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Planting emmer wheat..... instructions unclear.

 
Dougan Nash
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Location: Eastern Shore, Maryland
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So I'm really interesting in growing wheat. Even though I only have a small back yard, growing my own grains sounds really fun. Even if it doesn't work out - free bird food and straw! I want to grow a non-dwarf ancient wheat so I ordered emmer wheat from baker's seed. It should get here soon. Now last year I accidentally grew wheat from some hay I used as mulch. It over-wintered fine and come spring it shot right up. I can't seem to find any information online weather Emmer is a spring or winter wheat. It's pretty crazy how little information there is out there on this. All I can find is that it is one of the first wheats and it is popular in Italy. Going by that climate, I would assume a spring wheat. Should I try some both seasons and see what works?
 
John Elliott
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Spring wheat is wheat that is grown in places with winter weather cold enough to kill winter wheat. Which is REALLY cold, like North Dakota cold. Eastern Colorado and Kansas are prime wheat growing areas, and they get a good bit of sub-zero weather in winter, but a few inches of snow on the ground protects winter wheat from being killed.

I, too, got a packet of emmer seed from Baker Creek, and I am planning on planting it around the first of November. Here in Georgia, that's the recommended time to plant winter grains, right after you harvest things like peanuts and sweet potatoes. It will spend most of the winter looking like grass, and then when the weather warms up in the spring, it will flower and go to seed. Harvest time will probably be in about April, just about the time that the feral oats are ready to gather.

My only worry is that emmer developed in the eastern Mediterranean, a much drier place than the eastern U.S. I hope the winter rains don't drown it. I've pretty much given up on cardoon and artichoke, two other plants that like a dry Mediterranean climate, because all my attempts ended up drowning in the winter.
 
Dougan Nash
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Location: Eastern Shore, Maryland
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That's good to hear. So basically what you're saying is that if I successfully grew wheat last year, I should have no trouble with emmer this year (so longs as the ground doesn't get drenched).

Also, I'm having trouble with my artichokes this year too. They were doing great for a while there, but now they have just kind of halted growth. Oh well. If you're having trouble with a GA winter, I can't imagine my MD winter being any better.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Dougan Nash wrote:So I'm really interesting in growing wheat. Even though I only have a small back yard, growing my own grains sounds really fun. Even if it doesn't work out - free bird food and straw! I want to grow a non-dwarf ancient wheat so I ordered emmer wheat from baker's seed. It should get here soon. Now last year I accidentally grew wheat from some hay I used as mulch. It over-wintered fine and come spring it shot right up. I can't seem to find any information online weather Emmer is a spring or winter wheat. It's pretty crazy how little information there is out there on this. All I can find is that it is one of the first wheats and it is popular in Italy. Going by that climate, I would assume a spring wheat. Should I try some both seasons and see what works?


Emmer wheat is planted in the spring in the USA. Plant it about 1/4" deep, in well draining soil after the last frost. It will take 120 days to have nicely developed heads, don't harvest until the seeds are no longer milky when cut open.
Need more help? ask away.
 
John Elliott
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My emmer is up! I got it planted last week before the rains started and the 4 days of rainy weather have coaxed it out of the ground. There's not much seed in a seed packet, just enough for 3 rows of 20 feet. But if it does well, like the sorghum I planted a couple of years ago, then I should have plenty of seed to save and to munch on.
 
John Elliott
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Monthly progress report on my emmer: It's looking really nice, the healthiest part of the stand is where I conducted a burn before planting and left quite a bit of biochar and ash on top of the soil.

I also came across a great resource, Ethnobotany of einkorn and emmer in Romania and Slovakia. It describes traditional methods of growing, harvesting, and processing einkorn and emmer, and even talks about how to use the straw to make hats.
 
R Ranson
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How's everyone's wheat doing now?
 
John Elliott
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My emmer is almost knee-high, still looks to be in the tillering stage. I see some wild grasses in the area in the flowering stage, but I'm going to have to be patient with mine.
 
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