For the past couple of years I've been trying to produce seed for myself. So far I've been focusing upon the bulky seed that usually costs the most to ship here to Hawaii. Beans. Peas. Potatoes. (I'm not yet growing much corn.)
After a bit of a learning curve, I now have things down pat when it comes to most bean seed, peas, and potatoes. I'm also successful with many herbs and radishes. It's routine now.
Just recently I harvested quite a bit of bean seed. After sorting through the finished seed, I stored four quart jars in the frig for future plantings. This left me with a bit more than a cupful of rejects -- seeds that were discolored, had dark spots on them, were smaller than others, were misshapened, or had some other defect. Seed companies just throw these away, but I wanted to know what would happen if I planted them. They represent about $7 in seed if I had had to purchase them (of course, assuming that they were good quality). Why throw $7 away?
Now......I only planned to grow these seeds for cropping, that is, not seed saving. No sense in selecting for plants that might reproduce small or deformed beans. But if I could get edible beans from them or at least plants to feed to the livestock, then I'd be happy. So I went ahead and planted some.
Except for a few misses, the beans germinated fine. So far the plants look normal. So it looks like I'll get an edible crop out of them.
Another use for reject seed would be to plant them in the pastures. Nothing lost by opening up a shallow trench, plopping in seed, covering it up. When it germinates, the livestock will find a treat on their next pasture rotation. I feel it's a better use of the seed than to simply chuck them into the newest compost pile.
Just another example of zero waste and utilizing one's resources on hand.