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How to Farm Grass Seeds

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How to Farm Grass Seeds

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Overview

Grass seed can be a farm crop in the same way that wheat and catgrass can. If you want to try farming grass seed as a hobby farm, it is possible once initial preparations have been made. With a few common tools found in most garden or home stores you can be farming grass seed from raw ground in under two years from the initial planting of the cultivars.

Planting

Step 1

Locate the growing area. Choose an open area where full sunlight can reach the grass at least half the day. Look for an area away from homes or other occupied buildings because tall grass will attract small creatures such as field mice, snakes, and spiders which could find their way into the building.

Step 2

Till the ground with the rototiller to a depth of 6 inches. This will prepare the soil for the seeds to be planted. Add a fertilizer or compost layer over the soil. Till the fertilizer or compost into the soil to add nutrients into the soil as needed.

Step 3

Plant the seeds using a seed spreader. Overseed the area to make sure you have complete coverage of the entire area. Water the area until the ground is moist but does not have standing water. Continue watering the ground to keep the ground moist and allow the grass to establish itself.

Harvesting

Step 1

Mow the grass as you normally would from the last frost until the ground temperature reaches 65 degrees F. This will allow the grass to sustain itself. Make sure the grass gets ample sun and water so it can produce seeds later.

Step 2

Stop mowing when the temperature gets warm enough. Allow the grass to grow to maturity. You will see blooms on the heads of the grass blades; grass types have different types of flowers depending on the species of grass. Look for seeds on the heads about three weeks later. This will be about 30 days after the last frost of the winter.

Step 3

Check the seeds. When the seeds are ready they will shatter. Pick off a seed head from a blade of grass. Place it in your palm. Strike the seed with your other hand. If the seed shatters it is mature. Test 10 seeds using this method to ensure the crop is ready.

Step 4

Harvest the grass seed.This can be accomplished by hand or by machine. Hand harvesting will get the most seeds while machine harvesting is faster and covers more ground.

Step 5

Pick the seeds by hand. Hold the blade at the base of the inflorescence where the flowers are attached to the stem. Run your hand upwards to allow the seeds to fall into your hand. Put the seeds into a cloth sack or other container. Continue this process with each grass plant.

Step 6

Use a lawn mower with a mulching bagger when machine harvesting. Mow the grass at the highest blade setting on the mower. This reduces the amount of grass blades mixed in with the grass seed. Remove the bag when it is full. Set up gravel sifter with a fine wire screen. Place a box underneath the sifter. Pour the contents of the bag on the sifter. Shake the screen sideways and back and forth to force the seeds through into the box below. Continue mowing and sifting until the area is mowed.

Step 7

Store the grass seed. Choose a dry cool location to store the grass seeds. Set the seed containers on shelving to keep out moisture and pests that might feed on the seeds if they were set on the ground or floor. Grass seeds will have a shelf life of up to one year depending on the variety of seed.

Things You'll Need

  • Rototiller
  • Grass seed
  • Fertilizer or compost
  • Mulching mower
  • Mower bag
  • Box or cloth bag
  • Screening box
  • Fine wire screen
  • Catch box
  • Indoor shelving

References

  • All About Lawns: Planting by Seed
  • Government of Alberta: Harvesting Grass Seed
Keywords: grass seed farming, farm grass seeds, harvesting grass seed

About this Author

Jack S. Waverly is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer who has written hundreds of articles relating to business, finance, travel, history and health. His current focus is on pets, gardens, personal finance and business management. Waverly has been writing online content professionally since 2007 for various providers and websites.