Special Seed Winnowing Bucket

On my last post, Xander commented on the bucket I was using to winnow radish seed. The bucket in question in one of the 2011 additions to my seed cleaning arsenal. Here a few shots of this bucket in action:

Restricting seed and chaff flow rate

I use this modified bucket to restrict the amount of material falling at once and pour a steady stream of material in front of the winnowing fans.

I used an old wooden field marker as the bar and fixed it in place with duct tape. This works better on a bucket with straight sides.

Usually the material flows easily through the gap. Sometimes the chaff gets stuck and blocks the flow.

Increasing flow rate

I use a finger to dislodge any stuck material.

Decreasing flow rate

If on the other hand material is going through too quickly, I use my hand to hold some of the chaff back. I might also do this if the chaff threatens to pour over the bar instead of under!

Anybody have any equally handy high-tech seed cleaning equipment?

Also, happy new year!

4 thoughts on “Special Seed Winnowing Bucket

  1. Hi Dan,

    Glad to see you are still posting. I just did some Black Spanish Radish seeds myself recently. I want to ask you a couple of questions if I may…
    1. About three posts ago you said this
    “And in the next couple of posts I’ll demonstrate these principles for two crops that used to really give me a headache: radishes and lettuce.”
    Well, lettuce still does give me headaches!
    I’ve been waiting expectantly for a post on how you do lettuce seeds. I find them the darndest little things to extract and process in an efficient and timely way. I never seem to get around to it until way after harvest time, and by then I am invariably doing them in my wood heated shop. Problem is, wood heat dries the air markedly and also creates what I call “static stickiness” wherein static cling trumps air flow from a fan or whatever and the seeds just want to stick to everything, especially plastic. Same thing happens with planer shavings in my planer in winter under these conditions.
    2. Do you use purpose-purchased, graded seed screens for lettuce, such as is carried by “Seed Buro” with what they call “test screens”? Or do you just improvise with whatever you can dredge up that fits the task?


    1. Hi Brian,

      I actually just chose the photos for my lettuce post. It should be published in the next day or two.

      I won’t be specifically addressing static stickiness as I don’t tend to have that problem. Is the fluff more likely to stick than the seeds? What percentage of the seeds stick?


  2. Thanks Dan,
    I’m not specifically concerned about any remedies regarding my static cling issue, which is particular to how and when I process my lettuce seeds. I ought to add that since I don’t always have the time available that I would like during the harvest window, I will often cut the mature (or mostly mature) flower clusters off the top of plants that look ready, even if it means losing some seed. I put these to dry in an airy shed in cloth sacks that admit airflow, and periodically agitate them to ensure adequate and even drying. If I don’t get the seed extraction done in a timely way (say by Halloween), they go into my shop until opportunity allows me to get to them.
    I might add that there is not a lot of information “out there” on lettuce seed processing at a small scale – e.g. Ashworth’s book, Jeff McCormack’s manuals, Organic Seed Alliance etc. (Although they contain lots of other pertinent information).
    Looking forward to your post

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