Today I (Chris) did our last bit of seed packing for the BC Seed Trials at the KPU Seed Lab. It has been great to be able to use the seed counter at the lab this year to get more exact seed counts and speed up the packing process. For the carrots alone we had to pack over 500 individual packs of seeds to send to growers across the country!
The seed counter is a very interesting machine. The machine has a vibrating mechanism which causes the seeds to work their way up around a spiral drum to a release chute, which can be adjusted to allow just one seed (or so) to pass through at a time. As the seed drops out of the chute, a laser counts each one as it falls into a waiting paper envelope. We can set the machine to count a set number of seeds. Once the machine starts getting to the end of that count it slows down the vibrating mechanism to slow down the seeds dropping past the counter. It is a very simple looking machine once you get used to it, but you have to appreciate the design that goes into making them work so well and so accurately.
I’ve posted a short video below. Don’t worry – it’s only a couple of minutes, with a bot of slow-motion action in there as well (never thought we would use our GoPro for this!). Hopefully the exciting music makes up for how boring the video really is!
The BC Seed Trials project is a collaboration between the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, UBC Farm, and FarmFolk CityFolk. Through conducting vegetable variety trials on farms throughout the province we hope, with input from local farmers, to identify varieties which perform best in each region as well as those varieties which can be scaled up for bulk seed production.