Plant the Chaff Too: Surprises are good!

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Plant the Chaff Too

By gingin
November 24, 2011

When collecting seeds and separating them from the chaff, if I'm not sure I have gotten ALL the seeds I toss the chaff in a corner of the yard. If seeds were left and sprout, then I'm a happy camper and have unexpected flowers to cut.

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Name: Renée
Northern KY
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KyWoods
Nov 23, 2011 6:22 PM CST
Especially if they show up where you'd like them to--good idea!
Name: Sheila F
Fort Worth TX (Zone 8a)
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Sheila_FW
Nov 24, 2011 7:39 AM CST
I put all the chaffs in a bag and take them down to a walking trail and duck pond near the house. I toss them there in areas that don't get mowed.
Name: Ginger
Fountain, Florida (Zone 8b)
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gingin
Nov 24, 2011 12:21 PM CST
What a great place to toss them, Sheila Thumbs up
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
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RickCorey
Jul 22, 2013 2:31 PM CST

I agree with gingin!

I was cleaning Alyssum seeds and I had beaten up the vines pretty hard, so there was a lot of chaff. It looked like any remaining seeds were immature or never pollinated, but I wasn't sure.

So I put a pinch of "chaff" on a wet coffee filter, thinking I might get 5-10 volunteers.

Instead the whole coffee filter was covered with a hairy mat of rootlets, tiny stems and seedling leaves - over 100 sprouts, seemingly 1,000% or 2,000% germination. Clearly, the "chaff" still had lots of viable seeds hiding in it.

Now my policy is to spend much less time trying to browbeat a few more seeds out of each harvest. If I just shake the pods or seed-heads instead of pulverising them, there is very little fine chaff, which makes cleaning fast and easy.

Those 'clean seeds' are what I save to trade. But if I got only a small number of clean seeds, the first thing I direct-sow for myself is the so-called chaff!
Name: Toni
Denver Metro (Zone 5a)
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Skiekitty
Aug 7, 2013 10:39 AM CST
Only problem is that sometimes you get plants that you didn't know about in areas you don't want and then they take over... that's what happened with me & some wild catnip. It's good stuff.. very very good stuff as my cats all agree on calling it Meowi Wowwi, but damn is it invasive! Taking over half my yard.. I am constantly pulling it everywhere but it still pops up! I got some of this catnip back in '05 when I bought my house and I honestly don't know how it spread to where it's at, but it's taking over!! I pull, trim, etc to keep it from going to seed, but it's actually evergreen in my yard (zone 5?) and I can't get rid of it!! Anyone want any extremely xeric, extremely prolific cat nip?
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Aug 7, 2013 11:04 AM CST
Someone gave me some small-flowered snapdragons like that. I assume that birds spread the seeds, because it only took a few months for them to appear in every bed I have.
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Sep 8, 2013 5:37 PM CST
I'm with you on the catnip! I have it everywhere. Same with horehound!

But I have always just planted seeds, chaff and all if they are small seeds that are hard to separate. Of course I never traded seeds before, just given them away. I guess if I'm trading I should do like ou do Rick, and save the clean ones for trading.

Seriously, on Verbena Bonasaris, I have never collected seeds so when I just did to give someone, I had no idea what the seeds looked like!
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
May 18, 2015 8:31 AM CST
I had a good germination from Laurentia seeds which I had not cleaned when I gathered them in pods. By March, the chaff was powder, and I was not sure whether there were seeds or not. I sowed the works, and to my great joy there was great germination! The commercial seeds had only given me one or two sprouts.
I like the idea of scattering chaff so any seeds can sprout in the garden or in wild areas.
Name: Ginger
Fountain, Florida (Zone 8b)
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gingin
May 19, 2015 12:40 PM CST
Sweet avatar, Caroline Lovey dubby
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