Late Summer Research and Education Seed Farm Update

Posted on Saturday, 2 September 2023 under Stories

It has been warm this summer at the Seed Farm in Abbotsford, we’ve been busy weeding, trellising tomatoes, and packing up the farm. As we get closer to autumn, many of our seed crops are ready for harvesting, from watermelons to fava beans. Our lease comes to an end this year, so amidst harvesting, the start of packing up drip tape, rolling up landscape fabric, and cleaning our farm sheds has begun. 

Our biggest seed harvest of the summer so far has been Kalibos Cabbage. We started the cabbage in July 2022, then moved it to the high tunnel in the fall to overwinter the crop. In early spring 2023 we got beautiful blooms of yellow flowers that sounded like they were buzzing from all of the bees. We patiently waited for the flowers to turn into pods, and then for the pods to dry down.

Harvesting was lots of fun, we chopped down the cabbage close to the bottom of the stalk, so any residual energy in the plant would be translocated to the seed. Then after a couple of weeks of drying on the stalk, they were ready to be threshed, winnowed, and screened. 

For the threshing process, we used our bike-powered thresher. Our summer Seed Farm Assistant, Nick, put the pedal to the metal to whip around the internal chains separating the seeds from their pods.

Once the material was threshed. We took it over to the winnow wizard for some air-separating action. The winnow wizard is equipped with two different blower speeds and several screens to control the flow of the air. Cabbage is a mid-weight seed, heavier than most flower seeds, but lighter than larger seeds like peas and beans. We consulted the manual to figure out the ideal settings for winnowing brassica seeds.

The winnow wizard quickly blew away all seed pods, leaving us with beautiful, small, round cabbage seeds. The last step was a quick screen to remove any seed pods that did not break apart in the threshing process. Learn more about the bike-powered thresher, winnow wizard, and our Mobile Seed Cleaner here

We will be offering the Kalibos Cabbage seeds next season at BC Eco Seed Co-op. Kalibos Cabbage is a purple conical cabbage whose vibrant colours will impress any eater. We currently have many other seeds for sale at the Co-op, including Lemon Cucumber, Ostergruss Radish, Wasabi Arugula and more. Check out BC Eco Seed Co-op’s shop-by-farm option.