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Seeds to use and where to get 'em

A discussion of seeds used in the Minnesota State Fair Crop Art exhibit written by David Steinlicht in 2014, and not endorsed or approved by the Minnesota State Fair. For the official rules, go to www.mnstatefair.org/competitions/ag-hort-bee/crop-art-and-scarecrow The Fair usually posts guidelines for the upcoming competition in the spring of each year. If you still have questions after reading the current rules on the Fair website, you can direct questions to competition@mnstatefair.org.

Where do you get these exotic seeds?

After each seed I'll put a symbol noting where you can get the seed.

(C) = Food co-ops

(P) = Pet food stores (for bird seed)

(X) = Farmer's seed exhanges (for unusual seeds)

Note: Exotic seeds can also be purchased online. Google the name of the seed and -- good luck!

[Editor's note: You might want to call a feed store before making a long drive because some only sell seeds in multi-pound quantities.]

Good seeds

There are very specific guidelines as to what seeds allowed to make up the entries in the Minnesota State Fair's Crop Art Exhibit.

The main requirement is the seeds should be able to grow in Minnesota -- whether they are grown as a crop or not. The rule book states that "seeds, stems, heads or panicles and fruiting bodies or structures" of the following plants are allowable in Crop Art:

  • oats (C)
  • wheat (C)
  • barley (C)
  • flax (C)
  • rye (C)
  • corn (P)
  • soybeans (C)
  • navy, lima, kidney and other "field beans" (C)
  • pinto beans (C)
  • sunflowers (C) (P)
  • common buckwheat (C)
  • field peas (C) (X)
  • millets (C) (X)
  • safflower (C)
  • sorghum (C)
  • sugar beat (C)
  • sudan grass (C)
  • common forage grasses (X)
    (timothy, bluegrass, bornegrass, and wild grasses, etc.)
  • clovers (X)
  • alfalfa (X)
  • wild rice (C)

Good seeds not specifically mentioned in the rule book

There are other seeds that seem to be allowed. While not listed in the rules, they are commonly used in seed art pictures at the Crop Art Exhibit. These seeds are:
  • Amaranth (C)
  • Canola or rape seed (X)
  • green, red and French green lentils (C)
  • popcorn (C)
  • quiona (C)

Okay seeds

Processed grains are allowed, but only on 20 percent of a Crop Art picture. These are particularly tempting to use, as there are few small, white seeds.

  • Cream of Wheat
  • corn grits
  • corn meal

The bad seeds

Weed seeds are not allowed.

White rice, sesame seeds, and yellow mustard seeds are not allowed. (Yellow mustard seed will be accepted in exhibits for 2023. However, it will not be allowed in 2024.)

Weird seeds

There are a couple categories in Crop Art in which you can use "seeds, stems, heads or panicles and fruiting bodies or structures" of forest, tree and shrub plants.

[tiny seed]

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