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What grain is this - amazing grain ripening in February!  RSS feed

 
master steward
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It's amazing what you can find by looking.

Today I was walking my new field, checking up on my fall rye which is nearly as tall as my big toe. When suddenly, next to the fence, something caught my eye.



This blurry specimen is a grain of some kind. More importantly, it's nearly ripe while the rest of my winter grain is lazing about as little green tuffs on the ground.

Can you tell me what it is?



Yes, I know, I have dirty hands. Spent the week doing city people stuff and desperately needed to replenish the dirt under my fingernails.






Here are my questions:
  • What grain is it?
  • Why is it almost ready so early in the year - it's not even valentines day yet
  • Does it have potential to become an early harvest winter grain crop?
  • Is it possible to transform this into Fukuoka style grain raising? I need something that comes ready to harvest April-May time.
  • How much longer until it finishes ripening?


  • I harvested two of the stocks today to dry inside just incase I loose the plant to some unknown thing. I left two stocks on the plant to hopefully ripen and tell me when to harvest it.

    Edit to add: this was chicken yard last year, so it is possible from the scratch they got? Maybe? Only it's several hundred yards away from where the scratch went.
     
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    I am by no means an expert, but that looks like green Wild Oats.

    Kathie
     
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    Great find. Perhaps open up one of the husks and see what's inside...
     
    raven ranson
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    And here's one beside some wheat.



    So what do you think? Looks more and more like wheat to me. But most I'm still learning about grains.
     
    Joseph Lofthouse
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    R Ranson wrote:So what do you think? Looks more and more like wheat to me.



    Looks like wheat to me.
     
    gardener
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    Wow! Lucky find! Looks like a rye or a wheat to me and my dad. He grew up farming in Saskatchewan. Fukuoka always said that his idea of Natural Farming was based around planting the seeds when they would fall from the plant. Perhaps this would be off base with this plant, since possibly it was planted at a less than ideal time for it's actual natural pattern---though it seems to be thriving. I think it's an excellent candidate for natural farming, and for winter cropping. A grain ripening in February!!! That's awesome! Who knows when it was planted? My thought is that a different bird (other than chickens) or a squirrel might have moved the seed from the scratch area to the fence to eat it in safely. It seems clear that it must have been 'planted' with enough time to get to this stage, with special considerations to the fact that winter is not the most productive grain growing time traditionally. If you do get some nice grains from this plant, I would consider planting some at various times in the fall, and trying to create a winter grain stock. It might be a good idea to grow some out in the spring/summer, just so that you know the basic amount of ripening days-then you can think about your present harvest date and subtract this number to get a basic idea of when best to plant it. Too bad there was not a good patch of it; with such a limited supply of seed, you have to pick when to plant it with more discretion. Check the rest of the fence-line for more?
     
    Roberto pokachinni
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    my guess it's a durum, which is a short stock wheat.
     
    pollinator
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    Looks like spring or winter wheat....certainly like the spring wheat varieties I've seen before. Could have easily come from the chicken feed.
     
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    What grain is it?



    This is definitely wheat.

    Why is it almost ready so early in the year - it's not even valentines day yet



    This is likely a winter wheat variety. Here it would be planted in the fall, start growing, then the tops die down in the winter, but come spring it will have established roots and be the first thing growing before anything else is planted. If you don't have intense cold it makes sense that it would just keep growing all winter. It is bred so it barely skips a beat in a frost.

    Does it have potential to become an early harvest winter grain crop?



    If when it snows it generally melts within a day where you are, then yes it does have potential for growing all winter.

    How much longer until it finishes ripening?



    It should be ready in 2-3 weeks, the whole plant will turn a golden yellow colour and dry out. You want it to be dry and brittle for harvest, as long as it is raining regularly it will be best standing out in a field, waiting to dry out.

    this was chicken yard last year, so it is possible from the scratch they got? Maybe? Only it's several hundred yards away from where the scratch went.



    This sounds likely, if a chicken swallowed it without breaking the hull, it could have gone right through and been planted that way. I haven't seen a chicken do this before, but cattle do it all the time when they get oats.

    I hope this helps.
     
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    that looks most like winter oats or wheat
     
    raven ranson
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    I'm fairly certain it's not oats. All the oats I've seen have longer grains and look like this...


    image from here
     
    raven ranson
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    Thank-you all for your replies.! I'm very excited about this find.

    I'm wondering when this kernel started growing. I didn't see anything in September when we prepped the area and planted our fall grain. But I think it must have been growing before then as all our fall grain doesn't come up to the toe of my boot yet.

    It's been a mild winter for us, but this grain is in one of the coldest parts of our yard and gets heavier frost than other parts. It will be interesting to discover how much of this early harvest is from planting time, weather, and how much from genetics.

    I think what I'll do is save the seed, then next year bulk up my seed by planting half of the seeds I harvested and keeping half as backup. I'm wondering about inbreeding depression... Is it an issue with grain?
     
    Joseph Lofthouse
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    R Ranson wrote:I'm wondering about inbreeding depression... Is it an issue with grain?



    Wheat is about 90% self-pollinating in dry climates. Less than that in wet ones.

    If you still have the chicken scratch you might plant some of it and see if anything matches the phenotype of your new strain of wheat.
     
    Roberto pokachinni
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    I didn't see anything in September when we prepped the area and planted our fall grain. But I think it must have been growing before then



    I think that this is likely, as it would have been easy to miss, as it probably was looking a bit like an emerging grass when you planted your intended crop.
     
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    Hello...I believe this is spelt (Triticum aestivum, subsp. spelta), a previous version of the wheat we have nowadays. Here in Germany you can buy this in the likes of organic stores, I don't know how that is in the US...
     
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    That is a wheat, it looks a lot like a soft variety because it has a brushy tail. If it is indeed from chicken scratch then it would be a soft red winter wheat. The only sure fire way is to let it ripen then dry on the stalk.
    The wide, open crease is a good indicator of soft red winter wheat. Hard wheat always has a tight crease and very little brush.
     
    pollinator
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    I had experience of getting standing wheat from a friend if I would mow it with my scythe. I kept it in the barn and just threw the stocks in the chicken tractor for supplemental feed. Some got trampled in and grew all winter amongst the grass but became apparent like yours in the spring. as it got ripe the big rooster would grab a stalk in his beak and bend it down for the hens. This was so much fun to watch I decided to plant a patch just for this purpose. Then I lost all my chickens to predators Therefore I harvested it. Made pie crusts out of the flour.
    2013-08-17-14.12.49.jpg
    [Thumbnail for 2013-08-17-14.12.49.jpg]
    Soft white wheat from feed store that I was using as scratch
    2013-08-17-14.10.29.jpg
    [Thumbnail for 2013-08-17-14.10.29.jpg]
    Thrashing by hand after it had been standing since may
     
    Peter Clemens
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    Spelt
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Spelt (Triticum spelta), also known as dinkel wheat,[2] or hulled wheat,[2] is a species of wheat cultivated since 5000 BC.

    Spelt was an important staple in parts of Europe from the Bronze Age to medieval times; it now survives as a relict crop in Central Europe and northern Spain and has found a new market as a health food.

    The attached photos are from spelt that I that I have here, we call it Dinkel in Germany and our family makes bread from it.
    IMG_2501.JPG
    [Thumbnail for IMG_2501.JPG]
    IMG_2502.JPG
    [Thumbnail for IMG_2502.JPG]
     
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    r ranson wrote:It's amazing what you can find by looking.

    Today I was walking my new field, checking up on my fall rye which is nearly as tall as my big toe.  When suddenly, next to the fence, something caught my eye.



    R Ranson, I'm interested in getting some of that grain. I hope to grow it in  a place with wet early Autumns, where Spring is drier, and I will pay for a packet of it and shipping.
     
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    Yeah definitely wheat.

    Have you been using straw around the place? It will often self seed from straw because the odd seed head makes it's way through.

    It's tough to determine which type of wheat exactly. If you have used straw in the area you might be able to talk to the people who baled the straw and they might know...

    Generally durum wheat berries are significantly larger and lighter in color than hard red wheat berries. By far the most common wheat grown these days is hard red wheat because it's used in bread making. HRW berries also tend to be rounder while durum is more football shaped. And hard white wheat, which is a relatively new invention is visibly paler in color.

    My guess is that this is a modern hard red winter wheat based on the seed appearance, and how short the stem is.

    Here is a detailed description of Canadian wheat classes:
    https://www.grainscanada.gc.ca/wheat-ble/classes/classes-eng.htm

    I make it a habit of pulling all unknown small grains that self seed. My reason is that I'm growing a number of different heritage varieties and I need to know that what I think I'm growing is what I'm actually growing. The plants look physically very similar, but the flour qualities and purposes are very different.
     
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