Sunday, December 16, 2012

Arable Land: My Summer Wheat Project

Well, it is now official, the seeds are ordered! This Spring, Summer, and Fall, I am embarking on a new project, an experiment to grow a small plot of wheat in my backyard. Books and websites have been pored over and the research is in. It sounds like you can get a pretty decent yield of wheat from a 100 square foot plot of land. The first year might not be so good, as experience will help you get a bigger yield, but after awhile, you can expect to get about 90 cups of flour from 100 square feet. I have some friends on a farm who are also going to try to grow some as well, and they even have a flour mill that we can use to grind our wheat berries. This will be a project that I hope to document from preparing the soil, to the harvest, threshing, winnowing, and milling. Because we are growing small amounts, we will be doing most of the harvesting, threshing, and winnowing by hand, which should be quite the experience!
The seeds I have ordered are from Salt Spring Seeds and I have ordered two varieties: Chinook Wheat and Blue Tinge Ethiopian Wheat. We will see what variety does better here. Blue Tinge Ethiopian Wheat has one of the shortest growing seasons, so hopefully that will help in our Northern climate.

If you're interested in learning about growing wheat in small amounts, Dan Jason of Salt Spring Seeds writes a very informative article and there is also a good book called Homegrown Whole Grains by Sara Pitzer.
Stay tuned for more on our Arable Land Project!

4 comments:

  1. Cool, Kris! I'm excited to follow this project! Are the wheat varieties you've selected ancient grains or have they been hybridized to the point that they are not good for our health? (See Wheat Belly by William Davis)

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  2. They are not hybridized varieties, which is why we decided to do this project in the first place. The Chinook is a Canadian wheat which is from 1952 and the Blue Tinge Ethiopian is an old one, I believe.

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  3. Good for you! I'm looking forward to hearing all about it..
    We have about 7 cm of snow on the ground here on the Island, it's pretty but that's enough!

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  4. 7cm on the island! That's a lot of snow for there! We'll probably have at least 4 feet by the end of Winter. Gulp! But I like it, it just takes a really long time to melt. The first year I lived here I honestly thought the snow banks would be there all Summer long because they were so HUGE. But they were gone by the end of April.

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