Sustainability and Biomimicry #4

This is a series of posts made up of a course in school on sustainability and biomimicry. My class was divided into groups and each group was given an animal to design for. My group got the earthworm. Our assignment was to figure out what the earthworms need and how to give it to them. We studied the earthworms from both a macro and micro perspective to understand what role they have in our ecosystem and how they function in themselves.

Initially, we came up with design ideas using earthworms for human beings’ benefit. Then we iterated but still made the design proposals that were for the human beings’ sake even though these designs somewhat protected the earthworms from harm, inflicted on them by the human. Then we reiterated and came up with Seed Globes on Rope.

As we decided to work with farmers we studied the habits of farmers and what their different tasks do to the earth, where the earthworms live and preferably undisturbed. We finally found the community of no-till farmers who dig into the soil as little as possible. We decided to reduce their digging even further and created the Seed Globes on Rope.

Initial sketches and thoughts on Seed Globes on Rope.

These are balls of soil and natural matter such as old coffee grounds and inside are seeds. They are attached to a rope so that you do not have to think about spacing your seeds but instead simply stretch the rope across your mulch bed and lay it down and water in order to activate the seed inside.

Bio based plastic

To understand what materials we needed to create sturdy Seed Globes we started out by making a variety of bio-based plastic. The version shown below is made out of carrageenan, which is an algae. I also added old coffee grounds to the mix.

Preparing. Carrageenan iota, glycerol, disinfection, leftover coffee grounds dried, a sterilized jar, food scale, and the recipe written down. 🙂
Carrageenan iota mixed with water and left in the fridge overnight.
25 grams of coffee grounds to the left and 50 grams of coffee grounds to the right. The different dimensions make the bio-based plastic hard and pliable or hard and brittle.

Seed balls

We left the bio-based plastic behind as we realized the Seed Globes pretty much only need soil and water to keep together. Below I have documented when I try out different recipes of Seed Globes using water, soil, ash from our own fireplace where we have made fires from the trees in our garden, local newspaper and cornstartch. 🙂

Setting up my baking station.
Mixed flower seeds.
Making ash, soil and seed balls with thread.
The first two rows are done.
Recipe overview.
Recipe overview.
Newspapers blended with water and cornstartch.
I really got the hang of it. 🙂
After hours in the oven and the in the sun, they finally dried.
Stretching out the rope to get the spacing.
AND SUCCESS!

I have never been this happy to see a seed sprout!

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