Hi I'm Tricia a California organic gardener. Starting my day with homemade bread from home grown grains with homemade preserves gives me the energy i need to garden all day long.
Growing your own grains is not as hard as you may think i'll show you how. Most people associate growing grains with big huge farms like you see in the midwest and tall silos but actually you can grow grains right in your own backyard. If you're gonna grow grains you have to be committed you can start small I'm just going to use a ten by ten plot but you'll have to be available for the harvesting, the winnowing, the hulling and the threshing of your crop.
Do yourself a favor and get this book "Homegrown Whole Grains" by Sara Pitzer it'll tell you everything you need to know to successfully grow grains. Some varieties of barley and oats have hulls that are hard to remove to make your harvest easier choose loose hulled or hulless varieties like the ones that are available at Peaceful Valley. You want to start with the soil test, you want a balanced fertility in your soil unless you're growing corn and then you want some high nitrogen. Dig in necessary amendments while loosening the soil using a rototiller or a broad fork. Just rake the soil smooth and then your ready to plant for fall planted grains like barley oats and wheat you want to plant about eight to twelve weeks before the first frost.
For some grains like wheat you can plant in a big block other grains you might want to plant in a row. For block planting I just hand broadcast or use a rotary spreader to get even coverage over the whole ten by ten area I've prepared. You just want to rake the seed in it's really important for seed to soil contact that you rake it in about a half to an inch deep. Now you want to stamp down on the soil with either a lawn roller or a board. Be sure and water your grains about one inch every week that's about one to two hours of overhead watering per week until the rains come. There is a word of warning however about growing your own grains, Ergot is a fungus of cereals that is toxic to humans and animals, if you see dark purple black things about the size of a grain do not need eat the grain and do not allow any livestock to eat it either.
You can turn your home grown grains into flour by using this grain mill. A ten by ten plot will yield about up to ninety cups of flour which is as much as you'd need for half a year's worth of bread. So grow your grains and grow organic for life!