he continued, because you can’t tell which seeds are sprouting at first.
Slagle used a pre-packaged Mid-Atlantic seed variety for his creations but plans to harvest seeds himself for future bombs to create a hyper-local mix.
He sells the product under his company, Lucy and Amelia, which specializes in natural products and natural and recycled artwork.
The seed bomb line started with hummingbird and butterfly wildflower bombs — perfect for throwing into unsightly or barren lots, while attracting and providing food for hummingbirds and butterflies, according to the company Facebook page.
Next in line, the salad bomb.
There’s the Roquette Arugula Bomb, the Red Salad Bowl Bomb, Oakleaf Lettuce Bomb, Spinach Vilofray Bomb, Endive Cour d’Oro Bomb and Trieste Sweet Chicory Bomb.
He recently allowed children at The Common Market co-op on Buckeystown Pike create their own bombs throughout the day. His bombs are available for purchase there.
Alexis Self, education and demo coordinator at the co-op, likes the idea of seed bombs, especially for greening urban landscapes.
“We (The Common Market) were actually thinking about ordering seed bombs from a company out in California about a month before Brian came in the store with them,” she said. “It was perfect timing.”
Slagle hopes to work with the Frederick County Public Schools program Living for Life.
A DIY seed bomb kit allows people to make their own wild flower seed bombs. It includes instructions and supplies for 30 bombs, and the kit itself can be used as a bed for planting the seeds. DIY kits (arugula and spinach bombs) are available at The Muse in downtown Frederick.
“It’s not quite legal but it’s not really illegal,” Slagle said about bombing. “It’s kind of like graffiti with flowers.”
Information from: The Frederick (Md.) News-Post, http://www.fredericknewspost.com
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)