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What is clay ball?

"The clay ball" method was pioneered by Mr. Masanobu Fukuoka who was a Japanese farmer and originator of the Natural Farming agricultural system.
"The clay ball" is a method of clay-encapsulated seeds which protect seeds from dry heat and predators and it waits until when the sufficient moisture causes the clay to disintegrate and the seeds to germinate. It is a simple, effective and unconventional reforestation method that both children and adults can learn easily.

Mr. Fukuoka has mentioned that if one could cover an area of 100 square kilo-meters with green, the trees would invite to rain.
While his method has seen positive results of farming in India, the Phillipines,Tanzania and Greece, it has never been tested on a large scale.

Masanobu Fukuoka (1912-2008)

Born in 1912 Ehime prefecture, Japan. Philosopher and naturalist.
He started his career as a researcher of rice. After some experiments,
he found his organic method that it was named Natural Agricultural Method.
His theory is based on non-cultivation. He explained that any cultivation killed soil and it's organism.

【Clay Ball Method】
After many years of Mr. Fukuoka's research and fieldwork, he invented a brand-new method ,called 'Clay Ball', which is especially for stopping the worldwide expanding desertification. Here is a brief explanation of Clay Ball Method as follows.

  • Method:
    1, Collect various seeds from forests, bushes, meals, etc.
     *12 tons of seeds are needed for 10 km square of desert.
     *Seeds should be more than 100 different kinds.
    2, Mix the seeds, water and clay.
    3, Make clay balls whose diameters are about 2 centimeters.
     *See another explanation in detail.
    4, Scatter the clay balls on the desert ground.
    5, Seeds are usually categorized 2 types which should suit for spring and autumn,
      so that keep scattering them every spring and autumn as long as the desert remains.


  • Greening process:
    1, Clay ball protects the seeds from most of all birds and insects which try to eat them.
    2, The shape of ball can keep morning dew on its lower surface because of the shape
       efficiency and moreover the temperature difference between night and day in desert.
    3, Water, sunlight and soil are available.
      Some of the various sorts of seeds inside the clay balls are chosen by the environment
       itself and start to root till they reach the ground water.
    4, After the roots reach it, the seeds begin to germinate.
    5, The growing plants which are chosen by the environment suck up the ground water and
      shut some sunlight to the ground.
      Then young leaves which covers the ground can keep the moisture and decrease the
      evaporation on the surface of ground.
      This cycle makes the environment for various forms of lives be much better.
       Moreover the better environment activates the native seeds under the ground.
    6, After the cycle repeats, forests will return to life in the future.
How to make Clay balls
Materials: Seeds / Clays / Water / Sieves / Bowls(Big size) or Buckets / Newspapers

*Vinyl sheets for some places

  • How to make them:
    1) Sieve clays.
    2) While doing 1), mix several kinds of seeds thoroughly.
    I recommend you to choose small size of seeds such as vegetables with leaves or herbs for the first training.
    3) Mix 2) with 1) all together.
    Be careful not to put too many seeds at the same time. If so, the mixture would not
    deflate airs easily.
    4) Add water little by little to the mixture.
    Repeating of adding a little water and working clays is the best way.
    It is enough when you feel the mixture with the lack of water. (not too much water)
    *The touch is similar as when you make cookies.
    5) When you feel it is enough, let a string in the mixture.
    If you find a hole at any sections, it means airs are inside the mixture and so you need
    to keep working clays until they deflate.

    * Deflate airs inside the mixture completely.
    To deflate airs, throw it against the ground like when you make ceramics(if you do? too violently, the seeds inside would be affected.) and then an ideal shape of the mixture is a cube.

    6) Take a cube shape of mixture and stretch it as a string, then roll it little by little
    to make a small ball.
    * If there is even a few crack on the ball, it will break after all. Not to be like that, put
    water the cracks with your finger.
    Make a round shape as long as possible and its diameter would be about 2cm.
    (When you choose a big seed, a size of a ball should be suitable.)
    7) Put the completed clay balls on newspapers and dry them in the shade with well-
    ventilated place.
    They will be harden in 2-5days even though it depends on the temperature.
    8) Just throw(put) 7) on the ground where you like, and then only seeds which suit the ground germinate without any water and manures.


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