- healthy plants with good inflorescence must be selected.
- diseased, infested by insects , weak plants are not selected as the seeds obtained from them will be of poor quality
- care should be taken to see that weed plants are not harvested along with main plants
- all the unwanted leaves, branches, stem etc are trimmed & only the inflorescence is sun dried for a period of 7 to 15 days
- white or transparent plastic sheet must be used and the inflorescence must be spread out evenly on the surface
- drying process is complete when there is total discoloration of the plant. it changes from green to burnt yellow/brown color.
Packing and storage
- once the plant is completely dried, the seeds can be separated by threshing or beating the plant on a wooden plank or rough surface. even rubbing the inflorescence against each other dislodges the seeds
- the seeds are very small in size & black in color & round in shape.
- the seeds thus obtained must be kept in air tight containers & stored in a dry place.
Precautions and tips
- since there are 2 distinct color types, one green the other maroon, seeds of the required color plants can be obtained by not mixing the 2 while threshing, separate the green plants from the maroon plants
- do not keep in containers that are defective or have cracks as even a little moisture in these containers will encourage the growth of fungus & will damage the seeds
- ants & other insects can also be a problem if the storage containers are not proper. to control ants, 3 or 6 pieces of cloves can be added in the containers.
- certain chemicals like Thiram can be used for longer storage to prevent attack from insects
- the area of storage must be in a dry place, well aerated to prevent any kind of fungal attack.
- after using the seeds, the container must be closed properly,
- always use clean hands while handling seeds. after using any chemicals, wash hands with clean water thoroughly before handling seeds
Photos and content by Pritham 'Heavy metal farmer' denzil dsouza