The Yellow Farmhouse Garden

October 9, 2013

Growing winter wheat in your garden

Filed under: Grain — bob @ 10:31 am

I’ve had people ask me if it is possible to grow their own wheat.

Actually you can grow wheat in small, garden-sized areas using the gardening tools you already have. In Michigan we grow soft winter wheat. So, what does that mean?

Wheat is classified into six general types — or classes: Hard red spring wheat is the type we see most often in the grocery store, it is ground into flour used to make bread; hard red winter wheat is made into all-purpose flour; soft red winter wheat is used for cake and pastry flour; soft white wheat is used pretty much like soft red winter wheat; hard white wheat is also used for some types of breads and is closely related to hard red wheat; durum wheat is used for making pasta.

Even if you don’t want to grow wheat to make into flour, it is still useful to grow in the garden. It makes an excellent over-winter cover crop that helps to scavenge minerals from the soil. Then, when you till in the plants, ┬áthose minerals are made available for next year’s crops.

Winter wheat grows thick roots that, along with the tops, add organic material to to garden. It also will keep annual weeds from growing in the spring until you are ready to till an area.

Farmers plant around two million wheat kernels per acre.

Right now is the optimum time to plant winter wheat in our area. Mid to late-September is called “the Hessian Fly free date”.

Hessian Fly is a serious pest in wheat that can drastically reduce wheat yields, although it is not as serious a problem now as it was in years past.

Wheat is fairly simple to grow in a garden. First, till an area as you would for planting vegetables or flowers. Then spread wheat seed evenly over the area by hand or with a seed spreader. For a 10 x 10 foot area use about a quarter pound of seed or a little more to allow for losses from birds or uneven planting.

Lightly roto-till the area so that the seeds are covered by an inch of soil. Finally, press down the seeded area with a lawn roller to make sure the wheat seed has good contact with the soil.

It won’t be long before the seed germinates and you’ll have a nice green stand of growing wheat.

Your amber waves of grain won’t be ready for harvest until the middle of next summer.

Bob

2 Comments »

  1. How do I order wheat products from you? Are you the ones on TV that sell the flour and wheat berries? 843-619-1663

    Comment by barbara perry — March 25, 2015 @ 7:34 am

  2. Hi Barbara,
    We are not the ones that sell the wheat you are referring to. That is something we may do in the future. Thanks for you inquiry. Bob

    Comment by bob — March 29, 2015 @ 3:31 pm

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