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Growing Wheat

 
Brandon Greer
Posts: 270
Location: 1 Hour Northeast Of Dallas
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Hi, I'm curious how I could grow wheat in North Texas without buying fertilizers. Is it possible to get fertilizer from the land somehow than from the store? I'm new to this so any advice will be well-received!
 
maikeru sumi-e
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Don't think in terms of fertilizer; rather, think in terms of fertility.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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read masanobu fukuoka's books.

we dont fertilize our wheat.
 
Brandon Greer
Posts: 270
Location: 1 Hour Northeast Of Dallas
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Thanks for the replies. I'll definitely check out those books!
 
John Polk
steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Fukuoka's "Natural Way of Farming" is available here as a free download.

"One Straw Revolution" is back in print, so the library can no longer offer it as a free download.

 
Brandon Greer
Posts: 270
Location: 1 Hour Northeast Of Dallas
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Thanks John, You just saved me $10
 
Taylor Stewart
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We mob graze cattle on some flat farm ground to build fertility (usually just volunteer weeds and alfalfa, but sometimes planted annuals). It takes a couple years to build fertility before you can take a crop, but you keep the soil alive in the process. That ground produced an average of 90bu/acre wheat a few years ago; there were areas in the field where the monitor was well over 100bu/acre! The state average was 44bu/acre, and the neighbors produced about 50bu/acre on similar soil using conventional methods.

Then you run the cattle back on the ground after a flush of weeds emerges, seeding turnips ahead of the herd so they stomp it in for you. The turnips will emerge and provide you with early winter forages to graze. And people say we can't feed the world with sustainable agriculture?
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9604
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Can you mention where in the world you're located, Taylor?

 
chris cromeens
Posts: 63
Location: north texas 7b now 8a
fish fungi trees
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we do the same here, not as many acres, but cell graze cattle using them to drive the seed. We did rye as it does better on poor soils and produces more biomass than conventional wheat. Be sure to also seed clovers to keep the ground cover and build N. I know this works with turnips, chicory, radishes,broccoli raab,mustard, rye, wheat, oats, sunflowers, probably any other seed but those are the seeds I have tried. It has done better for me on my sandy soils than working the soil, oh yeah I am in N. Texas.
 
Taylor Stewart
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I'm in central Nebraska, just outside of the sand hills.
 
Terri Matthews
Posts: 469
Location: Eastern Kansas
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Way back when, people used to rotate between growing legumes and grain. They also applied manure from their livestock.

For my own garden, I allowed clover to grow in my lawn and I mulched the vegetables with my lawn(and clover) clippings. As the clippings rotted they supplied most of the nutrients the plants got, though I DID fertilize every few years.

My yields were never anything to brag about, but they were not poor, either, and I was growing vegetables for almost no money. The tomatos were sweet and I was happy with my garden!

At any rate, can you rotate grain with legumes?
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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i plan to sow my winter wheat as a cover crop where I harvest my summer crops this year..of course I'll only be growing a very small amount for my own household bread..I have hulless oats and hulless barley planted now and I also plan to plant corn, amaranth, wheat and rye for grain crops this year (too cold here yet to put corn in in zone 4)
 
chris cromeens
Posts: 63
Location: north texas 7b now 8a
fish fungi trees
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Have been using the cell grazing, crop rotation, pasture building as part of a holistic grazing plan for 3 yrs. now. We live on your typical permaculture homestead property (too poor for grazing or agriculture). In this time I have put grass where there was only sand and cactus, taken the ruminants off storebought supplements (other than mineral lick and applecider vinergar)more because of GMO than anything, and raise fodder crops (to get there head in a bucket when we milk, supplement the chickens,pigs etc.). I have sold the tractor, we weren't using it. Haven't started the tiller in over a year. Producing more food than we ever have with less inputs (labor included). I do the same cell grazing w/ chickens in my zone 1. This system and the food forest is what brought me to permaculture. Now I am a function stacking fool, consciously aware of and on the look out for the relationships between things, and constantly figuring out how to do things with what I have i.e. pig swaling. Never going back, permaculture takes all the senses and sensations I have gotten from hunting and wildcrafting my whole life, and brings them home.
 
Brandon Greer
Posts: 270
Location: 1 Hour Northeast Of Dallas
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Hm I'm not receiving email alerts for replies. There is a lot of great info here that I missed! Anyway, that you all for the info and especially the advice to read One Straw Revolution. I have a new found passion
 
John Meshna
Posts: 111
Location: Vermont
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A customer of ours from Texas called to order a truckload of Winter Peas from us. Since it was such a big order we asked him what in the world he was doing with them. He said he made his own fertilizer with them. When they grow they fix nitrogen into the soil and when they matured he harvested them and dried them and he had a way of grinding them up and he used the ground up peas for fertilizer that he spread on the fields. He tilled under the chaf. He said he'd been doing it for a couple of decades and never bought fertilizer. Sounded like a great idea.
http://www.dirtworks.net
 
Fred Tyler
garden master
Posts: 377
Location: St Paul, MN/Tularosa, NM and now a gapper at Wheaton Labs
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I merged your stuff with the following thread. I hope that is okay by you.
 
Dar Helwig
Posts: 26
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I'm a new gardener. Have only done cucumbers, onions, strawberries and melons so far. I want to grow wheat next summer. I only have a few small garden plots. If I wanted to plan on my first crop yielding say, 10 lbs of wheat, how big of a plot would I need? Any tips on wheat planting? I'm completely unfamiliar so far.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9604
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Using Biointensive growing methods, it might be possible to produce 10 pounds of wheat seed in 100 square feet or less.  If a beginner with this technique, I think 4 pounds yield per 100 square foot bed is more realistic.  My personal big problem growing wheat was that squirrels ate it just as it became ripe!  I haven't tried since.  http://www.growbiointensive.org/
 
Dar Helwig
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O yes, we do have squirrels. I think I need to figure out how to keep pests away this year. 2 years ago I had a great crop of strawberries in a 5x10 raised bed. But last year as soon as the plants all had little berries, the next day they were all gone,every single one. I found that bird netting is an extremely difficult thing to work with and wire fencing does not keep little rodents out.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
Posts: 2117
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
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I concur with Tyler's estimate.  Industry average is that growing 10 pounds of wheat requires about 115 square feet.
 
John Elliott
pollinator
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Those "amber waves of grain" really don't fit in a small garden plot.  I know, I tried it last year with a 3' by 40' strip of emmer.   And yes, I got about the 10 pounds that others estimated. 

But that's missing the point.  Wheat is a seasonal crop that appears on VAST areas of the WIDE-OPEN PLAIN.  When I lived in Colorado, there was a neglected piece of dirt that bordered the housing development, maybe a half mile square.  It's probably paved over with roads and houses now, but back then it would green up in the spring with feral barley, and by summer you could walk through and harvest what nature offered.  A few squirrels wouldn't or couldn't make a dent in it.  Now roaming herds of bison, that might cut down the yield, and there are herds of bison in Colorado, but they no longer roam.

When you try to grow wheat in a small plot (or corn, or sorghum for that matter), you're adapting the plant to your needs, not growing it according to its needs.  It doesn't need the same amount of care and attention that cucumbers, strawberries and melons do.  This is one area where intensive permaculture is perhaps a bit too meddlesome for what the plant wants and needs.   It needs to cover large tracts of land.  It needs to be seeded and left alone to do its thing.  The best thing to do is find an idle area of cleared land (a couple of acres on up) and broadcast sow it.   Instead of trying to cultivate it on the small scale, why not identify a place that would look good with "amber waves of grain", and get others in the community to work with you to let a wheat field grow.

It's not that difficult.  I notice that areas plowed over for road construction are sprouting all manner of wild grains.  Come April, there will be all sorts of feral wheats and barleys available to collect, provided no heavy equipment runs it down.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
Posts: 2117
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
393
bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
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I grow wheat in rows in a cultivated vegetable garden. I grow wheat in the badlands without any cultivation. Wheat weeds grow in my food forest. I live in a climate where wheat thrives. So it grows well for me regardless of whether or not it is cultivated, or how. Doesn't seem to matter if it's in a big patch or a single plant. Wheat grows well here.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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