Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Growing grains such as wheat, oats, corn - anybody here do that?  (Read 6569 times)

Dreich Pete

  • Joined Jan 2014
  • Aberdeenshire
There isn't a forum section for this sort of thing so I've used the nearest thing (I think) - vegetables.

Does anybody here grow their own grains on a small scale? I'm especially interested in hearing from anybody in the north east of Scotland or with a similar climate, but any tales of attempts or regular success would be good.

I've got about one acre that I could put to use for them and I don't really need a large crop so could split that into 4 or 5 sections and rotate. This is in addition to the vegetable patches and poly tunnel, but I'd love to give them a go.

My wish list is probably oats, wheat, corn, and barley. Hops would be great but I suspect they need a much milder climate given that they're only really grown in Kent in the UK.

Clarebelle

  • Joined Jan 2013
  • Orkney
Re: Growing grains such as wheat, oats, corn - anybody here do that?
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2014, 07:04:52 pm »
Hi Pete,
I have never tried to grow wheat or similar but i move to Orkney in two weeks and will have a 2 acre paddock. I have decided to split the field into 6 and rotate it with a herbal ley, some kind of wheat or similar and pig enclosure. My plan is to be able to keep the small acreage i have in good condition for grazing a few sheep by replenishing areas with the pigs and also cutting some straw/hay on non grazing years.

It will be a complete experiment and i have no idea how successful i will be but i look forward to hearing advise from other smallholders who have grown stuff like that on a small scale. I would be interested to know if a 1/3 acre of wheat would give me enough to grind my flour for a year?

RUSTYME

  • Joined Oct 2009
.
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2014, 07:54:41 pm »
Hello peeps , i have no idea how well , or even if ? , wheat will grow that far north , but i have grown small amounts of wheat , oats , barley ,and rye , off and on over the years .
I grow an old variety of wheat called ' square heads master' . It is from the mid 1800's and grows to about 5'-6' tall .
Most of the grains give about 1 1/2 - 2 tons of grain per acre , plus about the same in straw .
The actual amount will depfend on soil type , soil fertility , weather , altitude , variety , whether they are winter or spring sown types .
An easy way to work out how much you may get is to say upto 1lb of grain per sq yd at harvest .
 My winter sown wheat rotted under water this year , previous years cows have had it , horses , sheep etc , nothing is a cert , lol .
 How much you need for your flour depends on how much you use , ;-) , if you use 2lb per week then you need 104lb per year . So at 1lb per sq yd that would be just over 10 yds x 10 yds , an acre is just under 70 yds x 70 yds .
You may not get a full 1lb per sq yd , so best double the area you grow , the surplus can go to feed any animals you have .  Cheers , Russ .

shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Growing grains such as wheat, oats, corn - anybody here do that?
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2014, 08:05:17 pm »
its mainly barley grown here in Aberdeenshire.
whats the plan for the labour part then? have you a tiller/rotavator? would be labour intensive without but if you watch "Far fromt he madding crowd" - you will see how its done with a scythe!  lol

you will have to keep us updated on your new adventure Clarebelle. good luck with the move!!
 :excited:

Dreich Pete

  • Joined Jan 2014
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Growing grains such as wheat, oats, corn - anybody here do that?
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2014, 09:30:11 pm »
I've got the rotavator for the soil work and as I'm only looking to do a few hundred square foot, I thought I'd scythe it. It's a days work but the satisfaction would be priceless. I quite fancy putting wheat or barley to use in some beer.

HesterF

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Kent
  • HesterF
Re: Growing grains such as wheat, oats, corn - anybody here do that?
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2014, 11:00:56 pm »
Hops can cope with cold I think - they grow so many in Bavaria which gets a lot of snow in winter - but I think they need a decent summer. I think there aren't so many in Kent anymore although so many originated here - but they are grown on a small scale in places up to the midlands I think. The one thing they really don't like is wind. I looked into growing them but we're pretty exposed at the moment so I've put that on hold. Mind you, I've spent the day planting a 300m windbreak for our vineyard so once that's a bit bigger, I might work out whether I can work some hops into the plan too.

shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Growing grains such as wheat, oats, corn - anybody here do that?
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2014, 11:05:40 pm »
I had visions of doing the same when we first moved here. pete, you should keep a photo diary so we can watch the progress  :thumbsup:

Dreich Pete

  • Joined Jan 2014
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Growing grains such as wheat, oats, corn - anybody here do that?
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2014, 11:16:37 pm »
Hops don't like wind, you say? Well that's out then. We get plenty of that, mostly coming down off the Cairngorm mountains. Very strong and mostly from one direction. I could trellis them along the south facing house wall which is partially sheltered from wind, and I suppose they might look nice there.

You're right about the photos. I've been a bit lax on that. I should have a wee blog too.

pgkevet

  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Growing grains such as wheat, oats, corn - anybody here do that?
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2014, 09:06:55 am »
Can i ask the practical questins of where to buy small quantities of named varieties of cereal seed and how you cope with the obviosu issue of birds eating the seed: treated? netting? oversowing?

henchard

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Carmarthenshire
    • Two Retirees Start a New Life in Wales
    • Facebook
Re: Growing grains such as wheat, oats, corn - anybody here do that?
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2014, 02:00:59 pm »
My first reaction was why on earth would you want to? Especially with the weather problems and how would you harvest it etc.

Scotland has traditionally grown oats and barley rather than wheat as the former are better suited to the wet climate; oats are associated with porridge and barley with whisky of course. Wheat grown in Scotland is unlikely to have enough protein for bread making.

Personally I'd rather grow more traditional vegetables on the land and buy my flour etc. (but then I do tend to take the line of least resistance!)

However a bit of Googling brought me to 'Bere Barley'http://www.scottishlandraces.org.uk/barley.htm

Orkney college is doing some work into this and looking at other varieties of cereals suitable for growing in the north of Scotland

http://www.orkney.uhi.ac.uk/studying-at-oc/departments/agronomy

Perhaps it might be worth getting in touch to find out more?

RUSTYME

  • Joined Oct 2009
.
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2014, 02:44:56 pm »
I can understand the 'why would you want to ?' question , but that applies to all veg and stock , why bother , buy organic etc . Horses for courses and so on .
My aim is to grow pesticide and herbicide free , non gm , clean food . If others don't want that , that's fine , buy it in the shop .
Modern varieties of grain 'tend' to be geared to modern farming methods  , give higher yields of grain with less straw , but may require pesticide herbicides and fertilizer .
I try to get old varieties , like the wheat , sq heads master , but only modern varieties are on the ' legal' list of agri seeds for sale . I got my wheat seed by buying it as chicken food , although i got it from a thatcher who grows it for the straw .
Keeping birds off very small areas of sown grain would be best covered with a net . Larger areas just sow and harrow in  and then do what you can to keep them off while it germinates etc , oversow by 1/4 helps if  pestered by birds .

Dreich Pete

  • Joined Jan 2014
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Growing grains such as wheat, oats, corn - anybody here do that?
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2014, 03:21:50 pm »
Why? Why not?

I have time on my hands and a desire to do something special with my land (and my life), so although the effort required is clearly significant and shopping for flour etc is simple and cheap, the satisfaction that would come from brewing my own beer or making a bowl of porridge from my own field would be immense.

This morning I happened to speak to my next door neighbour who not only knows the area from living here for a while, but he  also worked on the nearby estate and he was telling me (before I mentioned the grain idea) that he remembers me growing wheat, barley and oats on what is currently my meadow, and that the last crop in here was tatties. Good to know what does grow here.

Now I just have to get my rotavator working again and mark out a couple of 1/4 acrea plots to start working over.

That's an interesting link, thanks.

Clarebelle

  • Joined Jan 2013
  • Orkney
Re: Growing grains such as wheat, oats, corn - anybody here do that?
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2014, 04:44:05 pm »
same sentiments here. No idea if it will work but I'd love to try! I was already aware of the bere barley they grow in Orkney and i'd love to grow some. The more I can supplement my holding with stuff i have grown myself then the better, I don't mind admitting I'd like to at least know how to grow something like wheat or barley in readiness for when tshtf

polaris

  • Joined Mar 2014
Re: Growing grains such as wheat, oats, corn - anybody here do that?
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2014, 12:20:06 pm »
I'm doing a small "test patch" in our last raised bed this year, as we've nothing else urgent and like you I'd love to try it just for the satisfaction.... Yes I probably will buy a lot if flour etc in but that one meal I make with my own stuff be priceless by comparison and I will always remember it ever if it's rotten :)

I am definitely a "path of least resistance" kind of person, I'm 22 and down an out lazy if I'm honest but I hav every moment under the sun for my garden (and under the rain too!) and curiosity is a big driver for me.

If it works I'll dedicate a bigger pasture to it next year as we will also shoot and eat any "visitors" and it may help encourage some of the little birds back who have been getting hammered by the wet winters and the ridiculous amounts of birds of prey here....

 

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