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Anyone growing grains?

Posted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:02 pm
by Handsomeryan
I'm playing with the idea of planting some small plots of barley, rye, wheat, and/or oats in my yard this year. I have been scouring the net looking for information on ultra-small scale grain production but I'm having trouble finding much modern info. Most of what I see is from the 70's and may be out of date.

• Anyone here growing grains as a part of their "vegetable" garden?

• What do you grow and what do use it for?

Outside of plant stuff I do a little home brewing and I'd love to try malting my own barley.

My biggest problem is the mechanization of modern grain production everything from planting to harvesting, and even milling is done by specialized machines that would not be cost effective to buy and I'm not even sure if you can rent them for 1-2 bushels of product.

Posted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:12 pm
by rootsy
I plant oats and peas which I later roll and crimp and then plant pumpkins into.

I also cover crop with annual rye planted in the fall and plowed under in the spring. Helps to build the soil and provides a good healthy boost to reduce salt based fertilizer use.

I also plant hairy vetch and red clover as well as oats for covers which act as weed suppression between plastic mulch rows. I cut the oats off and use them as straw cover over the plastic to keep the plastic from degrading. I also use oats between my strawberry ridges and accomplish the same thing.

Going to experiment with some vetch and oil seed radish on my sweet corn rotation if I can manage to get setup to no-til sweet corn. If I can't find a no-til planter reasonably enough by late summer I'll put it to annual rye and a legume and plow under in the spring.

If you are doing a small area of small grains and don't have a drill you can broadcast and drag a piece of chain link fence over it to work the seed in to protect it from being bird feed...

Posted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:19 pm
by applestar
I'm growing rice. There are threads from last year and the year before in the Permaculture Forum with details and photos. :wink:

I want to experiment with other grains too but space is a limiting factor.... :?

Re: Anyone growing grains?

Posted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:31 pm
by digitS'
. . .
• Anyone here growing grains as a part of their "vegetable" garden?

• What do you grow and what do use it for?

. . .[/quote]

I grow Black Tip wheat each year, usually between the ornamentals and the vegetable. It makes a buffer between the flowers where I spray with conventional "stuff" and the veggies which are grown organically. The wheat is used for ornamental purposes - wreathes and such. I also have been known to give some of the seed to my backyard hens :) .

I also grow Highlander foxtail millet each year for the same purposes. Foxtail millet is the spray millet you can buy at the pet shop for caged birds. I first bought the millet and wheat seed about 10 or 12 years ago and just save some seed every year for replanting.

This year, I have a little naked oats from Fedco -- Terra Hulless. I want to try it and see if it is useful without the milling ;) .


Posted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:49 pm
by Handsomeryan
I just spent $50 on Amazon buying (among other things) 2 books on small-scale grain growing. I guess I'll read them and maybe (if I have time) plant some very small test plots of a few things as a learning experience. By this fall I'll have read the books and can try even more things. I'm getting excited!

Posted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:57 pm
by applestar
Oh yeah. I've grown hulless oats. Just in tiny amounts. they slip right out of the ...husk? chaff? (not hull right? If it's hull less....) ?..whatever it's called -- when mature, and is actually delicious in the milky stage popped in the mouth. I think that's why I haven't been able to harvest more than a cup of grain or so -- just enough for next year's seed -- I keep snacking on them out in the garden. MMM... Grape tomatoes and green oats.... :wink:

I was experimenting with chaff removal and found that kneading them in a jellybag seemed to work, though I wonder if putting them through oat roller would also work....?

Posted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:47 am
by jal_ut
Growing grain is pretty easy. You can broadcast the seed and rake it in or harrow it if you have a harrows. The big problem is threshing it. You could bag the heads in a burlap bag and tromp on them to thresh it, then pour it into a bucket with a breeze blowing, to remove chaff.

It will take about 900 square feet planted to get a bushel of grain on good soil with adequate water.