Monday, January 04, 2010

Heritage Grains for 2010 - Part 2

To harvest the grains from our very small test and seed plots I simply cut the heads off of the still standing plants and place them in a threshing box. This is a simple wooden box with wood slats on the bottom. I place the heads in the box, step in and shuffle my feet for a minute or two. I then take the air compressor and blow out the chaff. It is a great way to obtain a completely clean sample from a small plot of grain. It really doesn’t take much time at all. Of course the grain heads need to be completely dry prior to attempting threshing otherwise they will not want to come off the head cleanly.

In order to grow the varieties into commercially viable quantities I plant the grains in progressively bigger plots and fields. I did this with the Blais Red Fife in 2009. I now have 15 bushels of Blais Red Fife which will seed about 7 acres in 2010. I always maintain a set of very small farm implements like my old John Deere seed drill for these purposes.


  1. Would you be able to post some details and/or pictures of the treshing box?

  2. It is such a simple device. It is simply a plywood box about 3'x4' and about 18" high. I nailed some pieces of molding that I had laying around to the bottom of the box. I think there are 5 of them. I place the heads in the box. A good amount is when the box floor is completely covered. I then put my rubber boots on (because I don't like chaff and beards in my socks!) and I shuffle around for a few minutes. I then take my air compressor and stand back a bit and just blow out the chaff and bits of straw as best I can. If it needs a little more 'threshing' I can shuffle again. You can make your box as big or as little as you like but bigger just means that you have to spend more time shuffling and cover more ground and therefore you are apt to miss threshing more heads. It doesn't really matter though.