Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
posted 6 years ago
I am interested in growing sorghum for both the seeds and the syrup. I don't know much about this plant. I was hoping I could get some feedback from those who have grown this or have done research on it. Any feedback or experiences are appreciated.
I've grown it accidentally and on purpose, but not in any significant quantity, a dozen plants to see what its about.
Annual, full sun, grows readily, needs zero attention.
takes heat, drought, and neglect, which is perfect for me.
Spacing 8" does fine for me, rich soil would be expected to produce much larger plants than what I got.
Looks like corn.
My poor production saw 1 seed in, 100 seeds produced. Rich soil should see more, as the side shoots did not produce much in the way of seed heads.
For syrup production, it is my understanding that the plant can be harvested after the seed heads mature. This allows grain production as well as syrup. The stalks need to be run through a press. Considerable pressure is needed to squeeze out the juice. Used cane mills are on Craigslist down here every now and then in the $1500-3k range. Boil the sap to remove water content as you would maple syrup. The baguesse (leftover leaves and pressed stalks) can be used for silage, mulch, fuel or compost. A couple hundred plants will produce a gallon of syrup.
From my understanding the varieties that will make good syrup are less suitable for seed production. Like others said, the syrup is a lot of work, much like maple syrup- has to be pressed, cooked, skimmed, etc. The mennonite communities here in KY use it a lot, they often have draft powered sorghum mills, and wood fired boilers. I'm not much of a fan of the syrup, and have little use for it with my cooking style. I have experimented with it as a chickenfeed, and they do like it. It is easy to grow, and just cut and toss to the birds. Also I have cut just the tops, and it will produce a second smaller seed head in a single season. Much more successful than my corn through the last low rain summer.
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