Growing Grains/Staples

Discussion in 'Survival and Sustainability' started by Old Man Fred, Feb 10, 2018.

  1. Old Man Fred

    Old Man Fred Well-Known Member

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    My remodel is finishing up and I'm looking to get back to my original intention of building a sizable garden.

    I've ordered a bunch of seed for flour/popping corn, millet, rye, wheat, quinoa, and barley. Does anyone have any experience growing them?
     
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  2. Guess Who

    Guess Who Well-Known Member

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    No but here is a bump for you.
    I'd think down south corn would be the best type of grain though.
     
  3. GrumpyCatFace

    GrumpyCatFace Active Member

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    Grain is the simplest thing to grow in a garden, and the most difficult to harvest. It's pretty much grass. I grew a wheat crop last summer, and winter wheat as a cover crop, to experiment.

    To plant it, you simply use a spreader, then lightly rake it over. Takes very little maintenance, as it tends to crowd out any weed growth.

    Harvest time is tricky, because you can't simply "pluck" several thousand wheat berries out of your garden. This is known as "reaping". I used a 'corn knife', rather than a scythe, but I don't recommend it. The scythe really is the tool of choice for this - it can also replace your mower and weed-whacker!

    Once the stalks are cut, you'll need to bundle and dry it. This is to make the 'threshing' portion easier. The berries are very difficult to remove without drying time. The traditional way is to tie a stalk around each handful, then bundle an armload of these together - either in the field, if your weather will stay dry, or in a shed.

    Once dried, you'll need to move to "threshing". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Threshing This is the process of getting the berries off the stalks. You can, of course, pluck the heads off, but if you're dealing in a large amount, you can try beating it inside of a blanket or pillowcase. Simply put the heads in the case, stalks sticking out, and whack it with something flat.

    Once you have a large bucket of heads, it's time to finish the process by "winnowing". This is removing the outer shell from the berries, and exposing the grain itself. I accomplished this with a regular 5-gallon bucket, power drill, and a paint-stirrer.

    I got the paint-stirrer at the hardware store, along with 4 x 2" lengths of chain, and some carbides, to create a flail. It's simply a stick, with the chain dangling off on each side, which will beat the grain inside the bucket. Then I drilled a hole in the top of the bucket lid, attached the flail to my drill, and beat it up for about a minute. When that's done, you'll have a small pile of grain, and a lot of husk pieces.

    You need to "separate the wheat from the chaff" now (very biblical). To do this, simply pour it from one bucket to another, in front of a box fan, or on a windy day. The chaff will fly off, and the grain will land heavily in the other bucket. Now simply store it in a mason jar, until you're ready to mill it.

    It sounds like a TON of work, but for caloric value, bread is second only to meat itself. The grain is much easier to store, long term, and can be kept indefinitely, in a cool, dry place.
     
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  4. Guess Who

    Guess Who Well-Known Member

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    We grew a lot of eggplants that we intend to make flour out of. Easy to grow, high yields and very nutricious.
    We are dehydrating them now.
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Guess Who

    Guess Who Well-Known Member

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    Hubby just came in with another bunch of them. We seal them with Food Saver then put them in storage bags and date to store.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. 557

    557 Well-Known Member

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    Have you done any baking or anything with the eggplant flour yet? I would be very interested in hearing how this turns out. Our eggplant all gets breaded, fried, and frozen. Then it’s a quick meal adding tomato sauce, spice, and Parmesan or similar cheese and baking.
     
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