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Growing Buckwheat Naturally

 
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I wanted to make this thread to help me keep track of and document growing buckwheat.

Hopefully it will be helpful to others also!
 
Steve Thorn
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The buckwheat seeds germinated easily and quickly from direct sowing, by scattering the seeds on the ground and lightly mixing with the soil and a small amount of mulch and walking on them.

They were planted right before a few days of rain which watered them in well.

They are growing fast!
Baby-buckwheat-.jpg
Baby buckwheat!
Baby buckwheat!
 
Steve Thorn
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I really like how buckwheat looks, and it grows so fast too!

Rabbits (I think were the culprits) apparently really like it too. They got into my garden and feasted on my new buckwheat plants that were sprouting, now the new ones are headless buckwheat sprouts.

Thankfully the rabbits didn't find this first batch.
Buckwheat.jpg
Buckwheat
Buckwheat
 
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Buckwheat is fantastic for pollinating insects, as I'm sure many know. I've heard of people eating the greens too but some say it's toxic, especially raw (it seems). Do you plan on eating the grain?

Around here we sow buckwheat so that it blooms in the fall, when bloom is short in our region
 
Steve Thorn
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Yes, I plan on using the seeds to make grain.

I'm thinking that I may can get two crops of it this year and maybe even three!

Like you mentioned, I'm glad it'll be blooming in late summer and early fall to provide additional food for pollinators.
 
James Landreth
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Steve Thorn wrote:Yes, I plan on using the seeds to make grain.

I'm thinking that I may can get two crops of it this year and maybe even three!

Like you mentioned, I'm glad it'll be blooming in late summer and early fall to provide additional food for pollinators.




Hi Steve,

Have you grown buckwheat before? The plants you have now should bloom soon (they always bloom sooner than I'm ready for!). If you want to have an additional crop in the fall you can plant in summer
 
Steve Thorn
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I meant to add that the second or third crop might be blooming during that time, yeah that would be some long lasting buckwheat.

I can actually see the flower buds forming right now, so it shouldn't be too long before they are ready!
 
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Steve, your weather is similar to mine. Buckwheat grows here late March - early Oct. The earliest batch of this year is just now starting to be ready to harvest.

I normally just throw the seeds around in random places with poor soil. Then harvest foot tall plants a couple months later. This year I used some as ground cover in really good soil & it is almost chest high. This stuff is great. It feeds bees, chickens, humans, & the soil.


buckwheat.jpg
[Thumbnail for buckwheat.jpg]
 
Steve Thorn
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Those look great Mike!

Im going to use it very widely as a cover crop too once I save up some more seeds!

Yes, it's such a great plant with lots of great uses!
 
Steve Thorn
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Should have have some buckwheat flowers soon!
Buckwheat-flower-bud-.jpg
Buckwheat flower bud!
Buckwheat flower bud!
 
Steve Thorn
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The buckwheat is flowering!
Buckwheat-flowers-.jpg
Buckwheat flowers!
Buckwheat flowers!
 
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Steve, your buckeheat looks good. It will probably self seed from now on. It does here in zone 5. And the plants seem to get bigger every year. I planted it as a cover crop once and it has never left. It comes up especially around bird baths. I recently learned that it is a dynamic accumulator especially of calcium and gain neutralize acid soil. It is a good tea for high blood pressure.
 
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Such a beautiful pic, Steve!
 
Steve Thorn
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Thanks Dan, great info, love the way it can self seed!
 
Steve Thorn
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Thanks Mandy, I really like the way the flowers look, some have pink flowers, and the pollinators love them too!
 
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I want to order some buckwheat seeds, and I see that there is an annual buckwheat and a perennial one. Which one should I get? I'm in Zone 8b, North Georgia, and I have a wooded area I'm clearing with acid soil. I read somewhere that buckwheat helps neutralize acid soil, so that (and chicken feed) is why I want to grow it.

 
Steve Thorn
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Diane, I've never grown the perennial buckwheat.

Here's an older thread talking about it a little though.

https://permies.com/t/8348/Wanted-Perennial-Buckwheat-Fagopyrum-dibotrys

I've really enjoyed the annual buckwheat so far, so I'll probably be sticking with that. Let me know how the perennial buckwheat is if you try it!
 
Diane Kistner
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Steve Thorn wrote:Diane, I've never grown the perennial buckwheat.

Here's an older thread talking about it a little though.

https://permies.com/t/8348/Wanted-Perennial-Buckwheat-Fagopyrum-dibotrys

I've really enjoyed the annual buckwheat so far, so I'll probably be sticking with that. Let me know how the perennial buckwheat is if you try it!



Thanks, Steve. I'll check that out, but if annual is fine, that's probably what I'll go with. Or maybe I'll try both!

On second thought, after reading that link, I think I'll stick with the annual buckwheat. I know just the place(s) I'm going to put it.
 
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Hey Steve, does buckwheat taste better than Quinoa?
 
Steve Thorn
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I haven't tasted it yet actually Scott. The type I've planted is supposed to be sweet though, and I'll hopefully be able to let you know for sure soon!
 
Scott Foster
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Steve Thorn wrote:I haven't tasted it yet actually Scott. The type I've planted is supposed to be sweet though, and I'll hopefully be able to let you know for sure soon!



Keep us posted!  
 
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Buckwheat has a bit of a nutty flavor. Similar to pecans according to my taste buds.

As far as the annual vs. perennial thing ... the annuals reseed themselves fairly easily if some are not harvested. So my suggestion is to choose any variety that grows well in your area. Full disclosure though. I have no experience with the perennial version.
 
Steve Thorn
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The flower clusters are getting bigger!
Buckwheat-flower-clusters-.jpg
Buckwheat flower clusters!
Buckwheat flower clusters!
 
Mike Barkley
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Looking good!!! Stumbled across this interesting info about harvesting buckwheat.

 
Steve Thorn
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Mike Barkley wrote:Looking good!!! Stumbled across this interesting info about harvesting buckwheat.



That's a great resource Mike, thanks for sharing that. The link about halfway down the article Pictures of maturing buckwheat seeds shows some really good pictures of maturing buckwheat and when to pick it too which can be super helpful!
 
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White and pink buckwheat flowers, so purty!
White-and-pink-buckwheat-flowers.jpg
White and pink buckwheat flowers
White and pink buckwheat flowers
 
Diane Kistner
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Steve Thorn wrote:The buckwheat seeds germinated easily and quickly from direct sowing, by scattering the seeds on the ground and lightly mixing with the soil and a small amount of mulch and walking on them.

They were planted right before a few days of rain which watered them in well.

They are growing fast!



Steve, this post inspired me to order and plant some buckwheat, which I did. I scattered the seed on some freshly hoed ground and just threw some decomposing wood mulch on top of it. Buckwheat is sprouting all over the place!

Question: Do I need to do any thinning, or just let it do its thing? Mine are coming up about like yours in the picture, maybe a day or two away from looking as big as yours.

 
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I just let it do it's own thing. Works well.
 
Steve Thorn
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Diane Kistner wrote:Steve, this post inspired me to order and plant some buckwheat, which I did. I scattered the seed on some freshly hoed ground and just threw some decomposing wood mulch on top of it. Buckwheat is sprouting all over the place!



That's awesome Diane!

Question: Do I need to do any thinning, or just let it do its thing? Mine are coming up about like yours in the picture, maybe a day or two away from looking as big as yours.



I didn't have to do any thinning, I just let them do their thing, but I like my plants growing really close.

The stronger ones blocked out some weaker ones too, which I'm glad they did, saves the work of culling the weaker plants, leaving the stronger genetics. They grew so fast too they blocked out most weeds!

Glad to hear your buckwheat is coming up and doing good!
 
Diane Kistner
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So good to know, Steve. I'm tending to plant closely as well. This ground last year was covered in English and poison ivies, and I'm very pleased to see how quickly I've been able to reclaim this area for guild space. Also trying to do the minimal watering thing.
 
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Buckwheat looks like an ornamental.  I may plant some next year.  Very nice.
 
Steve Thorn
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Scott Foster wrote:Buckwheat looks like an ornamental.  I may plant some next year.  Very nice.



Yeah, I really like the look of the leaves and flowers.

I'm going to plant it around a lot of my fruit trees and berry bushes as a beneficial and decorative living mulch and ground cover. It should be a pretty spring flowering plant next to the perennials.
 
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Do you only get one cutting from annual buckwheat? For instance, if you sew in the spring and chop it down in mid summer before it self seeds, what are you left with for the rest of the season?
I'm interested in it as a cover crop but am concerned that self seeding would send it everywhere... but I guess that would only be an issue if it takes root in my neighboring chip beds. Think it would?
 
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Steve Thorn wrote:White and pink buckwheat flowers, so purty!



The pink one looks like a different variety of buckwheat. Ruby red takane is cultivated in Japan and when the crops are in full bloom, the view is breathtaking.
https://www.takano-net.co.jp/image/portal/ph_field_health_food_ruby_01.jpg


I tried those but they didn't flourish like the common white one. The two varieties cross pollinate and I got lots of pink flowers offsprings.
 
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Excellent picture May. Thanks for that. I'm adding red for the first time this year. Now I'm inspired to find a bulk supplier!!!
 
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Matt Todd wrote:Do you only get one cutting from annual buckwheat? For instance, if you sew in the spring and chop it down in mid summer before it self seeds, what are you left with for the rest of the season?
I'm interested in it as a cover crop but am concerned that self seeding would send it everywhere... but I guess that would only be an issue if it takes root in my neighboring chip beds. Think it would?



I didn't cut mine back, but yeah I would expect it would just be cut once.

I don't think the self seeding will be an issue for you. I purposely tried to let mine go to seed, and a lot of them didn't come up.
 
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I used have some buckwheat established in my yarden and I'm hoping to get it going again.
Right now its sown in the new "lawn" area.
I have rabbits and chooks, so it will get used even if I never harvest the seeds.
 
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if you sew in the spring and chop it down in mid summer before it self seeds, what are you left with for the rest of the season?  



In my experience if it's chopped down before it seeds it won't grow back. If it's harvested but left standing & some seeds are left on the stems they will fall off in a week or two. Then it will grow new plants to start the cycle over again. I've never tried eliminating it from an area but I suspect chopping or mowing it once a month for 2 or 3 months would completely eliminate it. It has a 6 week growth cycle & seeds appear about week 4. If it's not harvested & left standing until all the seeds drop it will have many more plants the next cycle but it doesn't seem to become invasive & spread much. I think a few might grow in wood chips but not as many as in soil. Just guessing on that.
 
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How do you harvest buckwheat?  Is there a special tractor attachment for a small compact tractor?
 
Steve Thorn
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I grew a small patch and just hand harvested it. I'm not growing it at the moment, because it seemed like I would have to grow a pretty large sized area of it to really get a harvest that could be useful, and I don't have the extra space at the moment.

As far as the different varieties go, the white variety seemed to be much more adapted to the growing conditions here, while the red didn't do as well.
 
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