Tools of our Trade: Seed Saving
Let's start with what you don't need to save seeds. You don't need a fancy set of screens to save seeds and you don't need expensive machinery. So what do you need? First, and most importantly in my mind, you need creativity. Each year during seed saving season we pioneer new techniques and find new 'tools' to make processing seeds more efficient. Included in our seed saving tool kit are the following: baby swimming pool, window screens, fans, wheelbarrow, bucket, shovels (the blade on one of our shovels is actually broken- it is great for chopping up tomatoes in buckets!), colanders, random found screens, hose, bins, sheets and water.
Hands down our favorite new technique this year involves the baby swimming pool! Thanks to Maisie, the newest member of our family, we just so happened to have a baby swimming pool laying around:) It works really well for cleaning grains. We put a large screen/grate in the bottom of the pool then add wheat, barley or quinoa. Using your feet grind the stalks into the grate freeing the seed. It works like a wonder!
Then using a fan, winnow! Winnowing is the process of removing the chaff from the seed. Most of the time the seed is heavy enough to fall into the bin while the chaff will fly away when fanned. Either fan as I am below, or pour your seed from one bin into another while fanning.
Kalan winnowing wheat!