On Friday of last week I came into the office to find a box of Seedles herb and flower bombs. Chris and Ei Ei, a husband and wife team and founders of Seedles, have generously sent the community garden around 1000 seed bombs (packaged by the fabulous Kristine Morales)! They’ve given us 750 native California wildflower seed bombs (called Seedles), 3 Thyme Bomb sets with Thyme, Oregano, Dill, Parsley, Mint, Basil, and Chives, and a bag full of oddly shaped and mini Seedles. Not only are these going to be wonderful for the garden, awesome for our local bee population, and beautiful for the community once they bloom, they are also just plain adorable:
We are so grateful for this generous donation!
Not only are they incredibly generous, they are also doing great things with their seed bombs. They have drop down menus on their website so you can choose seeds that exactly fit your region, which helps make sure that the seeds you plant will thrive and that local flowers can continue to be found in their natural ecosystems. They also make sure that all their seeds are free of toxins, so that the bee populations that eat the nectar and pollen of these flowers can remain healthy. I wanted Chris and Ei Ei to be able to talk a little about Seedles and what they do in their own words, so I asked them a few questions. Here’s what Chris said:
What is Seedles, in a nutshell?
Seedles aims to inspire kids and adults to grow one billion wildflowers to bring back the bees and ensure a sustainable food system for their future. Seedles makes “wildflower seed bombs” (found at http://growtherainbow.com) which are compost, clay and native wildflower seeds mixed and rolled into a ball. We then add colorful rainbow colors to make them fun and exciting. You just toss them on the ground and let the sun and rain do the rest. They then sprout and grow into beautiful wildflowers.
Why is this mission so important to you both?
Our goal is to help people do something positive for the world in a fun and easy way. There is so much bad news nowadays, we wanted to enable people to make good news, that has a lasting impact on the environment around them. Seedles allow someone to beautify their neighborhoods and communities while also ensuring the pollinators, which help pollinate one in every three bites of their food, have a clean supply of food as well. Without food there wouldn’t be much reason to live right? 🙂
What is your favorite part of the Seedles process?
I love figuring out the best way to make them. That spans across research and development to the manufacturing process we are refining daily. One of the most joyous parts is adding the colors, there is nothing quite as satisfying as looking out over 5,000 Seedles all colored with colors from the rainbow, it just puts a big fat smile on your face.
Your blog and website talk a lot about the importance of bringing the bees back. Can you talk a little about this and about what first drew you to this issue?
The bees are currently facing a cocktail of threats, each with their own degree of severeness which are threatening their lives. Some estimates put our annual honey bee colony loss at between 30% and 40%. This provides a lot of food for thought such as “Why are the honey bees dying?”, and “What are the causese for these extreme losses?” Imagine if you will, loosing 30% of your family each year, things just wouldn’t be the same would they? Beyond that, these little industrious bees pollinate ONE in every THREE bites of food we eat. And what they pollinate is all the juicy, colorful, yummy stuff like berries, coffee, watermelon, apples, mangos, kiwi fruit, plums, peaches, green beans, walnuts, lemons, carrots, and on and on.
Can you give a brief description of neonicotinoids and why it’s so important to buy and use seeds that don’t have neonicotinoids in them?
Neonicotinoids are are a new class of insecticides chemically related to nicotine. The name means “new nicotine-like insecticides”. Like nicotine, the neonicotinoids act on certain kinds of receptors in the nerve synapse. They are much more toxic to invertebrates, like insects, than they are to mammals, birds and other higher organisms. You can read this research to learn more about current impact – http://growtherainbow.com/blogs/news/30543107-pesticides-create-same-effect-on-bees-as-binge-drinking-does-on-humans
Neonicotinoid residues are found in pollen and nectar consumed by pollinators such as bees and butterflies. The residues can reach lethal concentrations in some situations. These disrupt brain function, bee learning and the ability to forage for food and so limit colony growth.
Always purchase non-neonicotinoid seeds and plants, as you could be poisoning the very pollinators your life depends on. Without pollinators our food sources would be much more bland, and limited to wind pollinated foods such as wheat, corn, rye, and pecans.
In our garden we have a wide spectrum of gardeners, but several (including myself!) are pretty new to gardening. Do you have any advice or wisdom for those just starting out in exploring gardening and sustainability?
I recommend a lot of “hammock time” or what I can time just sitting in the garden and observing how things work. The power of observation is often understated. Many things can be learned just from observing that natural patterns that already exist and are working in nature. What happens to a plant during the heat of the day? Why? If you leave aphids on the plant, do they get worse, or does nature take care of them? Experiment with watering daily for a short period, versus weekly for a longer period. See what happens when you put compost in a ring around new plants vs when you don’t. Introduce worms into your soil and see if that garden plot does better or worse than one nearby with the same plants.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to our gardeners and readers?
It is time for us to stop seeing ourselves as apart from nature and instead begin to see ourselves as a part that makes up the whole of nature. Until we begin to care for our surroundings as intently as we care for ourselves and our families we will continue to see environmental degradation which inevitably will lead to greater issues for humans. One of my favorite quotes is “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison
Thank you Chris, Ei Ei, and Kristine! For more information or to order some Seedles for yourself, check out growtherainbow.com.