Tag Archives: Seed-cleaning tools and equipment

The Real Seed Catalogue DIY Seed Cleaner

Here is a video that Ben Gable from the Real Seed Company sent me of their DIY seed cleaner:

Open-Source, DIY Seed Cleaner Plans are also available on their site

If you want to see more DIY seed cleaning equipment, you can view two of my previous post that include the air columns that Patrice Fortier and Greta Kryger built.

Do any of you have homemade seed cleaning equipment you’d love to share with other seed growers?


Also, tomorrow (March 23) there is a free webinar on Breeding for Nutrition in Organic Seed Systems at 2 p.m. Eastern. However you have to register in advance.

Visiting Greta’s Organic Gardens

This post is a little late coming …

On August 25th, 2010, the Eastern Canadian Organic Seed Growers Network (ECOSGN) hosted a field trip to Greta’s Organic Gardens in Ottawa, Ontario. The visit was broken up into

  • A little about Greta,
  • A field walk,
  • A tomato taste test,
  • A peek inside Greta’s seed workshop, and
  • A seed cleaning demonstration.

A Little Bit About Greta

Greta Kryger is a staple at most Seedy Saturdays and Sundays across Quebec and Ontario. Her seeds are also available through her on-line seed catalogue. Greta grows all her own tomato, pepper, eggplant, and melon seed in addition to as many other species as she can fit in to her gardens.

Greta’s Organic Gardens began as a market garden in 1991. She began saving seeds and  selling at the Ottawa and Toronto Seedy Saturdays in 1992-1993. In the late nineties, she switched from market gardening to 100% seed production. Her production has been certified organic since 2003.

Greta has also been on the ECOSGN steering committee since its first meeting in March 2008.

Field Walk

The morning began with a walk across Greta’s fields.

A few cucurbit species on black geotextile (for weed control).

Tomatoes.

Some of Greta’s seed crops are also grown in tunnels. This adds heat and isolates plants from  other pollen sources.

These guys make good use of any seed cleaning byproducts (i.e squash and tomato pulp).

Tomato Taste Test

Greta is known for her huge selection of tomatoes. With a couple of volunteers, Greta set up 30 or so sampling stations of different tomatoes.

Tasters rated each tomato from 1 to 5 on different aspects such as taste and  appearance.

A Peek Into Greta’s Seed Workshop/Greenhouse

This greenhouse is Greta’s seed wonderland with an aquatic garden and heat loving plants.

The controlled climate let’s Greta collect seed from many plants that might not set much seed in our climate.

In one corner of the greenhouse, tomatoes are fermenting.

Tomato seeds are placed on screens (these are actually pepper seeds.)

Then stacked to dry.

Greta also brings seed crops into the greenhouse to dry out of the rain.

Some seed crops are hung in pillow cases to dry.

Seed Cleaning Demonstration

Greta uses a set of seed screens (also notice the colander collection in the upper left corner) to remove most of the chaff from her seeds. The final cleaning of most crops is done with this air column:

Dirty seeds go in the top right pipe. Lighter material (dirt, dust, chaff) is blown out the top of the long pipe. Heavier material (seeds and maybe stones) are collected from the bottom of the pipe.

The air column is powered by a bathroom fan with a dimmer switch.

(Compare this with Patrice Fortier’s air column.)


Thanks Greta for a great farm tour and a great farm lunch – the turkey meat balls were especially good!

ECOSGN is currently planning more great seedy events – more details soon …

Special Seed Winnowing Bucket

On my last post, Xander commented on the bucket I was using to winnow radish seed. The bucket in question in one of the 2011 additions  to my seed cleaning arsenal. Here a few shots of this bucket in action:

Restricting seed and chaff flow rate

I use this modified bucket to restrict the amount of material falling at once and pour a steady stream of material in front of the winnowing fans.

I used an old wooden field marker as the bar and fixed it in place with duct tape. This works better on a bucket with straight sides.

Usually the material flows easily through the gap. Sometimes the chaff gets stuck and blocks the flow.

Increasing flow rate

I use a finger to dislodge any stuck material.

Decreasing flow rate

If on the other hand material is going through too quickly, I use my hand to hold some of the chaff back. I might also do this if the chaff threatens to pour over the bar instead of under!


Anybody have any equally handy high-tech seed cleaning equipment?

Also, happy new year!