Piffing for Australia

By Lisette Mill, Landcare Facilitator and Agvocate, Sw Victoria
Updated January 18 2022 - 11:39pm, first published 4:00am
RECIPE FOR SUCCESS: Lisette Mill has formulated a plan to boost native plant production.

A piff is a throw, or a toss, and for 2022 I would like you to learn a new way to "piff for Australia".

Piffing for Australia is how you can add native plants into places where its hard to get them planted and established, such as within the dense roots of existing native trees.

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It is also a way of getting native seeds into places where there are none, such as where a hot fire has been through.

Having more local and native plants in the ground means more greenhouse gasses are absorbed and more habitat for native species is created.

This is a win-win for Australia.

To piff for Australia, you will need the recipe outlined below.

If you do not know what local native plants are appropriate - definitely not weedy invasive species - then contact your local Landcare group, Council, native seed merchant or Natural Resource Management organisation for advice.

The piffing for Australia recipe makes about 30 "piff balls" and you can use this ratio to make bigger volumes as well.

Use two cups of dry, granulated/powdered bentonite clay, one cup of potting mix or sterile compost and two teaspoons of native seeds. The seeds do not need to be pre-treated.

Start with half a cup of water and add more to get to the desired texture.

It is better to use less and then add more if needed.

In a large bowl, mix the ingredients until well blended and then add the water slowly while mixing with a spoon or your hand.

Go slowly and keep testing the mixture with your hand until a grape-sized ball of it will hold its shape.

It will be like a gritty rum ball.

Once it holds a shape, stop adding water.

Take teaspoon-full amounts of the piff mix and shape it into balls.

Set these separately in a single layer on a piece of newspaper in a sunny sheltered spot to dry as quickly as possible.

When they are rock hard, piff them where you want that seed to grow.

When good rain falls, it dissolves the Piff ball and releases the seed to grow.

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Nature will decide its fate.

Being in a piff ball means the seeds are more protected from ants, weevils, rodents and birds.

So, these are more likely to survive until decent rain activates the ball.

Bentonite is a natural clay and the cheapest way to buy it is from your local farm supply store - by the sack.

Store it in a dry container away from moisture and it never degrades.

Happy piffing.

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Piff balls also make great gifts.

If you make these with different seeds, just clearly label each batch because they all look the same.

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