Growing Wheat in My Own Backyard
I’ve been thinking about it since January, and I’m still mulling how to make it work on my property, but I’d like to try growing wheat. I won’t pretend that I could even begin to serve my family’s grain needs on a small, suburban plot of land, but I’d like to give it a go, just to see what it’s like. I’ll call it a novelty crop; it’s something to keep me entertained during the winter.
The Northeast is not known for its prolific grain harvest, but I was heartened when I found this article from the Boston Globe about the resurgence of grain farming in the Northeast. The idea is starting to catch on.
What seems harder, though, is finding basic information on the Internet about growing wheat. There is a glut of technical farming information for high-yield operations, but a dearth of info on things like when to plant and when to harvest. I did find a few blogs, which are helpful.
What I’ve gathered so far is that I can plant hard red winter wheat around September, and harvest in June. At first I thought I had the perfect solution to a winter cover crop, until I realized that lots of things have to get started in the ground before June. So where will I put the wheat? I considered taking a local community plot for the winter, but I would run into the same problem: people want to plant before June.
Normally I would tear up the yard and put in a new growing area, but my husband and I are still at odds over the lawn. He is right on one count: I should plan my growing areas better. And since I’m approaching wheat as a novelty, I wouldn’t call it great planning.
For now, my best solution is to use half of The Suburban Farm–the new half–where the watermelons and sunflowers are growing. It’s a small section, maybe 8×10′, but I’m sure I can get a nice harvest of wheat berries, which is all I really want.