Ohio, zone 5-6. Lots of niches though. What I'm looking for is grains that I can plant mid summer and get a harvest by fall. Something I can make into bread and fit in a tight rotation. Wheat needs space from fall to July. Barely from March through June. Quinoa can get in late and grow well, but will it rise? Chestnuts can be made to a flour, so can acorns, but they will not create a raised flour on their own (such is my understanding). Sunflower seed ground also taste lovely in bread, as long as it is included with a raising grain. Rye I just don't like. Buckwheat requires temperatures this area can't maintain. Corn makes another bread additive. Also, the prettier the better. Then I can encroach on my lawn without upsetting the neighbors. Perennial ideal. No crosses or other funny business. I seed save. I know muffins can be made with mostly squash and eggs, but I'm looking for actual bread here.
Are you sure buckwheat can't grow in your Ohio climate? Here in Ladakh, in the lower parts, which are probably zone 6, people harvest barley in the last week of July and follow it with buckwheat. Up where I am, which is only a little bit colder in winter and later in spring, they only grow a single round. Our summers are extremely sunny, but not very hot. For comparison, apples, apricots and pears do great up where I live, but down where they grow buckwheat as a second crop, they can also grow grapes and lame little peaches.
Maybe you could try a small garden bed of buckwheat just to see if it sets seed before fall. I use buckwheat as pancakes, with eggs and baking soda: I usually make them savory, with onions cooked in, and eaten with yogurt doctored up with herbs etc (not anybody's tradition, just my own).
Works at a residential alternative high school in the Himalayas SECMOL.org . "Back home" is Cape Cod, E Coast USA.
Thank you Rebecca. I thought buckwheat would be a perfect second grain here. I planted it late July, and the heat caused it to bolt, but produce empty seed husks. Ziltch. The second season I got it in later. Flowers, but then the cold came and ziltch. We either get polar or southern air masses depending on the week or day or hour. The temps can fluctuate from snowing one week to 75 and sunny the next week and then back down the following week. I think that messes with some plants reproductive cycle. Buckwheat seems to be one of those, but perhaps I just don't have the right variety? Do you have the same temperature fluctuations? And if so, what variety of buckwheat do you use? I just used a cover crop labeled "buckwheat" when I last gave it a go.
William, those are interesting ideas and I may try those instead of or with my wheat, at some point, but from what I read, they have similar growth needs, where you plant them in spring and harvest them in mid summer, is that right?
I did find a lovely site while researching these that did have more grain choices. Sorghum, amaranth, and millet. Millet appears to be exceedingly fast growing, so that may be the winner. I will have to run trials. It does not raise (gluten free) but it does have high carbs, which might make it good for flat bread, quick bread, pancakes, pasta, cookies or get mixed with the wheat to get the rising action going.