October of last year, I got a wild idea. I grind wheat to make bread. I had extra garden space, so I grew some wheat. Why? Why not? (one of my favorite answers.) I had read about Eikorn wheat being a true heritage wheat. I had ordered some to make bread, so I planted some too. Here is what I learned. I planted it too close together. It took 6 months to grow that wheat. I harvested in early May. I could have fed two families in that space during the time that the wheat grew. I cut the heads of the plants off, and left the bottom half of the stalk in place. It was during the time that I had decided to put my beds to bed for the summer.
It did not make sense to pull the stalks out, and then cover the soil with straw. So, I allowed the stalks to be the shade for the soil. I stuffed the wheat heads into big paper sacks, and took them to a friend’s house to get help. Together, we beat, and picked the seeds out of the wheat heads. After sweeping up the chaff, I put it back in the bag. The chaff went to the compost pile (never waste a thing), and the seeds went into my 10# storage bucket. So I planted 10#, and ended up with 10#. My fault for planting too close, and keeping the wheat from producing its best.
Now, it is time to clear that garden bed. I thought that I would have to dig it out. But here is what I discovered. The pill bugs that are so abundant in my garden (that is a good sign), eat decomposing plants. They ate the roots at the soil level; leaving roots in the soil (Hooray for hummus!), and stems just ready to be moved with a pitch fork. So easy. I moved all that material into the chicken pen for them to play in, sleep on, and poop on (Hooray for chicken poop!).
Another happy sighting!
No, not my hand silly! But near the tip of my middle finger, is a wheat colored preying mantis. When I moved the wheat, he jumped out into a little pile of purslane. (It grows as a weed next to my garden.) His color is due to the fact that he was living in the wheat. I get really excited when I see them; because I know that there is a lot of natural stuff going on out there. (Hooray for God, who created Mother Nature!)
I do not know if I will plant wheat again, but I won’t promise not too. Who knows? Why? Why not?