The Survival Podcast Forum

Farm, Garden and The Land => Gardening and Agriculture => Topic started by: Bighorn on October 08, 2008, 08:10:56 PM

Title: Who grows Wheat??
Post by: Bighorn on October 08, 2008, 08:10:56 PM
I just read an article in Backwoods Home Magazine about growing grain. It sounds like it might be easier than growing a garden do I am thinking about getting a plot going in the spring.
Is it common for homesteaders to grow grain or is it easier to buy it?

Title: Re: Who grows Wheat??
Post by: archer on October 08, 2008, 09:03:51 PM
Good question, anyone have any experience with this?
Title: Re: Who grows Wheat??
Post by: DeltaEchoVictor on October 08, 2008, 09:38:00 PM
Not wheat, but here's something I'm thinking of growing.  Amaranthus Caudatus (, Amaranthus Cruentus (, & Amaranthus Hypochondriacus (  Amaranth seems like the perfect grain/greens plant to grow.  Virtually the whole plant is edible, depending on the variety.  I particularly like the Loves Lies Bleeding variety because I could grow it in the yard as an ornamental & then harvest the grain.
Title: Re: Who grows Wheat??
Post by: JetstreamJonny on October 09, 2008, 11:01:42 AM
I've grown wheat on an area of about 1/2 an acre. It grew well but it was problematic for several reasons. I had trouble getting traditional long stemmed varieties which can be stooked easily and which can be used more readily for other things like thatching. All I could get was the short stemmed wheat that farmers grow around here. I grew and ripened well but the simple fact that is was short stemmed caused me harvesting problems. Unless you have specialist equipment (i.e. A combine harvester!) it is a very labour intensive crop. I used a hedge trimmer cutter bar mounted on the back of a tractor to cut it (could have used a scythe which is much more satisfying but very hard work) and then gathered it up by hand into bundles. Then it has to be threshed and the grain collected and separated from the straw which I didn't really know how to do - I suppose a tarp would do it. Then it needs to be stored and ground. In honesty it was a bit of a halfhearted attempt and I never got as far as producing any flour from it - in the end I think we just let the pigs on it!
My experience was that it's a lot of hard work for a relatively small return and I could produce a lot more food from that half acre by growing other crops.
Having said that, there is something rather romantic and traditional about growing wheat!
Cheers - Jon
Title: Re: Who grows Wheat??
Post by: archer on October 09, 2008, 11:19:58 AM
Thanks for telling us your experiences JetstreamJonny! Very good to know...  I'll have to look up the difference between short and long stemmed wheat.
Title: Re: Who grows Wheat??
Post by: JetstreamJonny on October 09, 2008, 01:48:26 PM
As far as I know it's a result of modern agriculture - I live in an big arable farming area and over the years wheat stems have got shorter and shorter as seed companies modify them. Wheat is big business and a lot of effort has been put into increasing yields. Short stemmed varieties are less prone to wind damage and expend less energy producing stems and more producing grain. Most wheat stems now are no more than 18" high. There must be longer varieties grown somewhere as there are still a lot of thatched houses in my part of the country and they use longer straw. In times past when wheat was cut by hand (perhaps 80 - 100 years ago) wheat was very tall - if you look at old photos of cut wheat stacked in stooks to dry in the fields they are at least four feet high.
I'd be interested to know if those old varieties still exist.
Title: Re: Who grows Wheat??
Post by: archer on October 09, 2008, 03:25:39 PM
Hmm, I'm interested to know if it still does also.... I don't like using the modern 're-manufactured' seeds.
Title: Re: Who grows Wheat??
Post by: spartan on October 12, 2008, 07:50:56 PM
Here is a source for some "heirloom" grains. (

I planted my first crop of spelt this fall.  It went in on Sept 28 and is currently about 6" high.  I am using it as a cover crop/green manure so will not be taking it through to full maturity.
Title: Re: Who grows Wheat??
Post by: claytonpiano on October 21, 2008, 11:19:36 AM
We're growing wheat now. It is easy to plant if you have one of those attachments that airates the soil. The little holes that result hold the wheat in the ground so that it doesn't wash away much like a drill that a larger scale farmer uses. The trick to the wheat is that you pick it when it is still just slightly green. Otherwise as you are cutting it with your weed eater or whatever, the seeds will fall out of the dried stems. We use what we are planting as chicken forage so we really don't care if the seeds fall out or not. It is pretty tough to thresh and get the seeds out. I suppose you could do it in a survival situation, but it is really labor intensive. My recommendation. Store wheat.
Title: Re: Who grows Wheat??
Post by: Lowdown3 on November 03, 2008, 07:43:02 AM
Have some oats going in a couple of the garden plots right now. It will be time real soon here to plant wheat also.

Sure it's cheap to buy and you should have a good supply of it in storage, but sooner or later your going to need to grow some. This takes a decent amount of space. Contrary to popular belief a 10'x10' section of wheat is NOT a year's supply.

Here's how to process it by hand-