Seed Cleaning & Drying Equipment

To clean and dry the seeds you’ve spent hours and hours collecting, you’ll need a few pieces of simple equipment. While I was able to purchase the small screens, they are easy enough to make and I’ve noticed the prices have increased substantially since I purchase those small black ones. 

Small Seed Screens

These are idea for screening the chaff from very small seeds. Once they have been run through the hammermill, seeds such as Penstemon, Great blue lobelia, Tall bellflower (to mention a few) are perfect for shifting over these screens.

I place 2 wooden 1×1″ pieces over a tote and scoop the hammermilled seeds onto the screen, then shake. The seeds fall into the tote and the chaff remains on the screen and gets put aside for spreading later.

Seed cleaning screens
Step 2: Rubbing them across the screens releases the seeds into the plastic bin

Seeds with Fluff Screens

This is made from hardware cloth. I have 2 different sizes and use them both, but do find I use this larger size more often. These are built to fit snugly over a tote so they don’t move around and/or fall onto the ground when I’m scraping the seeds over them.

I use these screens mostly for removing fluff from seeds such as goldenrod, Kuhnia, or ironweed.

The fluff and seeds fall into the tote and the stems remain on top. They are then placed into the chaff container and spread around later. I don’t spend the time to make sure every seed is off. I get the majority of them and move on!


This screening piece is made with hardware cloth and designed to fit on top of a plastic bin. Two sizes are most useful, one with ¼” hardware cloth and one with ½” hardware cloth. This is very economical to make.

Seed Drying Containers

Drying the seed once it is collected and before it is cleaned is imperative. You don’t want your hours and hours of hard work to get moldy. Stirring these up these each day needs to be done, too, to make sure all seeds have an chance to dry. 

We use small kiddie swimming pools, various size totes, tarps when we have large collections, buckets, paper bags, and just about any container that sufficiently allows the seeds to air dry. You want to ensure the seeds are not tightly packed while they are drying. 

Seeds drying in the sun
Variety of sizes and shapes for drying seeds