Permaculture Designers Manual
CHAPTER 8 – WATER IN PERMACULTURE
Section 8.16 –
Seed Pelleting in Permaculture
In pioneering the rehabilitation or stabilization or soils, many of the local deficiencies in soils can be overcome by seed pelleting, which is a process or embedding seed in a capsule of substances that give it a good chance of establishment despite soil deficiencies in local sites, or microsites.
If seeds have thick coats, or need heat or cold treatment or scarification to break dormancy, they must be treated before pelleting.
Purchase and inoculate legume seed with their appropriate microbial or fungal spores. Soak the seed in inoculant solution, then dry the seed. Mix dried seed with a primary coat as below.
Use a lime, clay layer, and a trace of fine rock flour, calcium, or phosphate mixed into a damp but plastic slurry around the seed. This is then extruded (e.g. via a meat mincer with the cutting blades removed) to a shaker table or tray covered with dust, and on a slight incline. Dust is added as needed to dry and shape the pellet, or to set a desirable size or pellet. (Figure 12.19)
The dust, or outer pellet coat, should incorporate a soil conditioning gel or polymer, a colloid-forming substance Fine graphite), a bird repellent (green dye helps repel birds), an insect repellent such as powdered neem tree leaf (Azadirachta indica or Melia azedarach) or diatomaceous earth, and perhaps some swelling day such as bentonite.
Pellets are now dried and scattered, drilled, or sown on sites to await rain. The protected seed germinates when the pellet absorbs water, and the emerging root finds its nutritional needs satisfied, while the root associates also become active in nutrient transfer to the plant.
The same vibrating table that we use to pellet seed serves, when fitted with screens, to clean and sort seed from the soil below trees or from seed and husk mixtures, and the mincer can be returned to the kitchen none the worse for wear.
Fukuoka achieves the same result by pressing seed-clay mixes of grains through a coarse sieve, onto a dust-filled pan which is shaken to round off the pellets.