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kamut in Denver

Posts: 1559
Location: Denver, CO
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I got a package of kamut ( khorasan) seeds to plant. The instructions are a little confusing. "Start ten days before last frost. transplant in cool weather so that the growing period will have only about a month of hot weather near harvest time. Matures in 17- 19 weeks.

So, if I planted them towards the end of May, after the last frost, I would certainly not have three cool months to follow. To get that I would have to start them at then end of February, and plant them out at the beginning of March. At the beginning of March the weather is still cold and snowy. Where in the world would they have three nice cool months between 32 and 65? Where I used to live in Pennsylvania, there was a lot longer spring than here in Denver. However, about there most even there was two months of cool weather.
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I wouldn't get to stressed out with the kamut. In many ways it is similar to other spring wheats and is grown by organic farmers in my area of Saskatchewan. Typically field planting takes place in mid-May with harvest occurring in early September. Seedlings would certainly be able to tolerate a few degrees of frost.

A few considerations. Because of the large seed size, the grain filling phase of khorasan wheat is longer and can be more affected by drought during this stage of growth. In a addition it appears to be very susceptible to a variety of leaf diseases and Fusarium blight during moist, humid periods that can result in the premature loss of leaves and photosynthetic area. The result of either disease or drought can be shrunken, poorly filled kernels.

Because the variety has been branded and marketed by name, commercial growers produce it to meet the demand thus created. I am not completely knowledgeable of all the reasons why the variety is as popular as it is. Nearly 150 acres of it were grown on my land last year by an organic producer. Agronomically khorasan wheat does seen to have limitations. Because of the considerations mentioned above, if it is grown for home use, a faster maturing, less disease prone 70's or 80's era variety of durum wheat may be easier to manage.
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