Hedgerow Farms has entered full harvest mode. The unusual amounts of rain and the cold spring have proved challenging, but we hope that by the end of the week it will dry out and the weather will be back to normal for this time of year.
Below are photos introducing the steps used to harvest the seed in most of Hedgerow Farms larger production fields:
When it is determined that most of a field is ripe the field is swathed:
|A swather cutting Nassella ssp.|
The swather cuts the grass (or flower) plant material and creates a windrow (see below) behind it:
Seed and plant material are left in windrows in the field to dry and cure. A windrow helps prevent seed loss by creating a basket weave out of vegetative plant material, capturing the seed as it shatters.
After the plant material has dried a in the field (this can take just one day or a week) we use a combine to separate the seed from the rest of the plant material. After it has been combined the seed usually spends more time drying and curing on a tarp before it is cleaned.
|A combine emptying seed and chaff onto a tarp|
Other methods we use to harvest seed will be highlighted in upcoming posts.