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Separating seeds from chaff

Do people have any tips besides what is commonly stated (e.g. winnowing, blowing the chaff away). What is your standard technique?

For now my standard technique is to put everything on an old wooden kitchen cutting board, slope it gently, and let the seeds roll down. The finer chaff tends to be slower and stick to the board, and the larger chaff is easy to separate by hand from the seeds. I repeat this four or five times. For certain seeds however this is not sufficient, and I wonder if you have good suggestions. I haven't used the method of blowing away the chaff yet -- it just occurs to me though that I could put everything in a fine sieve, tilt it, and blow through it; this should cause some separation.

Posts

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,160
    I don't worry too much about a bit of chaff, it doesn't seem to make much difference to sowing  or storage as long as it's dry
  • Fishy65Fishy65 Posts: 2,267
    Hi nut  :) I'd agree with nut, if the chaff is dry it won't impact on seed storage. If it were damp it would be a different matter.
  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,160
    Hi Fishy :) 
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 18,432
    If I’m offering seeds on the Seed swap thread I put them through a tea strainer, if they are large seeds just gently blow.

    @Fishy65 I’ve got some seeds ready to go for you. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Fishy65Fishy65 Posts: 2,267
    Oh you do Lyn? I had no idea  :o
  • AsarumAsarum East AngliaPosts: 529
    edited August 2019
    I've cleaned more seed than i've had hot dinners!  I have always done it by blowing (winnowing) but they were usually fairly large heavy seeds. Put the seed in something shallow like a saucer or plate, and blow, swirl and tilt. Blow gently for small seeds and harder for large ones, obvious really. To be on the safe side I do smaller ones over a tray as well just in case.   You can purchase sets of different grade sieves which the professionals use.
    East Anglia
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 18,432
    Fishy65 said:
    Oh you do Lyn? I had no idea  :o
    No, of course you didn’t dear, and guess what’s  also in there, you’ll have a forest in no time😀
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 18,432
    @Asarum, of course you have, when you think of just one poppy head yielding over a thousand seeds x all the foxgloves which are similar, that’s a hell of a lot of dinners in a lifetime. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • micearguersmicearguers CambridgePosts: 574
    Thanks everyone, it all makes sense, including not sweating it too much. The question popped up when I was collecting allium seeds and delphinium (requienii) seeds, both have a fair amount of chaff. Those professional sieves look great, but they seem to cost an arm, a leg, and a torso! @asarum sounds like I should follow your example.

    Incidentally, nothing like the joy of turning the poppy seed shakers upside-down and seeing the pristine seeds roll out. Then probably best to sow only 10 out of the thousands of seeds.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 18,432
    Those delphinium seeds are big, so a gentle blow will work.  Don’t try blowing foxglove seeds however gentle😀
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

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