Cleaning seed at Chrysalis

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Here is Marissa demonstrating the method to clean seed using two bins, unprocessed seed, a tarp, and the wind.   In the picture above, we had already harvested the amaranth plants by cutting the plants at the base of the stem and placing them upside down in a paper bag to allow them to dry.  After the plants were completely dry, we then stripped the stems of all plant material into a bin.  We then relocated the plant material into a cloth bag and stomped on it to pulverize the plant material within the bag and release the seeds.  We then use the bins and the tarp as pictured above to drop the plant material from bin to bin while the wind blows away the plant material.  We put a tarp just in case we mess up and have to salvage seed.  We also put a tarp to collect all the chaff which is carbon and is really nice to put in the compost pile or better yet, in the chicken coop.  We go from bin to bin several times until the seed is clean.20131030-114909.jpgHere you can see the seeds amaranth seeds in the hand and the chaff in the bin below.  We also use the screen at right to help sift through the plant material and eliminate all the big stems and leaves from the batch.  The amaranth seeds are really small and are a bit challenging to clean.  With practice, the process goes smoothly…

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Here are some beans we grew at the Mondragon Field that include a dryland Anasazi bean, a black bean, and a runner bean that resembles a big pinto bean.  These beans were grown for seed, we are hoping to increase our production of all of these beans, especially the Anasazi beans, next season…

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About Miguel

Miguel Santistevan is a researcher, educator, and advocate for traditional agriculture crops and systems.
This entry was posted in Acequia Culture, AIRE, Chrysalis Alternative High School. Bookmark the permalink.

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