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Do I need to know what kind of wheat I am planting?  RSS feed

Dar Helwig
Posts: 37
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I want to try growing some wheat and harvesting it. I have a five year old bag of whole grain wheat, for baking, that my wife found in the cupboard. I sprouted some of it. What I don't know is if it is winter wheat, spring wheat, or if it matters with organic wheat. This is Arrow Mills Organic Whole Grain Wheat. Any Ideas if I should plant it now or wait till fall?
Leora Laforge
Posts: 56
Location: Saskatchewan
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Yes it does matter if it is spring or winter wheat. Winter wheat will not develop seed heads until it has gone through a dormant period. It should be planted to have 6-8 weeks growth before the tops freeze off. Since you do not know one way or the other it is more likely to be spring wheat, so plant in the spring. You could also plant half in the spring, if it does not develop seed heads by fall then plant the rest in the fall.
There are also different varieties for different purposes; durum for pasta, hard red which is high in gluten for bread, soft white lower gluten good for pastries. If you are home grinding this without separating the bran and germ then the varieties are not so important.
Good luck with your wheat growing.
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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People get lazy about writing, and might not use words scientifically. But if the farmers are all using a phrase in one way, and the scientists are using a phrase in another way, who is right 1000 farmers, or 10 scientists?

The definition that I use as a farmer when I say "winter wheat" describes planting a crop in the fall, and it goes through winter as young plants and I harvest it in early summer. I often think of it as growing under the snow. In many cases, I could plant the same wheat in early spring, and it would go through its life cycle a little later in the season, and I'd harvest a slightly less productive crop in late summer. I might be able to grow the fall-planted wheat without irrigation, but would have to water the spring-planted wheat. I often grow the same variety both as a winter wheat and as a spring wheat.

There are other wheats which a scientist would call "winter wheat" which require so many hours or degrees of chilling before they will set seeds. They won't make seeds until they have gone through a winter.

When I plant wheat within a few days of the snow melting, they still experience 2.5 months of frosts, so maybe that is enough to make them believe they have gone through a winter.

If you have a bag of wheat, then there is plenty for planting both in the fall, and in the spring.
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Joseph has it right.

Winter wheat is wheat that should be (note the word should) planted in the fall, meaning from the middle of September until the beginning of November. The plants will grow to around 8 inches tall and sit there like that until spring signals them to grow up and seed out.

Spring wheat is wheat that is planted from March through April and will head out near the same time the Winter wheat heads out.

For most people the thing they want to know is  "Is this a Soft wheat or a Hard wheat"? Soft wheat makes bread and cakes, Hard wheat is more for pastas and similar items.

Wheat is very variable because there are so many different varieties and even soft wheat can look as if it is a hard wheat so identification by cheek size and shape, tightness of the crease, size of the germ, shape of the back, and look of the brush are all part of identifying wheat.

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