Tom's Blog

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Seed cleaning has begun

We have been collecting seed since the 4th of July, but now the pace is getting intense. This year we have moved our seed cleaning operations from Madison to the barn at Pleasant Valley Conservancy. We have lots more room here, and we avoid getting dust and insects all over our house.

Our seed cleaning equipment is all hand-driven, but is really quite sophisticated. Kathie picked up a set of screens several years ago and our friend William made a great set of screens for us. The wooden frame fits precisely into a Rubbermade storage bin, and it is quick work to pass the dried and hammer-milled material through a screen. Each seed has its own size, so the ten screen sizes we have all come in handy.

We don't need highly cleaned seeds of the type that can be purchased commercially, so our goal in cleaning is to get rid of as much extraneous material as can be easily removed. If we can get 90% clean seed that is great.

By the end of the seed collecting season we should have well over 100 species, some in pound lots. By Christmas or earlier, most of these seeds should be back on the ground.


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