A couple of seasons ago I built a seed winnower from a design published at Real Seeds U.K. . It took a bit of work to get it right, and I never got mine to work very well with lettuce seed. Additionally, it took up a fair bit of room, and to set it up I had to dig out the household vacuum cleaner, and string a power cord outside.
Looking around the ‘net a week ago, I came across some seed cleaner machines built by canary fanciers, to clean husks from seed – I think because birds tend to eat seed and leave the husks, meaning a lot of good seed gets thrown out with the husks. Google them on youtube if you want to see.
I had a bit of a think, played with the design and came up with a slightly modified one that is useful for the small batch seed cleaning I need.
Advantages of this one over the larger Real Seed one is that it’s much smaller, and lighter making it much easier to set up, and therefore much more likely for me to bother using it. It has a variable speed, which is handy for different seed types, and it runs off a small 12 volt battery, so i can set it up almost anywhere.
So, here is a short video showing the design. Hope you like it.
Portable 12 volt seed winnower on YouTube
Why another vegetable seed seller?
There are lots of good seed merchants selling a huge range of varieties. But most of these are ‘standard’ varieties, old (and sometimes tired) heirlooms, or modern hybrids designed for commercial growers, repackaged for the domestic market. Some sellers just re-label varieties to make them sound more interesting or to make the buyer think they are getting something new or different. This includes some large ‘Seed Club’ businesses in Australia.
We love heirlooms, but like to think that there is more to be discovered amongst the delightful diversity that nature has to offer. There are purple podded soup peas, but why not a purple snow pea? Why should parsnips only be available to growers with super-deep soils? What about a short fat parsnip for the rest of us? Why do baby carrots only come in orange, when there is a whole rainbow of colours available?
In addition to our favourite heirlooms that either aren’t available elsewhere or have very limited availability, we want to offer genuinely new varieties, developed for home growers. We also intentionally ‘mix up’ varieties through intentional crosses, so gardeners can select new varieties that suit their purposes from the resulting hybrid swarms.
There are some great seed preservers and people doing interesting things with edibles – unfortunately, many of them are working in countries where Australia’s necessarily strict import restrictions either ban importation, or impose conditions that are too expensive or onerous for small scale seed importation. We seek inspiration from breeders like Joseph Lofthouse, Carol Deppe, Frank Morton, The Dwarf Tomato Project & Rebbsie Fairholm, and shamelessly borrow their ideas.
There are also lots of very interesting varieties of vegetables that have very limited distribution, or are only grown by a few gardeners with limited sharing circles. We hope to make some of these varieties more widely available.
New Vegetable Varieties, Rare Favourites, Breeders’ Mixes, Intentional Crosses, Hybrid Swarms from Bendigo, Australia