jaybee379
Posts: 1
Joined: 21 Nov 2021, 21:24

Seed drying techniques?

Has anyone got any good tips on seed drying techniques?
Anything using bentonite or silica gel style kitty litters?

John
Bega Liz
Posts: 62
Joined: 15 Nov 2021, 06:21
Location: Bega Valley, NSW
Contact: Website

Re: Seed drying techniques?

We've been using indicating silica gel loose beads that we got from https://www.silicagel.com.au/silica-gel-beads-loose/. But that was before we knew about those cheaper kitty litter products (we don't have a cat). I've now tried a bentonite kitty litter. It needs to be activated in the oven before use as it comes in a paper bag and has been sitting around absorbing the ambient moisture in the shop and in transit. I used the same time and temp as I'd do for silica gel and that seemed to work.
When I use silica gel I've found that unless the seed is already fairly dry I need about the same volume of silica gel as seeds and the smallest container I can get them both into and then it takes about a week to stabilise the moisture between absorbent silica gel and the see.ds. I haven't done enough trials with the bentonite yet but I expect it will be less efficient so I might need more bentonite to seeds.
The down side with the bentonite is that it doesn't tell you when it has absorbed as much moisture as it can and needs to be reactivated. That is a big advantage with the indicating silica gel. You can easily see when it has become ineffective as the colour of the beads changes.
I'm using 6 spot humidity indicator cards inside the jars with the seeds and absorbers so I can see when the moisture level stops changing and have a rough idea of how dry the seeds are - https://www.silicagel.com.au/categories ... tor-Cards/
Arian
Posts: 17
Joined: 16 Nov 2021, 17:04

Re: Seed drying techniques?

I've been wondering about this given it's been such a wet year in Canberra. Normally, seed drying is just about the last thing in the world we need to worry about! I tend to just leave for in the open air for as long as possible (which also suits my extremely lazy style) but that's even been a problem this year (mice and rats) so I'm thinking of doing silica. Have previously done roasted rice. How do you rate that as a method? Do you think it's effective?
Bega Liz
Posts: 62
Joined: 15 Nov 2021, 06:21
Location: Bega Valley, NSW
Contact: Website

Re: Seed drying techniques?

I've never tried the roasted rice thing. From what I've read you can only roast the rice once to use it as a desiccant and can't re-roast it to use again, so that seemed like a waste of rice to me.

I'm now using kitty litter. I've tried both 100% silica gel and 100% bentonite products. I even found a house brand silca gel kitty litter for about $6 for multiple kgs. That seems to blow the price of any other option out of the water. So far I haven't had any problems re-drying either of them to use again. About an hour at 120 degrees C seems to work reasonably well.

It has been a shocker of a year for getting seed dry so I've been trying pretty much anything I can lay my hands on and using a heap in a sealed bucket with several packets of seed. Despite not wanting to open the containers and let more moist air in, I have been opening them after a week or so and giving the bags of seed a bit of a shake to move the seed around to help make sure they dry evenly.

Our local team helped to put this together to help explain the issues and some options -

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