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Old 09-19-2012, 03:45 PM
Skunkape's Avatar
Skunkape Skunkape is offline
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: MN
Posts: 119
Default Seed cleaning on a budget

I'm curious what tools and/or techniques guys have used to clean self harvested seeds. I'm most interested in seed of prairie species but this info should pertain to all seeds.

There are so many different sizes and types of seeds that one technique does not work on all species but these are some of the things that I have found to work on certain species.

A coffee grinder or blender to break open pods and release seeds. I have found this to work well on the prarie clovers, lead plant, and several other species. You have to be careful to not pulse too long or you'll end up with something resembling black pepper instead of whole seeds.

Different size screens to separate seed from inert material. The ladies in the thrift shop must think I'm quite the chef with all the collanders and sieves I have purchased throughout the years. It always seems that the array of screens I have just aren't quite the right size for a particular job. I'm sure every size imaginable is available and I'll eventually have them all.

I've used fans, the wind, and even shop vacs to separate seed from the lightest of chaff and trash.

I'd love to find a good technique to debeard and clean large quantities of NWSG without the use of the machines the pros use. Another problem I'm having is finding a way to remove the pappus or "parachute" from several types of seeds.
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Old 09-19-2012, 04:27 PM
CrazyED's Avatar
CrazyED CrazyED is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Beach Sands of South Central, WI - Zone 4B
Posts: 4,584

My father has made probably 10's if not over a 100 different custom screening boxes. he made me a dozen or so smaller ones for me last summer, here's a few. Like you said every species is different and thats why there is a need to have lots of different size screens to accommodate these species. We also have this interesting hammer mill contraption that we found at a farm sale probably 10-15 years ago. That works great for putting milkweed pods in and busting them open. However, you can do just as well manually with a few nice Rubbermaid Tupperware bins and some old window screens.

As for the grasses and removing the fluff. If you are planting a lot and want to use a seeder sometimes it's just easy to buy professionally cleaned seed. Or just deal with the fluff. Those ones are the trickiest.

Wildflower seed on the sand and wind. may the four winds blow you home again.

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