Heirloom Seed Cleaning | How to Clean Heirloom Seeds for Storage


Why Clean Your Seeds?
As your seedling emerges from the soil, most growers breath a big sigh of relief. Close your eyes and you can almost see the plant grow and flourish into it's full beauty, producing an enviable profusion of flowers or vegetables. As you open your eyes, you will immediately begin a new set of worries, over-nurturing the newborn indoors for a short time while the outdoor weather catches up with your dreams.

Tips For Seed Cleaning

Seed Cleaning Corn

Dry Seed Processing
Seeds that arise in pods or husks are often dried as they mature in the late summer sun, and require minimal processing to prepare the seeds for storage. Once seeds are collected, dry processing often consists of little more than threshing and winnowing to separate seed from extraneous debris.

Threshing is the breaking up of seed pods or similar outer protective coats that surround the seeds. This is accomplished through the application of mild pressure that breaks up such outer covering, typically accomplised with a mallet, rolling pin or similar blunt object. When threshing, do not apply excessive force or pressure which could damage your seeds. Threshing is followed by winnowing, the use of wind to separate heavier seeds from the lighter remnants of the seed coat or pod.

Seeds from members of the Fabaceae (bean and pea) and Umbellifereae (celery, carrot and parsnip) families all are require minimal dry seed processing and are ideal choices for the novice seed saver.

Saving Tomato Seeds

Wet Seed Processing
Wet seed processing requires additional care and is generally not recommended for the beginning seed collector. Seeds that require such care are often surrounded by plump, fruity matter which serves several purposes for the fruit. First, such plants attract pollinators which will consume the fruit and pass through seeds through their digestive processes and pass the seeds along. If the fruit is not consumed, this juicy matter protects the seed as it rots and undergoes a fermentation which tempers the seeds and generates bacteria and other microorganisms that will deter pathogens that can cause damage to seeds and result in lower germination rates or weaker progeny.


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