We decided some years ago that we would try to grow our own grains at some point in the future. It was an unclear goal other than that. No plans for time, space, or even where to get the seeds. We bought a book on growing grains and read it but otherwise the project just floated in the ether.
Then this past Spring, during my annual seed catalogue hunt, I found buckwheat seeds from a new seed supplier. Of course I ordered them without giving much thought to where I was going to plant them. Luck would have it PeterC had decided he was willing to build two new raised beds to extend our garden space. And voilà, we had space for the buckwheat.
It turns out buckwheat is pretty easy to grow. Or at least we have been lucky this year. It was slow to start because we had a cold snap in May, but now it is growing happily and has already started blooming. Having never seen buckwheat grown much less bloom I am quite interested in how it looks through out its life cycle.
Surprisingly, the sprouts look a lot like beans. The plants are tall and kind of thin looking but the flowers are very pretty. Several sites say that honey bees love the flowers of the buckwheat plant. That makes me very happy, though those same honey bees seem pretty intent on coming into the house. Maybe I should add a beehive to the garden area and give them someplace to swarm and live.
So we have officially started our grain growing project. Once the buckwheat has been harvested and the soil tilled deeply to turn under the left over leaves we are going to find a supplier for wheat, rye, or oats and see about growing them. It will be interesting to see just how much grain we can get from a 3 x 6 ft raised bed.