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8 messages
14/12/2012 at 21:41

I'm spending quite a bit of time cleaning seeds for sowing next year. I've been using the two recommended methods of sieving and winnowing. I've also been using static electricity to separate the chaff. I use a large plastic soup or yogurt pot. You have to rub the top of the pot inside in a circular motion an inch or two above the seed until you get enough static for the chaff to stick to it when you lightly agitate the pot. It helps to hold the pot right near the bottom with one hand because if you touch the top on the outside it disperses the charge. Once you've got the charge going, a continuous stream of chaff lifts each time you stroke the last lot away (upward and over the side). You don't want too much of a static field or it will lift fine (like lavender) or fibrous seeds too, so give it a rest every so often - also, I have even had seeds fly clean out of the pot if I get too enthusiastic! It helps to have either a cat sitting on your lap, a nylon fiber carpet or a computer screen nearby, but you don't have to have these in order to sucseed (excuse pun).

14/12/2012 at 21:50

That's clever. I usually collect in a margerine pot, blow, lose some seed and get a face full.

14/12/2012 at 23:06

Yes, yes that sounds very familiar. Mallow is worst since it's so powdery, like pepper-dust!

14/12/2012 at 23:39

Beats putting the seed in a paper bag and shaking it (closed of course) then putting it all on a flat board and gently wafting your hand over it to shift the chaff.
Us old lads learn something new every day.
Hang on while I shake the chaff out of my keyboard.

Frank.

15/12/2012 at 00:25

There is definately somthing to be said in favour of more traditional methods. You're too right about the chaff in the keyboard, and stuck in the roller of the mouse!

16/12/2012 at 10:20

Dinah, I did not set out to upset your and no matter how old we are, in gardening there is always something new.
Re-inventing the wheel is not always the best way forward, at times the old ways which are possibly harder work are the best.
We all tend to collect more seed than we need so some loss as we separate seed from chaff will not matter, whilst it is on the board spread out you can pick the plumper seeds out, they seem to germinate best.
Keep looking for better ways, some day you may hit the jackpot.

Frank.

16/12/2012 at 10:23

thanks thats a good Idea,cuts alot of effoert out!

16/12/2012 at 15:40

No, no Frank I wasn't upset! The emoticon I put at the end isn't the best one I have ever used. It's supposed to indicate "surprise", in my case the surpirse was, as you so rightly predicted, I really did find chaff in both my keyboard and mouse. I think we have just unearthed one of the drawbacks of combining gardening with computers. If there was an emoticon on offer to depict laughing I would have to use it now. Dinah.

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