Friday, January 22, 2016

twenty second - saving seeds

Our part of this little story began last autumn, in April or maybe May, just before we left for our Europe trip. It began with a crazy seed planting frenzy that went from delicate rows of carrots, beetroots and kale all the way through to paddocks of green manure. We were optimistic that while we were away seeing the world, our little farm would be hard at work growing food for us and our soil.

Some of the seed took and grew well, some didn't move at all in the wintery months we were gone.

The patch of kale we planted germinated, grew big leafy leaves and then went to seed a few months ago. The bees in particular loved that patch of yellow kale while it flowered. You could hear them buzzing from the other side of the poly tunnel long before you could actually see them.

And after the flowers died down, we waited a few months more for the seeds to form and dry out.

A few days ago, many months after we'd eaten the last kale leaf, we finally cut that golden dry row off at the base of their stems.

Then we threshed it by banging the stalks against the side of a bin to release the seed from their pods.

The came the wind winnowing.

According to wikipedia - Wind winnowing is an agricultural method developed by ancient cultures for separating grain from chaff. It is also used to remove weevils or other pests from stored grain. 

The heavy seeds fell straight down into the pot whereas the lighter pods blew further away onto the ground.

Our method was less than perfect and I'm sure we lost a lot of seed in the process but we did collect more than enough and we had a lot of fun at the same time.

 Ta-daaaaaa!!!!! A jar-ful of never fail kale.

But don't think this story is over just yet, in early February we'll sprinkle these very seeds down a row or two of soil, we'll cover them up, water them in, feed them, irrigate them and weed them and wait to eat them.

And then collect their seeds.

What a wonderful thing.

Happy weekend friends, I hope yours is sunshiny and delicious.

Love Kate 


  1. Beautiful as usual. It must have been lovely to come back from your holidays to see what had grown and changed while you were gone.
    My kale has never flowered, I wonder why?

    Have a gorgeous weekend,
    Sarah x

  2. I am in awe of the way you guys live & work on your land. It's so inspiring.

  3. Gosh, that is an awesome idea!!!

  4. I love the summery pictures here. I'm really enjoying reading your blog every day this month.

  5. Thank you for showing how you save your seeds. I've done this before with easy plants like beans, zinnias and marigolds. Once I saves some poppy seeds, but those didn't grow back. Beautiful pictures as always.

  6. This was so interesting! I never thought about using a fan for winnowing seeds. I love reading about the circle of life on your farm. What a wonderful thing to be teaching your children.
    Blessings, Betsy

  7. That was great and you labelled them too. I have a lot of envelopes of mystery seeds! Jo x

  8. Cycle of life x Our rocket self seeds all over the place in our garden! We are happy to let it. Then each year it's like "Where will they beeee...? Is that? No that's weeds... is that...? Over here? Noooo... wait, - SUPRISE SALAD PATCH!" XD

  9. this is so great, you're all very clever x

  10. We save our seeds too and it is so lovely to have something that is easy to share and swap with other gardeners. I had never heard of winnowing before - I've thrown the whole lot (not necessarily kale) into a paper bag, shaken it up and then used a sieve to separate the bits but there is always a percentage for which it doesn't work. I've had no problems with insects or rotting in storage etc. because Imake sure that the seeds and pods are thoroughly dried out.
    You said your winnowing method was less than perfect - what would you do differently next time?
    Good luck with this year's crops.


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Kate XX

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