Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Corn Cockles - Harvesting Seed

Corn Cockles - Harvesting Seed

Autumn 2014 I sowed some wild flower seed and some bulbs on the old bonfire site. Tulips, Daffodils and Crocus appeared in the spring and around June 2015 Corn Cockle and Poppies were flowering.

I've taken some of the corn cockle and poppy seed and sprinkled around the garden but today I decided to harvest the Corn Cockle seed in order to sell.

Corn Cockles and Poppies, old bonfire site
All the seed heads have dried now and a lot of seed has fallen, almost all of the poppy seed has been dispersed, but a lot of Corn Cockle seed remains. I spent an hour with a pair of scissors cutting the seed heads off and then set about separating the seed from the casing. After 7 hours of work I had 570g of seed which, if I manage to sell the seed at the average Ebay price will be worth about £13.50 per hour for today's work.

Selling Wild Flower seed is going to be a bit of a test, just to see if it is worth while and whether there is enough interest.

The actual process was quite a hard slog.....certainly a multi beer task!

It started off with a box of seed heads....

Then progressed to a pile of empty seed heads...

A bowl of seeds with some shrapnel left behind. Crushing the seed heads with fingers and scraping the insides out with the thumb left a fair bit of casing behind!

But after a lot of shaking and and gentle blowing the bits around I ended up with a fairly clean bowl of seed (this isn't the full amount).

A close up of the seed head and seeds. There appears to be about 30 seeds per head (a rough average) and about 56 seeds per gramme. Just under 32,000 seeds have been obtained from around  1,000 seed heads taken.
It's been quite a satisfying days work and I'll see if I can sell some on the Alford Country Market on Tuesday but I think my best bet is Ebay. Most places seem to suggest sowing this seed in the early to late spring but I've always found Corn Cockles germinate and grow better when Autumn sown, where they can out compete the weeds and get a good head start before spring arrives.

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