Mentee Blog #3 – Rachel Voth
Hello from Vancouver Island! I learned a lot of new things this season and I’m very thankful to ALM farm for mentoring me. It’s wonderful to know I have folks nearby who want to share what they know. Throughout the season I was able to visit ALM farm and see various plants that were in production for seed. I learned how records are kept, helped gather bean plants for drying, saw how the healthiest plants around the farm were selected for seed saving, and was introduced to methods for gathering and cleaning seed. From my own garden I saved sunflower seeds, coriander, dill, peas, bok choy, bush cucumber, and several varieties of tomato. Not all the seeds I gathered have been cleaned. Like others, I found myself procrastinating this part of the process. I am currently hunting for fine mesh sieves at local thrift shops for this project!
In the fall, I went for a visit to ALM farm to see their new machine that helps them clean seed. A magnet draws the seed with chaff towards a pvc pipe that is attached to a vacuum on one end. The vacuum draws the dust and chaff, which is lighter than the seed, up into the pipe and the seed which is heavier falls down into a bin. This was very useful for cleaning lettuce seed, which are very small and tend to gather a lot of dirt and dust.
This isn’t the best photo, but it’s what I have. The clear tray with the magnet underneath (at the far left of the machine) is where you insert the uncleaned seeds.
These beautiful, drying plants pictured above are leek seed heads. I’m intrigued by plants that take two years before the seeds can be collected. So much loving care goes in to them!
I’m ever so thankful to my mentors and this program which has given me the opportunity to learn more about the world of seed saving. Happy seed saving, everyone!