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Question

johannagreen
How do I harvest beet seeds?
Crops: Topics:

Question details

One of my beets is going to seed in a prolific way (see photo). I have read that the appropriate time to harvest seeds is once the majority are brown, then let the rest dry. Has anyone done this before and know if there is further processing needed after that or have any tips? Thanks

http://www.seedsave.org/issi/904/expert.html#anchor012  This links to the seed-saving pages at www.seedstrust.com -  founded by a dedicated seed preservationist, Bill McDormon. His instructions for beets echoes what you say: "HARVEST: Cut 4' tall tops just above the root when majority flowering clusters have turned brown. Tops can be stored in cool, dry location for 2-3 weeks to encourage further seed ripening. PROCESS: Small quantities of seed can be stripped by hand as seed matures. Large numbers of tops can be put into a cloth bag & stomped or pounded. Chaff can be winnowed." Bill & his wife Belle currently run Seeds Trust & more from northern Arizona. As you can see from the website, they will soon hold a week-long seed-saving training. In addition to the free pages linked, Bill's expert seed-saving book sells for $5.95 & an online download is just $3.00. Years ago when he lived here, Bill brought back short-season tomato seeds from Siberia. He was one of the people I contacted after Maxine posted SEED BANK IN DANGER! From his website notes, he seems to be traveling. I look forward to his presentation here about serious seed saving & global seed supply on August 19th. P.S. I wonder if you had a beet left in your garden bed from last season? because seed-saving instructions for root crops starts with saving some choice roots in the first year, storing them cool & humid over the winter & replanting them up to their shoulders in the spring. I have often seen forgotten roots emerge as volunteer seed settters.        
Thanks for the seedstrust link.  I bet he'll have lots of great information at his lecture.  As far as the question about how long the beet had been in the ground, I really did just sow this beet this spring, however we get the warm/cold effect a couple of times here in the spring and I often have biennials go to seed in only one season.  I have a love/hate relationship with the weather here, but that phenomenon makes for some good seed saving opportunities.

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