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  • Mites in saved seed

    I saved a lot of kale seed heads in a trug in the GH. Bit by bit I've been popping the seed cases to release the seeds leaving the seeds and chaff in the trug.
    Today I sieved the lot to separate the seeds from the chaff - then some of the seeds moved and began scuttling around the bowl.
    They look like tiny spiders or mites - brown/grey.
    Any idea what they are?
    Would freezing kill them? Would it kill the seeds too?
    Thanks

  • #2
    How long ago did you collect the seeds? If it's ages ago, it seems unlikely that aphids would have survived all that time. Maybe it was something that opportunistically made a home in the trug.

    I bet, however, that you could freeze kale seeds. After all, they're hardy plants and self-sown seeds will have to cope with frosts. Why not try a few and then see if they'll germinate on some kitchen paper?
    Living in north-east Spain, where the sun is too hot, the rain too torrential, the hail too big, the wind too windy and the snow too deep.

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    • #3
      I "think" they're the ones I sent you SP so you'd better check yours too. Collected a few months ago.
      I'm pretty sure the mite things have arrived recently, maybe moved in from summat that was in the GH where the trug was. Not too worried about them myself as I don't really need more seeds but I'd hoped to share them. Won't do that now - don't want to share my bugs

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      • #4
        You little bug-ger

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        • #5
          Originally posted by veggiechicken View Post
          Would freezing kill them? Would it kill the seeds too?
          Thanks
          VC I'm sure I've read about heritage varieties seeds being frozen so it must be ok to do it.

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          • #6
            Sounds to me like they're new arrivals since you collected the seed, then. I'll check mine too. Thanks. I didn't sow any in the end: I'm really conserving water at the moment. Will wait for next year.
            Living in north-east Spain, where the sun is too hot, the rain too torrential, the hail too big, the wind too windy and the snow too deep.

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            • #7
              Yes, thinking about it, all the seed banks that keep seeds for future diversity deep freeze their seed packets

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              • #8
                This link might help ID the mites? It says at the end;
                If insects are infesting ornaments or decorations made with plant products or seeds, place the items in a freezer for at least four days.
                Insect pests of stored foods : Insects : University of Minnesota Extension

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                • #9
                  I had a problem with bean seeds once that I had in a swap. I did my homework and read it that you could just freeze them in a tub which would kill off anything that was in the seed. Take them out of the freezer keeping the tub closed until they were defrosted. They germinated fine.

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                  • #10
                    Should have read JJs post before posting!

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                    • #11
                      Thanks everyone
                      I had another trug of kale seedheads and they had the same little critturs in
                      I'm going to scatter the lot in the chook's spare run. If they grow, (the kale not the bugs) the chooks can scoff the lot. Don't want to pass on any infested seeds, nor do I want to store them.
                      Bit of wasted effort but never mind, there's always next year

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                      • #12
                        Would the seed sink if it was all put in a bucket of water.
                        But then, for the price of some seed, is it worth the effort?
                        I think your plan of the spare run sounds best.
                        Feed the soil, not the plants.
                        (helps if you have cluckies)

                        Man v Squirrels, pigeons & Ants
                        Bob

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                        • #13
                          I left my all my pea seeds hanging around too long drying and they got infested with bruchid beetles (aka pea and bean weevils, although they are not actually weevils). They were hatching out in front of my eyes, leaving great big holes in the seeds. I discovered the remedy is to freeze them exactly as you said, Scarlet, so I'm pleased to hear that yours germinated OK afterwards. And I'm hoping I still have some that haven't had all their innards eaten away. There could be some that look ok but have unhatched frozen beetles inside.

                          From what I read it seems that females will lay a few eggs in the pods before harvest, but mostly they multiply after harvesting. Sealing seeds into airtight containers, e.g. ziplock baggies, as soon as they are dry enough can also help to stop seed pests multiplying and contaminating other batches.

                          I don't know if mites can actually damage seeds or maybe they just eat the debris around them, but I think your seeds would be fine for sharing if you freeze them, VC. It would be a shame to waste them if they are rare varieties, especially since not many people bother to save brassica seeds.

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                          • #14
                            Freezing a couple of bugs won't hurt VC get some in the freezer..... I thought you loved experiments!

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                            • #15
                              OK, I'll bung some in the freezer and keep some out - then try germinating them - see whether there's a difference.
                              They're from my tall unknown variety perennial kale and Asparagus kale which is also several years old. They flowered at different times so shouldn't have crossed. However, I don't know which is which as I didn't bother to label them as I was going to chuck them.
                              So, even if they're viable and survive the freezer and the bugs, nobody will want them as they won't know what they are!!

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