|This would be "the chaff"|
Mustard is a rather small seed that grows into a grass-like self-seeding annual shrub. It's incredibly easy to grow, and because it's so tall and bushy, I like to use it around my tomatoes to shield them from insects that are looking for, well, tomatoes.** Some people chop the young leaves into salads while others save the seeds to make Dijon mustard. I'm going with the latter, as I had enough beet greens this year that I never even tried mustard leaves.
Over the course of its 4-month life, mustard can grow 6 or 7 feet high. But it won't grow straight up: rather will tend to fall over toward the end of its growth, when it shoots out what look like a million little pods that weigh it down. Each pod contains a half-dozen seeds, maybe a few more. Yeah, you're gonna need a lot of them.
There are a couple ways to harvest. You can wait until the entire plant turns brown and yank it all. That's probably the most efficient way, and you'll drop enough seed that you're guaranteed to not have to plant in that spot next year. I prefer to snip the dried stalks right down to the main stem with a pair of scissors while leaving the maturing ones in place.
Once you get a bowl full of those, twist and smash and roll and crush the plants with your hands. If the pods are dry, you'll soon hear the seeds rolling around the bowl. Twist it all again and throw anything that smells like hay onto the compost pile.
|"the smallest of all garden seeds..."|
Now, get a second bowl, and in a light wind or in front of a fan pour the seeds a few times from one bowl to the other. This will blow away the remaining chaff, leaving you only the seeds. If your pods were dry enough to crush easily, your seeds are dry enough to store immediately. I just put them in a recycled vitamin bottle and mark them with the year.
This will not only be my seed for next year, but my base for this totally bitchin' Dijon recipe I'll be trying this winter. But next year I may move the mustard away from the tomatoes, as once they fall over they make it impossible to mow anywhere close to the raised beds. OTOH my tomatoes look great so far. We'll have to see how they prosper now that the mustard is no longer hiding them from the bad bugs.
* If you need to get straightened out, El Borak the bible expositor can help.
** I'm not sure if it works, but it makes it hard for me to find tomatoes, so it must be hard for bugs, right?
*** Jesus said as much.