Sunday 19 May 2019

Small Scale Grain

So my plans for growing some more calories on our smallholding has already hit some setbacks. I had planned to turn the front lawn over to growing some grains and started to grow some grains as plug plants in the green house but unfortunately the mice put pay to that idea. 

Sorting grain - hull less on the left and the ones with hulls on the right

They ate most of my wheat seed and all of the hull less oats that I had when I started them in cells in the greenhouse. I managed to get some hull less barley growing and enough wheat to make a triple row.

Luckily I kindly got sent some more hull less oats from the backyard larder. The seed she sent was not completely hull less so I decided to sort it out and only sow the ones without hulls, hoping to improve that trait.

Hull less barley on the right and on the left oats sown with mouse traps all around.

I've given a veg bed to growing half barley and half oats. Not enough for a huge harvest but hopefully enough to produce more seed to grow again next year. 

Hull less oats germinating, the mice have left these alone!
I've done much the same with the wheat and have squeezed in a triple row of April Awned wheat to grow and hopefully produce enough so I can do a full bed next year. It does look much further behind that what is in the fields locally though!

A triple row of April Awned Wheat to increase my seed numbers. 
Where I've had smaller amounts of seeds I've also grown some in pots. I've done this with the oats as a backup in the greenhouse and also with another type of barley (a short black sort) where the mice only left me a dozen seedlings.  Emmer Wheat is another that I've put into a large pot, mainly just so I can see how it grows in comparison to the April Awned Wheat.

A pot of hull less oats growing in the greenhouse as backup. 
So not how intended it to go this season but hopefully this year can be one where I learn lots about how grains grow up close and increase my seed bank to try again next year.

So who else has grown grains on this tiny scale?


  1. No, sowing the odd patch for the chickens is as far as I've gone. I'll be interested to see how your experiment goes.

  2. Grain is an excellent alternative to a front lawn! I've had my ups and downs with grain too. I think the challenge for my rice this summer is going to be the heat. We've entered into daily highs of above 32°C / 90° F, and it doesn't seem happy with that. I like your idea of using a pot to grow even a little. My rice beds are 4x16 feet. I have a packet of heirloom wheat and hulless oats, but I worry it may be too hot for them to plant as well.

  3. I do! Threshing out the small grains was my biggest road block. When I discovered a cheap 'Weed Whip' type leaf chopper, it solved my problems. I put the dried grain heads through it, and the string chopper knocks out the grain from the chaff. I winnow in the wind, and enjoy the marvelous taste of fresh grains. Keep trying; it IS worth it.

  4. Hello! I live in Arkansas the home of Riceland Rice & I wanted you to know that the heat is probably not the problem for your rice. In summer our temperatures very seldom below 90F and quite often over 100F - rice doesn't mind heat. Rice is the basic food crop of most tropical nations. What rice really, really needs is wet feet. How wet depends upon variety. Some will do with soggy soil - always damp. Some need actual inches of water - think shallow pool & how much depends again upon variety. However, just standing water is not good there also needs so be some movement - think the kind that comes with a small leak in that pool. Fields here are land leveled with lasers and gigantic land planes to get a slope that allows the water to move at the slow rate rice loves. If you do a search you should find tip & pointers that would be usable for your garden. At one time I had an old 4H guide to raising rice in pots but cannot find a link - every thing has been been updated :) I would suggest searching Southern Exposure Seed Exchange growing rice. Here is the link but with separations to avoid being spam www. southern exposure. com /blog/ 2017/ 08/ guide-to-growing-rice/ Hope that helps. My Dad tried growing rice in his garden in Illinois but keeping up with the watering was his trouble.


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