Sunday, May 20, 2007

Growing Breakfast

Last summer I found a number of grains had germinated under the birdfeeder and I let them grow on. I realized how ignorant I am when it comes to identifying grasses/grains so I set about collecting and studying them, learning about awns and glumes and so on. The photos above are about as far as I got. Before long though I decided that I want to try to grow my own porridge (well,at least a few bowlsfull) and have now taken delivery of a packet of hulless oats and one of hulless barley. I did thresh (and thrash) the quarter cup of grain that grew last summer but the gruel was inedible - just a mouthful of hulls. These varieties should be easier to deal with. It's difficult to find much advice in any gardening books but I guess the idea is to sow it in September or thereabouts and harvest next June.

2 comments:

Patrick said...

I'm also experimenting with grains, spelt at the moment. I'll be interested in how you get on with it.

I'm going to try making something like this (top of page) to hull and mill my spelt:

http://www.plantsciences.ucdavis.edu/LTRAS/
itech/thresh.html

I suggest the first year to grow the grains in rows about 12 inches apart with seed spacing about 1 inch. That's what I did last year with the spelt, and it seems to be working well. When you have saved seed for replanting, and you are doing it on a larger scale, you could try broadcasting the seed into an open space.

Like grass, grains will use a lot of water, so you don't want to plant it so densely it uses all available water or it may die.

Maybe you've already seen it, but Salt Spring Seeds has some information on their web site.

MissHathorn said...

Thanks Patrick
It looks like a meatgrinder with a rubber ring, I'll see if I can make it work.