Saving Rainbow Chard Seeds

Saving seeds can be as easy as beating a bag with a stick.

Seed Saving 5

Next I put some stems into a burlap bag and tried beating the bag with a piece of bamboo.

Well, almost.

That’s one of the methods I used to save a huge quantity of Rainbow Chard seeds (you need a lot to get the rainbow mix in future plantings!).

Last month, one of my Urban Farm Handbook challenges was to save seeds. Since the chard was ready, I decided to snap some pictures and do a little test on different methods.

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The result of the burlap method: more seeds, but still some stems.

Here’s what I found:

  • I tested two winnowing (releasing seeds from their stems) methods using a large Kraft paper bag and a burlap bag. Burlap wins hands down.

    Seed Saving 1

    I cut down the chard stalks when dry, then decided to try two methods to winnow them, using a big Kraft paper bag or a burlap bag.

  • To remove the rest of the small stems, I tested doing it by hand and with a screen. The screen worked much better.
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The final step to remove the rest of the stems came when i got out my screen, a pieced of quarter-inch hardware cloth stretched across a wood frame.

Now that the seeds are free of their stems, I will spread them out on a large tray for a couple more weeks to continue drying. They had gotten pretty dry on the stems when I pulled up the plants. Then I let them continue to dry on the stems until they were a light brown. But I want them to harden a bit more before I put them in jars to store for the winter.



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