Seed processing, storage, packing app: easily manage unlimited silos, know exact amount of seeds & their origin: full sorting, husking, grading, packing, and quality control for seed packing and processing. Manage seed orders & seed exports, audits, and recalls.

The app manages your seed, oilseed, cereal inventory traceability, orders, seed storage, seed sales, wholesale and export. Full business management solution for grain, seed, and cereal handling.

Organic and conventional. Generates paperwork for CGC and other government requirements; saves your time.

Software app for Food Service Fresh Produce packing : grading, sorting, and processing. Includes export, wholesale, and full packing management app. Built around traceability & recalls: bar-code inventory, B2B Customer Portal, Shop front, FARM MANAGEMENT OPTION and more... Farmsoft provides complete management for onion packing, broccoli packing, citrus packing, pepper packing, tomato packing, avocado packing, potato packing. Salad packing, Loose leaf lettuce and other fresh produce such as spinach, rucola, chicory, watercress. Cucumber packing. Citrus packing app for lemon, orange, mandarin, tangerine, clementine. Asparagus packing. Onion inventory & storage. Potato inventory storage app. Potato traceability app for better packing & logistics. Onion traceability management. Carrot packing app for traceability & inventory control. Bean packing solution. Mango packing app for traceability. Leafy greens packing, processing, washing, mixing leafy greens salads packing. Seafood packing app for packers and processors of fresh and IQF seafood: full seafood inventory, traceability, seafood quality control, orders, sales, seafood shipping import/export. Fresh cut packing app manages entire fresh cut fruit & vegetable processing, washing, sorting, cutting, chopping, and packing. Full inventory, traceability, and sales & shipping management. Food Service Fresh Produce Processing and packing app manages entire fresh cut, value add, fries & chips, coleslaw and salad mixing process for food service businesses. Coleslaw manufacturing & packing app: manages full coleslaw mixing and packing process: program coleslaw recipes, reduce fresh produce waste, and manages production & sales.  Wash, treat, sort grade and pack bananas for export/import.  App for orange sorting, process, pack or bottle, value add (orange juice manufacture), and full orange sales, inventory, QC, orange export management.  Lemon packing app manages incoming lemons, wash, sort, grade, and packing of lemons: full QC, inventory, pack to order, sales, shipping & export.   Lime packing software app for processors and packers of lime. Manage entire lime pack-house, lime storage, sales & shipping, lime QC, lime export.   Grape packing app for packing table grapes, domestic & export: Manage grape grading, washing, packing & labeling, sales & orders, shipping & export. Complete grape packing solution for grape traceability, audits, and recall. Seed processing, storage, packing app: easily manage unlimited silos, know exact amount of seeds & their origin: full sorting, husking, grading, packing, and quality control for seed packing and processing. Manage seed orders & seed exports, audits, and recalls.


Manage incoming Seed packing inventory & storage inventory, capture supplier details, traceability and costs (optionally capture on PO in advance), create inventory & pallet labels, record storage location of inventory.  Automatic inventory audit trail and tracking.  Unlimited inventory items. Bar-code inventory management.


Perform stock-takes any time by category or storage location.  Know how much Seed inventory you have in real time, even search by storage location.  Report by product line and storage location, or product category. 

SEED FARM Management

Full farm record keeping, activity management, best practices, budgeting, time-sheets, machinery costs, inventory, cherry farm traceability, PHI/WHP management, and more... 

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Print pick sheet to pick Seafood inventory & storage orders manually, or scan inventory / pallets onto orders, or auto select inventory,  or rapidly sell without an order.  Track paid, and unpaid invoices.  Attach documents to invoices / photos of outgoing shipments.

Traceability & recalls

Instant mock recalls both up and down the supply chain using keys based on supplier lot/batch, supplier name, delivery date, invoice #, inventory #, pallet #, customer reference, order # and more...  Reduces fresh produce food safety compliance costs and makes audits easy. Optional fresh produce blockchain by CHAIN-TRACE.COM

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Choose from a gallery of invoices, bill of lading, freight notes, and industry standard fresh produce labels including Walmart, Tesco, Aldi, Coles, Pick 'n Save, Woolworths and more...

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Record all batch inputs such as fruit & vegetables, packaging materials, and other raw materials.  Batch costs automatically tracked.  Batch recalls automatically track suppliers & traceability.


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Perform QC tests for incoming pepper inventory, packed, pre-shipping. Configure QC tests for ANYTHING you want to test, supplier quality control tracking.  Attach unlimited photos & documents to QC tests from your cell or tablet.  

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Manage prices that will be used when a customer order is recorded.  Set up price lists for specials, specific products & customers or promotions.  


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We start with your vision to develop the perfect seed processing solution for your success. Cimbria can integrate the entire operation from intake, to cleaning, grading, sorting, treatment and packaging. The result – peak performance and reliable operation.


The process of removal of dockage in a seed lot and preparation of seed for marketing is called seed processing. The price and quality of seed is inversely related to dockage, which should not exceed a maximum level permitted for different crops for seed certification.
Due to the operation of processing the level of heterogeneity of seed lot gets narrowed down.
The heterogeneity occurs in a seed lot due to following reasons:

Variability in soil for fertility, physical, chemical and biological properties
Variability in management practices (irrigation, application of nutrients etc.)
Variability in ability of the seedling for utilizing the inputs
Variability in pest and disease infestation
Position of pod or fruit in a plant or the position of seed in a pod.
Principle of seed processing: the processing operation carried out based on the principle of physical differences found in a seed lot.

Physical difference
Suitable machineries
Seed size – varied from small to bold Air screen cleaner cum grader
Density- ill filled, immature to well Matured light weight to dense seed Specific gravity separator
Shape – round to oval and different shapes Spiral separator
Surface texture – smooth to wrinkled and rough Roll mill / dodder mill
Colour of the seed – light color to dark colors Electronic color shorter
Conductivity of seed – low to high Electronic separator
Requirement in seed processing

There should be complete separation
There should be minimum seed loss
Upgrading should be possible for any particular quality
There should be have more efficiency
It should have only minimum requirement
Types of materials removed during seed processing

Inert materials
Common weed seeds
Noxious weed seeds
Deteriorated seeds
Damaged seeds
Other crop seeds
Other variety seeds
Off-size seeds
Sequence of operation in seed processing

Sequence of operations are based on characteristics of seed such as shape, size, weight, length, surface structure, colour and moisture content. Because each crop seed possesses individually seed structure. Therefore, sequence of operation will be applied proper equipments. However, It is also involved stages following as
Separating or Upgrading
Treating (Drying)
Storage or Shipping

The flow charts illustrating the types of materials removed from harvested produce during processing.

Harvested seed
Receiving The field run produce after threshing is received in the processing plant.
Seed movement /basic steps in seed processing plant.

Methods of seed processing
Picture 10. Belt thresher consisting of two face-to-face endless belts operating at different speeds in the same direction. (Photograph R. Whalley)
If it is decided to clean the harvested material down to dispersal units or caryopses, then a number of machines are available.

Peg-drum threshers and hammer mills
Straw should be removed by scalping or sieving before seeds are treated with peg-drum threshers or hammer mills to dress the seeds down to the caryopses, or it will be broken into fragments and prove difficult to remove later. There is a risk of damaging the caryopses with this type of equipment and seed must be examined closely under a microscope following treatment to detect damage to the embryos. Germination tests before and after treatment give a better indication of damage. The caryopses (Caryopsis - The indehiscent fruit of most grasses with a single seed, the testa (seed coat) of which is fused with the pericarp (outer wall)) are readily separated from the trash after treatment by sieving and aspiration.

For chaffy seeds, hammer mills should be run at less than half the normal grinding speed. Even so, seed with the embryo projecting beyond the endosperm (e.g. M. stipoides) will be damaged even with gentle hammer milling.

Rubbing equipment
Picture 11
Picture 11. Northrup brush thresher for dressing chaffy seeds. The seed is brushed through the screen with a rotating brush. The speed of the brush, the clearance between the brush and screen and the size of the screen can all be varied depending on the seed being treated. (Photograph R. Whalley)
Machines using the principle of rubbing seed between two surfaces include resilient cone threshers, belt threshers, and various types of brush scarifiers and dehuskers. Cone threshers consist of a cone coated with a resilient plastic material rotating inside a matching surface coated with the same material. The rubbing action removes the ancillary structures and usually does not damage the caryopses, unless they are particularly fragile. Belt threshers consist of two face-to-face endless belts operating at different speeds in the same direction (Picture 10).

They can operate in either a vertical or horizontal plane. There is some evidence that they are not as effective as cone threshers for dressing chaffy seeds.

Various types of brush threshers (Picture 11) are effective for processing chaffy seeds but, again, fragile seeds or seeds with very soft, projecting embryos (e.g. M. stipoides) will be damaged by this equipment.

De-bearding or de-awning equipment often gently mixes the dried material in a rotating drum breaking off the awns (Awn - an elongated bristle-like appendage attached to the apex, back or base of the glume, lemma or palea) and other appendages. John Betts and Tony Wilson of Yass, NSW, have designed and built stirring equipment for threshing and separating fertile spikelets (Spikelet - consists of one or more florets and is the basic unit of the inflorescence in grasses) of T. triandra from harvested inflorescences (Inflorescence - a group of flowers borne on a stem). The harvested material is passed repeatedly through a stirring chamber and the fertile spikelets are separated from the light trash by blowing. From the air stream, the (heavier) fertile spikelets will bounce further from an angled steel plate than empty spikelets. The fertile spikelets are then separated from similarly weighted pieces of stalk and trash on an inclined bouncing fabric-covered board (Picture 12). The callus hairs of the spikelets make them stick to the fabric whereas the stalk and trash bounce off.

Dropping the dispersal units through a naked flame in order to burn off appendages has been tried with seeds of a number of different species, with limited success. The technique may be more successful with refinement.

Aerodynamic conditioning
Picture 12
Picture 12. Device for separating de-awned fertile spikelets of T. trianda from stalk fragment and other trash. The angled, fabric board bounces up and down and the spikelets are held on to it by their callus hairs whereas the other fragments bounce down the board. Designed and constructed by John Betts and Tony Wilson of Yass, NSW. (Photograph R. Whalley)
The Woodward Air-Seed Shucker is available in both laboratory and commercial versions and works on an entirely different principle from the previously mentioned treatments. The seed and trash are first delivered uniformly onto an inclined scalping screen to remove the stems and leaves and other material that might clog up the aerodynamic parts of the equipment.

The material that passes through the scalper is delivered into an air jet that accelerates the material into a discrimination chamber. Heavier dispersal units have more inertia than light particles and the chaffy appendages and awns are removed. If the force is high enough, even the lemma (Lemma - The outer bracts at the base of a grass spikelet; usually two glumes are present) and palea tightly surrounding the caryopses can be removed, although significant physical damage may result. The heavier seeds travel further through the discrimination chamber before settling out and so the seed sample can be separated into different quality classes based on seed weight.

Seed coatings
Coating or pelleting seeds with inert materials to increase the mass and 'flowability' is an option that has not been systematically explored with many native Australian grasses. Coating of introduced grass and legume seeds is a well established practice. Nutrients, ant repellents and, for legumes, Rhizobium inoculant have commonly been incorporated in these coatings. Many native Australian grasses are well adapted to soils of relatively low fertility and the placement of nutrients in contact with seeds could well have harmful effects on germination and seedling establishment. On the other hand, the use of inert materials or water absorbing polymers simply to increase the mass and 'flowability' of the dispersal units is an approach that has not been adequately tested. Unfortunately, much of the information concerning seed coatings and the materials involved, is confidential commercial information and not readily available.

Wet seed processing and saving
By Pam Dawling

August 1, 2020

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. An article in the September 2020 GFM addresses dry-seed crops (which develop in pods, husks or ears, and dry on the plant) and vegetatively reproducing crops (clones like garlic).

Ease into seed growing

In your first year, avoid unfamiliar crops or too many different seed crops. Grow one or two seed crops for yourself to see how it fits in with the rest of your farming. There are good details on seed cleaning methods in the “Seed Processing and Storage Guide” from Saving Our Seeds at

Wet-seeded crops usually have ripe seed when the produce is ripe or a little beyond that. Cucumbers are a notable exception; they are eaten as underripe fruits, and the seed is mature when the cucumber reaches the yellow blimp stage. I think wet-seeded crops are less work. Dry-seeded crops can take a lot longer to mature seeds than to grow as vegetables, and then you still need to screen and winnow. Your passion for selecting a particular trait in a particular crop may be what drives your decision.

Pay attention to isolation distances because they can restrict what else you can grow as produce. If your growing season is long enough, you may be able to grow yellow squash for an early market, then sow pumpkins for seed, and before any pumpkins flower, ruthlessly pull up all the yellow squash. The various squash varieties can cross within the same family, so, if you want pie pumpkin seeds, you need to keep the zucchini away.

John Navazio’s book The Organic Seed Grower: A Farmer’s Guide to Vegetable Seed Production has everything you need to know. Keep records of your dates and the results you get, as timing is critical, and some crops will work better for you than others.

Even as the second round of rinse water is added to the mix of tomato seeds and pulp, most of the seeds are on the bottom of the bucket and obscured by pulp.

What type of crop to grow?

Choose crops that easily reach maturity in your climate. Be sure you have an open-pollinated variety. Seeds saved from hybrids produce very mixed progeny, some of it useless. Once you are experienced, you can develop stable strains from a hybrid over several years of work, but this is not the place to start.

Choose crops you only grow one variety of or pay close attention to the required isolation distance. Choose crops your neighbors don’t have growing the other side of your fence line. Plan to pace yourself by selecting crops with harvests at either the end of the main season, or weekly for one month only. Choose crops that grow without much attention in underused spaces, e.g., high summer in the hoop house for us in Virginia.

Self-pollinated crops are a good place to start seed growing because they often have good open-pollinated varieties. Self-pollinators have flowers which all contain both the female and male parts (botanically these are known as “perfect flowers”). Some self-pollinating flowers are self-fertilizing, while others are self-incompatible, and are insect-pollinated. Cross-pollinators have separate male and female flowers, either on the same plant (as corn does), or on completely separate plants. For example, spinach has male plants and female plants.

Fruit and seed from the same crop

Fruiting crops take a little extra time to fully mature the seeds and you may still be able to eat or sell the food in some form, for example, tomatoes, peppers, watermelon and winter squash. A grower I know had success with winter squash, selling a certain amount to restaurants each week after cutting the squash open and removing the seeds.

Getting two crops from one plant can take more time compared to simply mashing whole tomatoes. So, weigh the pros and cons of conserving the food. You may be able to harvest the earliest fruit, then stop and save seed from the later maturing fruits (cucumbers), or save seed first and harvest the later fruit.

Wet seed processing

Wet seeds are embedded in fruit. Wet processing has four steps: scooping out the seeds or mashing the fruit, fermenting the seed pulp for several days, washing the seeds and removing the pulp and then drying the washed seeds. Ferment the seeds long enough to release the clean seeds from the pulp without waiting so long that the seeds start to sprout. Wet-processed seed is naturally cleaned during the fermentation and washing. If you are breeding and selecting, you will likely be working with smaller quantities and using jars rather than buckets as I describe here.

The tomato seeds are finally visible after pouring off the third rinse.

Producing tomato seeds

Roma is an OP paste tomato variety that had been reliable and productive for us (we make a lot of sauce, juice and salsa), but our yields were reduced by Septoria leaf spot. I couldn’t find a commercially available Septoria-resistant paste variety, so I decided to develop our own strain, selecting for resistance to Septoria, along with earliness and high early yield. The reward — healthy plants for a long season — is of great value to us.

We plant about 260 Romas, and probably save seed from a selected 130 to160 mother plants. For selection to improve the variety, it’s important to have plenty to choose from. Between 80 to 100 would be enough. We make sure when we plan our crop layouts that we don’t put any other varieties of tomatoes within 180 feet (55 meters) of any of our Romas.

We transplant in late April or early May, with a metal T-post after every two plants (the plants are two feet apart). We use the Florida Weave system, adding a new round of twine each week.

In early July, even before any tomatoes ripen, I start monitoring the plants once a week, using flagging tape on the T-posts, marking ones with healthy foliage and ones promising to yield very well. I tie the tape on the nearest post, with a bow on the side facing the chosen plant. I use red tape for high early yield combined with not much Septoria and yellow tape for healthy foliage with a decent yield. The star performers get both red and yellow tapes. I use Presco biodegradable flagging tape, made from wood pulp. It is nontoxic and degrades in six to 24 months (depending on conditions). The 3.0 mil non-woven cellulosic roll flagging is $2.59 from Gempler’s.

After a couple of weeks of monitoring and flagging, once the tomatoes start to ripen, I monitor and pick on the day before a crew bulk harvest; it’s no good looking for high yields when they’ve already been picked. I pick one or two fruits from each marked plant, maybe three from a plant with both tapes. If the plant no longer looks so great, I remove its tape. If a plant without a tape starts to excel in healthy foliage as the season continues, I add a yellow tape. Note: I don’t add many red tapes after the start of the harvest because I want to select for early fruit and plants that yield well later are not what we want.

Our method combines well with crew harvesting most of the fruit as food. If you are growing the variety only or mainly as a seed crop, you would mash all the fruit from the chosen plants and save all the seed. Or, if you are seeking to maintain an OP variety, (i.e. keeping the variety the same from year-to-year, without selecting for new traits), seed could be saved from the whole planting after pulling out any sub-par plants (known as “roguing”).

Processing tomato seeds

Basic equipment for wet-seed processing consists of buckets, knives, and spoons. I pick five gallons (19 liters) for seed each week, sometimes twice that. I store those buckets of tomatoes for five days in a secret location where no one will find and eat them, which lets the fruit get completely ripe.

I process seeds on sauce-making days (the days we do bulk harvesting). I cover the fruit with water to clean it, then remove and cut each tomato in half lengthwise into a clean bucket, rejecting any diseased ones. Using a soup spoon, I then scoop out the seeds into a clean bucket and put the empty “shells” into another clean bucket (to make sauce).

I ferment the seeds in the loosely covered bucket for three days at approximately 70°F (21°C). I aim to stir about three times a day.

I take several clean buckets and a sieve and wash the seeds. This art gets easier and quicker with practice. I pour from bucket to bucket, rather than onto the ground, so if I make a mistake, I haven’t lost the seeds. The best seeds sink. The floaters are not likely to be good, so don’t worry about losing a few seeds when pouring the rinse water off. The process is a matter of adding water, stirring, letting things settle, and pouring off the floating material. Here are the steps:

1. Pour off the top half of the ferment (mostly no good) into another bucket to salvage any good seeds. If in a hurry, discard the material from the top half of the bucket, provided it was well-settled.

2. Add water to both buckets, stir, let things settle and then pour off the tomato pulp and no-good floating seeds from both into another bucket for a second chance.

3. Consolidate the better stuff in one bucket, the worse stuff in another, let settle, and pour away the seedless water.

4. Add more water and repeat several times from step one.

5. After about five rinses, the water is clear and the seed is clean.

6. Strain it through a sieve.

7. Spread the seeds on paper towels on a tray for a few days with a fan blowing on them. Spreading them on a window screen propped on buckets also works well. Another option is to make small bundles in fine cheesecloth or row-cover scraps and tie them directly on to the fan casing.

8. After six to twelve hours, scrape the clumps of seed off the surface with a putty knife or spatula, turn them over and crumble the clumps by hand. I break up the clumps of seeds several times during the drying period.

9. After two days, once the seed is thoroughly dry, gather it into a paper bag and add some desiccant. The little packs from pill bottles or shoeboxes will work, or a sachet of dried milk powder, or you can buy silica gel beads. I hold back on storing in an airtight container until I’m sure the seed is completely dry. See the seed storage section below.

Usually I work with one or two buckets each week during August. For example: Harvest Monday, scoop Friday and start the fermentation, wash Monday, set those seeds to dry and harvest the next batch. Twenty gallons (four buckets) of tomatoes makes 130 grams of seeds. If necessary, I continue into the beginning of September. It’s not good to save seed from plants in decline, so get started as soon as you can, and quit while the going is good. We sell this seed to Southern Exposure Seed Exchange as Roma Virginia Select.

A batch of freshly washed Roma tomato seeds drying with a fan.

Producing watermelon seeds

We have been selecting Crimson Sweet watermelons for earliness, disease-resistance, flavor and large size. By never bringing other watermelons into our gardens we have avoided seed-borne watermelon bacterial fruit blotch disease. We make sure no one is growing any other kind of watermelon within half a mile, as watermelons cross-pollinate with each other (not with other types of melon). Even though they are cross-pollinators, cucurbits act more like self-pollinators genetically, so it’s actually okay to save seed from a fairly small population. They show relatively little inbreeding depression, and a population of 25 plants would be enough.

By transplanting, we have already started selecting healthy plants. Early in July, as the melons ripen, I walk through the plot with a grease pencil and write numbers on 30 to 40 large selected melons with vigorous, healthy vines.

I’ve tried other ways to mark melons, such as flags and magic markers, but grease pencils work best. Having a big number right there on the skin of the melon stops any crew member about to harvest it as produce. They know to never pick melons with numbers on them.

I keep a notebook to help me keep track as melons are easily lost in abundant healthy foliage. I write down which numbers are in which rows and how many there are in total. I keep notes of which numbers I harvest each week and assess them for size, ripeness, and, once I open them, flavor.

Ideally, watermelon for seed would be overmature by seven to ten days, but waiting too long is courting disaster. If the vine has died, I do not keep the seed, as clearly it wasn’t a healthy plant, and I’m selecting for disease-resistance. It can get hard to find all the numbered melons, but my notebook saves me from wasting time looking for one that I already harvested.

Once a week in August, I check for ripeness and harvest for seed. We do the “Scrunch Test” for ripeness after checking for brown tendrils: Put two hands spread out across the melon, press down quite hard, listen and feel for a scrunch, which is the flesh in the melon separating under the pressure. Rumor has it that it only works once, so pay attention. I discard any numbered melons that don’t look healthy or that don’t ripen early. I sometimes add a number to any huge, fast-growing melon that pops up after the initial numbering. Earliness is important to us, though, so I only harvest in the month of August.

The author’s melon seed collecting cart and tools.

Processing melon seeds

I harvest about six to eight melons each week, as they ripen. It’s a messy job so take a damp cloth with you. I put all the clean buckets and large knives and spoons that I’ll need into a garden cart and pull it down the rows, checking and harvesting melons as I work along the rows. I make notes (by melon number) about size, then I cut the melon in half crosswise, observe the color, and take a big serving spoon and scoop out part of the heart to taste.

If the flavor is good, I scoop the (seedless) heart out into a very clean bucket, for us to eat later. If not, I don’t save its seeds. Next, there is a layer that is full of seeds. I scoop this into a seed bucket. Then I scoop the outer flesh, also relatively seedless, into the food bucket. The scooped watermelon flesh makes wonderful smoothies and sorbets. I pitch the empty shells back into the plot.

Fermentation is done the same way as tomatoes, but for four days at 70°F (21°C), stirring three times a day. Wash the seed on the fourth day in the same way as tomato seed. Dry on racks or trays with fans. Scheduling example: Harvest and scoop on Tuesday, wash on Saturday and set them to dry. They take longer to dry, being considerably bigger than tomato seeds. One Crimson Sweet melon provides 22 grams of seed; 22 melons provide one pound of seed.

Seed storage

Seeds must be stored dry, cool and airtight once dry. Make sure your storage places are mouse-proof. Preliminary storage can begin when seeds are down to 8 percent moisture; the seeds should break or shatter when you hit them with a hammer. They should not mash.

Put the dry seeds in a jar with an equal weight of a desiccant (silica gel or powdered milk). For USDA Certified Organic, check the OMRI list and only use allowed desiccants. After seven days, remove the desiccant and put the seed in a labeled bag inside a labeled glass or metal container with an airtight lid. You can seal the lid with Parafilm M tape.

For long-term storage, put the jar in the freezer. When removing seeds from the freezer, allow the container to warm to room temperature for a day before opening to prevent moisture condensing on the seeds.

A peek inside the author's bucket with scooped Crimson Sweet watermelon seeds and attached flesh.

Test your germination

Fold a thick paper towel lengthwise, unfold it, count out 50 or 100 seeds and spread them along the inside of the fold. Re-fold the towel, dampen with water and roll up loosely. Put the roll inside a loosely closed (not zipped) plastic bag and put it somewhere at a suitable germination temperature. Often the top of the fridge is suitable for a small-scale seed grower. Beware the top of gas water heaters as fumes inhibit tomato seeds and other nightshades.

See my book Sustainable Market Farming: Intensive Vegetable Production for ideal temperatures for different crops. For instance, 75°F (24°C) is good for most vegetables, 80°F (27°C) is better for tomatoes and peppers, 85°F (29°C) for melons. Open the roll twice a day (the air change helps the seeds even if it’s too early for sprouts).

After seven days, count the number of sprouted seeds and remove them. After another seven days, repeat and add this number to the first one to calculate your germination percentage. If you sell to a seed company, they will check germination before they pay you.

Pam Dawling is the author of the books Sustainable Market Farming and The Year-Round Hoophouse. She blogs at, on Facebook and for Mother Earth News.

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Breeding tomatoes on a farm: practical selection advice
Breeding tomatoes on a farm: practical selection advice
Tomatoes are a high-value crop for many farms and having tomato varieties that match the farm site and the local markets is of critical importance to many of us who farm. Fortunately, there are many varieties we can choose from today, and trialing new varieties that become available is an important way to find varieties with good production and high value. Additionally, we can also fine-tune what we grow on our farms using simple breeding practices. Here I provide some simple advice on how to select and create varieties suited to your farm.

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On-farm tomato breeding: making crosses and managing projects
On-farm tomato breeding: making crosses and managing projects
In the April 2020 issue of Growing For Market, I focused on the selection side of tomato breeding. In this follow-up article, I will discuss how to make crosses and manage breeding projects.

The nuts and bolts of crossing tomatoes

Crossing two different tomato varieties can be done by physically moving pollen from the flower of one variety to the flower of another. This is accomplished in a series of steps. First, one variety is chosen to be the mother and another the father. I like to use smaller-fruited varieties as mothers. This seems counterintuitive, but from experience I have found that large beefsteaks produce fewer seeds per fruit and take longer to ripen.

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Breeding crops for resilience to a changing climate
Breeding crops for resilience to a changing climate
Strategies to use on your farm: a breeder’s perspective

I write this article to empower farmers and crop breeders: we can and must build a better line-up of crops that will feed humans in the more difficult future. What does this have to do with crop genetics? The answer: don’t think we can solve this by putting physical barriers between global climate change and our crops. We must not delude ourselves into believing that a techno fix like greenhouses precludes the need for crop genetic adaptation. Open-field agriculture will remain the biggest source of human foods.

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How breeding and selling produce support each other on Green Bee Farm
How breeding and selling produce support each other on Green Bee Farm
Farmer to Farmer Profile

Along with the growing interest in regionally adapted seeds, increasing numbers of growers want to add some on-farm breeding and/or seed production to the mix. In this article, read about how both crops support each other on Artisan Seeds breeder Fred Hempel’s farm. In next month’s magazine, we’ll have more about Fred’s approach, and advice for how vegetable growers can make the most of on-farm breeding.

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The man behind the tomatoes: Fred Hempel of Artisan Seeds
The man behind the tomatoes: Fred Hempel of Artisan Seeds
I met up with Fred Hempel, the Artisan Seeds breeder, at his farm in Sunol, California on Sunday, October 8, 2017. It was a bright, dry 77-degree day, typical for east of the San Francisco Bay Area in the fall. It would have been even brighter if it weren’t for the thin layer of dust covering everything, dimming the reflection from the sun. In testament to how dry it was, historically bad wildfires would break out later that evening farther north in Sonoma County and burn many acres of farmland, vineyards and homes over the following days.

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Winter crop on-farm breeding update: lessons learned after 15 more years
Winter crop on-farm breeding update: lessons learned after 15 more years
In the early 2000’s, alarm about the increasingly widespread use of genetically modified [GM] crops was spreading fast among progressive farmers and the public. At the same time, a handful of agricultural writers were pushing for a rebirth of the ancient tradition of crop breeding by farmers. The first article I ever wrote for Growing for Market, called “Saving seed makes sense,” in the August and September 2002 issues, was more an introduction to breeding than simply about the mechanics of seed saving. It was also an empowerment article, crafted to encourage more farmers to attempt a little genetic management.

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Article cluster: on-farm crop breeding for climate resilience
Article cluster: on-farm crop breeding for climate resilience
For the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, 2020, we ran Brett Grohsgal's article "Breeding crops for resilience to a changing climate" in our April magazine. On-farm breeding is one of the many strategies local farms can use to adapt as the world changes around them.

One of the nice things about being around for 29 years (as of 2020) is that we have a large archive of articles (over 1,600) to draw upon. In his article, Brett references three other articles from 2002 (!) where he gave a more in-depth picture of his breeding strategy. The links to all four articles are here.

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An introduction to growing seed for yourself or for sale
An introduction to growing seed for yourself or for sale
This is a great time of year to think about growing a seed crop. The demand for organic and heirloom seeds is growing, and seeds can bring a good financial return for the time and land invested. There are both practical and political reasons to grow seed crops. And there are perhaps new skills to learn on the way. Growing seed allows you to improve on a variety if you want that, or simply maintain the variety for bulk sale.

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The need for seed: Growth of organics creates big demand; Could growing seed be in your future?
The need for seed: Growth of organics creates big demand; Could growing seed be in your future?
“There’s a huge gap between the need and the production of organic seed,” said Matthew Dillon, advocacy director of the Organic Seed Alliance. “Because of that gap, there is opportunity for growers who want to get involved in seed production.”

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Make the most of your seed investment: How to store, inventory and order seeds
Make the most of your seed investment: How to store, inventory and order seeds
In hard financial times, it’s a waste to throw out all leftover seed at the end of the planting season and buy all new for next year. Yet it’s a bigger waste to keep everything and risk poor germination of a vital crop. Here’s a systematic method to minimize the chances of throwing out good seed, keeping bad seed, buying too little or buying too much.

Seed Processing Unit
Seed Processing Unit

After harvest, the seeds need to be processed by various methods in order to keep their physical purity intact and also to increase the shell life. This should be done before seeds are kept in storage. There are various steps to be followed viz. cleaning (wet and dry), winnowing, sieving, drying, tests to ascertain the dryness of seeds. One of the crucial steps in Seed Processing is refining post-harvested seed to its purest form for replanting purposes and human/animal consumption. This involves taking the cleaned seed and coating them with a chemical, usually antimicrobial or fungicidal, to make them more robust for the field.

The seed that produced will have so many impurities like stones, weeds, trash, other crop seeds etc.
Seed processing means cleaning operation that are taken up to the raw produce from the field.
In this process the seed that is produced is going to be used as seed purpose that’s why we have to take care of the germination percentage also.
The advantage of seed processing units are:

It cleans the seed by revolving the trash and stones present in it by pre-cleaners.
It grades the seed by the shape, size etc. by removing the shrivelled and damage seed from it.
It removes other unwanted crop seed using the gravity separator.
The seed produced is uniform and by maintaining the required moisture the germination percentage achieved is good.

Seed Processing
Quality seed production involves series of processes called seed chain. One of the major step at final stage that converts raw seed into finished product and improve the quality, is called seed processing. Historically seed cleaning used to be done on the farm or at home by using three well known traditional hand tools namely, “CHANANA”, “OKHALI” and “CHHAJ”. As the population is increasing day by day and labor is not machines these traditional hand tools and are now termed as sieve, scourer and gravity separator respectively.

The processing of seed at PSC is done with the aim to provide best quality seed for major and minor crops for the farmers of the country. Punjab Seed Corporation consistently focused on quality seed which is possible only when the separation of other crops seed, removal of weed seeds, Separation of immature and shriveled seed, removal of broken, cracked, split, diseased and insect damaged seed, removal of organic impurities such as dust, dirt, sand, stones, metal pieces and mud balls etc. have been done. Further processing mechanism at PSC assures the separation of large and small sized seed for the purpose of uniformity and good appearance. The Seed treatment with chemicals is also included in the processing of quality seed. The Punjab Seed Corporation is continuously improving seed germination and market value.

The Punjab Seed Corporation processing activity grading, cleaning, polishing, and packing of the quality seed is carried out at four imported processing units from Germany Denmark and USA , permanently erected at Sahiwal, Khanewal, Rahim Yar Khan and Piplan. Three mobile cereal processing units are working at different districts of the Punjab.

The quality of the seed sold by the Punjab Seed Corporation was undoubtedly superior than the one sold by private sector and also maintains sound germination potential.

Seed business management app CGC
The app manages your seed, oilseed, cereal inventory traceability, orders, seed storage, seed sales, wholesale and export. Full business management solution for grain, seed, and cereal handling.

Organic and conventional. Generates paperwork for CGC and other government requirements; saves your time.

Create Purchase Orders to order seed inventory, or receive seed inventory from your own farms without needing an order
Record your customers orders of seed (optionally allow customers to order online using the shop, or B2B portal)
Receive bulk seed deliveries and store in silos, traceability is full maintained from the instant you receive the seed inventory, to post sales auditing and mock recalls.
Perform a quality check during the delivery process to determine waste % or dockage.
Generate Form 7 for CGC Canadian Grain Commission (sample here!) Ask us if you need more forms for your local region
Report rapidly on the total seed inventory stored in each silo, including off-site storage locations
Processing seed: Clean, sort, perform safety scanning (x-ray, magnetic) on seed stocks
Store cleaned seed inventory in clean silo
Bulk load trucks directly from seed silo for bulk sales
Pack cleaned seed inventory into 1MT, kg bags, and LB bags
Controlled seed sale process tells shipping teams exactly which inventory should be shipped to which customer
Shipping container management, temperature recorder numbers, seal number, and more for exporting seed stock
Generate reports that give you all the information you need for auditing and reporting such as CGC Weekly report, CGC Monthly Liability Report, CGC Receiving report, CGC Settlement report.

We will interview your team to custom design the best seed, grain, cereal management solution for your business.
Here's how your cereal, seed, grain management project will work:

Interview with a solution consultant so we can understand how your seed, grain, cereal business operates
We then prepare your seed, grain, cereal forms and documents to be produced by the app (CGC forms included) and adjust and special grain, cereal, seed reporting tools you may need
A quick meeting to show you the settings in your app, and how to maintain them yourself in the future if you sell new products for example. We will have entered almost all of your settings for you.
Your consultant will then present you with proposed operational processes for your seed, grain, cereal processing business. This may happen a few times because we will respond to your feedback.
Your approved operational processes for your seed, grain, cereal business will then be deployed one by one into your live business. We provide simple, written instructions you can show each team member so they don't need to remember anything or write anything down.
Review! Once you deploy the processes, we can have another review to see if there are any tweaks that would help improve your grain, cereal, seed handling processes.

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