I pledge to plant a row of wheat in Mr. Fukuoka's style. But adapted to local conditions! (I live in Kansas)
In a nutshell, I pledge to sprinkle a row of wheat seeds on the ground before a rain or a snow. If the weather forcast stays as it is, that means that next Monday will be the ideal time.
It is too dry here for seed balls, I have tried it. But, when I spilled some grain in the lawn last year and it got rained on, it tried to grow. That tells me 2 important things: that grain on the surface will sprout if precipitation settles it into the earth, and that this land REALLY! wants to grow grain!
The latter is not surprising, as this land was once described by settlers as having grass as high as a horse's withers, and grain is in the grass family. Most edible plants out here need a good deal of care as the summers are dry, but with carefull selection of varieties, none of the farmers irrigate their grain. They don't have to, as long as the grain is well established before the summers get dry. The deep corn roots can follow the moisture down, and the winter wheat is ready to cut before it gets too dry.
Spring is not the ideal time to plant wheat here: Fall is. That way the grain is ripe before it gets too dry. Still, I will try this, for fun.
It was 17 degrees out this morning, and I planted about a quart of wheat seed. A little milo from a bag of birdseed was added, just for fun and because my chickens enjoy milo. They only eat it fresh, but they LOVE it that way! They turn up their noses at it unless it is fresh picked, though.
At any rate, the lawn was frozen, and as I let the grain dribble through my fingers it pretty much disappeared, which is what I wanted. It is supposed to snow and rain tonight, as a warm front passes over, and this should further settle the grain in against the earth. If it can stay hidden until it starts to grow, the raccoons and such will not get at it!
Isn't the rain n California almost finished? If so, you might have to water it some!
I grew a small patch of wheat a few years back, using ordinary techniques. I would first soak the wheat, and then run it through a blender to make cracked wheat. I cup of cracked wheat to every 2 cups of flour made excellent bread! Evn the kids loved it!
I got a rather poor stand: the volunteer grain from the straw looks much better! Of course, the straw was used last year and so that grain was "planted" in the Fall, which is the usual planting time in the Midwest. So, winter wheat really does do better when planted in the fall.
So, anyway, the Fukuoka style planting I did this spring did come up, though it is spotty. It also looks pretty sad, as it just looks like I did not mow my lawn in spots.
This fall I will plant some grain in a solid block, in an area not easily visible from the street. Both will reduce the visual impact of having what looks like un-mown grass. I will mow some of this current grain for the sake of appearances (and because my city has an 8 inch height limit on weeds), and I do not want to argue with the city about some things.
But, yes, just scattering seed (rather thickly) in lawn grass will result in a grain crop.
I have heard of a really cool way to thresh the grain. You take a child's swimming pool and you put the harvested grain in it. Put on a new pair of sneakers and walk around in circles until the grain is threshed out. THAT Tidbit comes from Jackie Clay's gardening book, which is available from backwoods home magazine!
So, today I got a notice from the city to cut my overgrown yard. I am not going to argue: DS helped me cut a big armfull for me to play with, and the rest will be mown.
And, this fall I will choose a spot that is not easily visible. Heh, heh.
Oh, yes. The yield, I suspect, is about half of what the commercial farmers get: the plants tillered nicely but each head was smaller than what well-fertilized crop would produce. The wheat that sprouted in the fall looks to be perhaps a week further along that what I sowed in the spring, but I had to sow the spring wheat twice as the stand was so poor.
I am pleased with the result of simply scattering seed and then cutting it: it is VERY low labor!
An update: with DS help a little more was cut, and then we went to a weed-whacker and a rake. This did not work so well.
Many of the heavy stems were not cut entirely through, and it was difficult to rake what WAS cut through. I am fairly sure the shorter plants just had the heads cut off and were lost in the tallish grass. It might have worked better if the wheat was whacked off at ground level instead of in the middle where the wheat rose above the lawn grass. So, cutting the wheat with nippers gave me a better yield, though the poor yield with a weed whacker might have been partly due to a teenager using it instead of myself. Hey, I wanted it whacked and it was DEFINATELY whacked down! I did not scold, he HAD followed my directions very well and it was very hot out! We are both novices in this. So, the most productive way I have found to harvest it is to grab a handful of stems, cut with a serrated knife or nippers, and lay it down in a neat pile and then move on to the next handful.
But, it was cut. It is very hot, and most of the wheat is already brown. The remainder of the yard will be mowed this morning.
Shocking the wheat is simply putting it into bundles and tying it. Shocked wheat can be set up so that it leans on other shocks, and this keeps the grain off of the damp ground so it dries where the air can get to it. Traditionally, the shocks can be tied into bundles with 2-3 stalks of wheat but string is also used. I have done it both ways: if you use stalks of wheat to tie the bundles then the bundles must be smaller. I prefer this method as I do not have to carry string about!
So, the wheat has been cut and shocked and a large armful is on the back deck, against the wall where it is more or less protected from rain.
I reviewed my older posts: I had not remembered planting milo and birdseed! And, I see no sign of it now though the wheat has done well enough to encourage me greatly. This fall I will plant grain where the two sheds block the easy view. And, instead of planting it in rows I will plant a solid patch for a greater yield.