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Wet seed processing and saving

Growing for Market

Growing for Market

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In the April 2020 issue, Brett Grohsgal’s article “Breeding crops for resilience to a changing climate” and Fred Hempel’s “Breeding tomatoes on a farm: practical selection advice,” encouraged us to select varieties for certain traits or to breed our own varieties. Fred Hempel’s “On-farm tomato breeding: making crosses and managing projects” in May 2020 took the skills up a notch. In March 2009, I wrote, “An introduction to growing seed for yourself or for sale,” for small-scale growers venturing into seed growing. Now, I am tackling the question of how to extract, process and conserve seeds from your selected seed crop until sale or planting.

My experience is as a vegetable grower, growing a few seed crops alongside vegetable production. In this first article, I will focus on wet-seed processing and demystify fermentation and drying. A future article will address dry-seed crops (which develop in pods, husks or ears, and dry on the plant) and vegetatively reproducing crops (clones like garlic).

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