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Growing grain

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posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 09:26 PM
Anyone on here have experience growing grains? I am interested in any tips on growing a small amount of grain (prob 1/2 - 1 acre) for home/livestock use. Most interested in wheat and naked oats. Maybe some field corn. I have read a good bit on the subject but I don't know a lot about the plants themselves (ok i have grown corn, but not oats or wheat. mostly a veggie grower here). Are these grains usually open-pollinated? If i go to an elevator/farmer supply am i more likely to encounter hybrid varieties? I want OP varieties so i can save back seed for planting each year.

Any advice appreciated..

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 10:36 PM
Off topic maybe but I bought a few acres with no idea what I was going to grow on it..... I am NOT a farmer at all so I decided that it would be in my best interest to plant fruit trees, grape vines, pumpkins, watermelons and potatoes as these require the least amount of care.

posted on Dec, 8 2008 @ 07:46 AM
Potatoes are a great staple, that's a really good choice. Most of my soil is pretty rocky so I thought I would give grains a try. I tried potatoes this year in my prime improved garden area but the results were disappointing, and i lost time to grow tomatoes and peppers that usually go there. Maybe I will give them another try next year, but they'll have to have their own bed.

I would like to put in fruit trees myself and hope to experiment with seedling pecans in some areas soon. Some fruit trees take a lot of care if you want really top grade fruit but I don't know myself how much of that is necessary. I grow my veggies with minimal chemicals, so I am willing to have weird blemished fruits. If I ever get any fruit trees, I know they will be a test for that precept.

We have mustang grapes in the area and they make a great jelly. No luck this year due to drought. I wonder if it would be worthwhile to try to 'tame' a few vines to a more accesible location for a little better care?

I love pumpkins and winter squash. Heck, they are huge space hogs, but they just make me happy. Those big vines and leaves are so satisfying. Anyway... have been told with the right varieties and best care you are getting maximum edible flesh per square foot anyway. And you can use pumpkin in so many ways, not just pie. My trick this year, I planted them on the edge of one of my raised beds and let the vines grow out away from the rest of the garden. Shoot, they hardly shaded any of my other plants.

Your choices sound good! Farming is just an experiment every year for me but I learn a little more each season.


posted on Dec, 8 2008 @ 01:07 PM
Ive grown a little bit of grain, and plan to scale it up this year. Each area and soil are different, and I'm by no means a pro at this, but did manage an ok crop. Instead of trying to type out what I did, check out this link

Granted its written for Canada, but gives a good basis for starting this project.

Also, as for your potatoes in rocky soil. Use tires. Start with one tire and your seed potatoes, when the greens get tall enough, add another tire and more dirt. Ive gone 5 tires high in the past. Great results and doesnt take up a ton of space.

posted on Dec, 8 2008 @ 03:53 PM
Thanks for the link Salchanra! Very appreciated. It sounds like you were not discouraged by your experiences with grain. That's good news. Any other plans for your next harvest, other than to plant more of it?

I have read a bit about growing potatoes in tires, but was always somewhat skeptical. With a real recommendation on this, I think I will give it a try this year as we always have too many old tires. Plus it has the added benefit of keeping the potatoes away from my other nightshades while beating the hard work of digging a special bed for them.

Great advice, thank you!

posted on Dec, 8 2008 @ 05:57 PM
I had a friend 2 summers ago use the tire idea as well as a more traditional plot, the tires did much better. I would attribute it to the ammount of heat they retain as well as water that isnt lost. Also, harvesting is easy. Just remove the tire, grab the potatoes, no digging required.

My gardening plans, which started very small and humble years back has sadly morphed into a year round nightmare of attempting to grow not just more food, but more varieties.

Just in grains, this coming summer I am looking at wheat, barley, hops, oats, rye, and of course corn (human and field). If you consider corn a grain.

Only good advice I have, is talk with local farmers and farm supply stores, these people have been doing this longer and better than newbies like us. They will know what types of bugs and dieseses you need to watch out for as well as what produces the best in your area. After you get the basics and can grow them with relative confidence, then you can branch out and experiment with more exotics.

There is a small shallow pond near my property, I have considered trying rice, but I have enough going without attempting that.

In the past, I havent dedicated much property to growing grains, I have bartered with some farmers I know, but with the world going the way it is, I'd rather learn how to do it better now, instead of when I really need to know it.

posted on Dec, 8 2008 @ 07:09 PM
Hi again Salchanra, so glad you responded, you are a big help.

Yes the grain bug has really bitten me - a high priority on my self-reliance/survival plan. There's just not loads of information on it - I guess growing grain is not so popular. You're right though, it's something that needs to be learned sooner, not later.

If I'm not getting too nosey here, how much space are you devoting to your grain? Are you using a tractor for any of the work or is it all done by hand at present? I haven't decided on the size of my plot yet (although i have a pretty good idea of where it is going to go) but I think I am going to just get the soil cultivated with the tractor and do the rest by hand for this first try. Hopefully not getting in over my head here.

Also are you growing awnless barley and the hull-less type oat or just the normal types? They sound great and I was wondering if there were any disadvantages to these that I haven't read about. I guess for starters I will do what you suggest and hit up the local feed and seed for local variety info.

I had to laugh at your comment on year-round variety nightmare. Heh heh... glad I am not alone there. Sheesh, i have some seed collection. And the seed catalogs that come in... whew. Seriously, it's like I have OCD or something. My excuse is that I am researching and refining what varieties grow best in my microclimate. LOL.

I think you should try the rice. I have heard that you don't necessarily have to flood your plot but that it helps with weed and pest control. Is that so? And how about quinoa, have you considered that one? (Ah sorry, slipped into enabler mode there.)

Thanks again,

posted on Dec, 9 2008 @ 11:09 AM
Last year I didnt give it much space at all, maybe a few rows here and there, but I tend to start small whenever I try something new. For instance 2 lemon and 2 banana plants next year. Im almost afraid they will do well, I can forsee myself building a year round heated space just for them.

This year I plan on giving up alot more space, upwards of a quarter to half an acre. I just sowed the seed last year, but will till the ground this year, virgin ground so I wont add anything fancy, just cow and turkey manure. I have this bad feeling that either I produce nothing or am swamped.

Since you have rocky soil however, a tractor may not be a bad way to go.

I grew pretty basic stuff last year, sometime this winter Ill chat with a few farmers to see what they produce as to preferred types of grains, I expect two summers from now I start freelancing in this regard.

Havent given any thought to quinoa, simply too much on my plate as it is. Want to stick with the "normal" stuff first, maybe some day.

I really wanted to try rice this year, but again, between my garden plans, my small quanity of livestock I want to add to and trying to actually enjoy summer, I have to draw the line somewhere and remind myself this is a hobby, not my job.

It is easy to get carried away as far as plants/seeds etc... But Ive always believed an hour in the garden is better than on a shrinks couch. Also, paging through all the catalogs gives me something warm to think about during my long cold winter season.

posted on Dec, 10 2008 @ 03:18 PM
"But Ive always believed an hour in the garden is better than on a shrinks couch."

Well put, Salchanra.

Good luck with your farmstead - please post your results if you get time. It's very encouraging to read about others' experiences.
Happy catalog-ing.


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