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Sepp Holzer's perennial grain  RSS feed

 
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Does Sepp grow the grain in a no till type of set up?
If so, has he put together a plant guild, or does he just let whatever grow, grow?
 
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Zach Weiss wrote:...Keep in mind that I won't have enough to share until WINTER of 2015 but at that point (assuming everything goes well) I would like to make this offer: I will send a small amount of the seed to everyone that I am able to. The thing that I ask in return is that you first send me seed you have saved yourself, from your favorite/most valuable plant. This way I feel good about the odds of the seed that I send out being successfully propagated.



Zach, I'm very interested in trialing some of Zepp's grain. I have heard that Einkorn is very hard to thresh also. I am trialing some of it this year that I got from Bountiful Gardens.

Just an update...this will be our 5th year of growing Tim's Mountaineer Perennial Rye. All the original plants have come back every year so far. The year before last we had a very wet spring and the Ergot was terribly bad and I saved very little seed. Last year the Ergot was much less and a drier spring. I have saved seed from each year, but still have not tried it in baking. Last year the weeds got very thick in the row, but didn't seem to bother the rye plants at all. Also, we had one winter amazingly with very little snow (usual is 7 plus feet, -20F), and it didn't bother the plants at all. I believe 7 years is the most anyone has grown these....
 
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Craig Dobbelyu wrote:Instead of being mowed the first year, could it be used as forage for animals in a paddock shift system? If so, which ones? What is the value of that biomass as afeed source? What insects and other wild life would also eat it at the grass stage?



Sepp isn't mowing the grain, he is trimming it with a sythe. I imagine it could also be mowed by animals in a paddock shift once you have a big field of it. Horses and pigs wouldn't work (horses rip up the roots and pigs till too much) but sheep, goats, and other bovines should work well. I think the key would be having enough of the grain that it won't matter if they over harvest some of it.

Nick Kitchener wrote:Does Sepp grow the grain in a no till type of set up? If so, has he put together a plant guild, or does he just let whatever grow, grow?



I have seen this grain grown successfully in a no till set-up. Sepp is often sowing it after some disturbance (increasing the success rate) but I have also seen it successfully grown with no disturbance at all. Often times he is sowing it after the pigs have tilled an area, or in disturbed areas where he has just created some new earthworks. He is seeding a large diversity of species along with the grain, very much directing the support species that develop. Clovers, turnips, radishes, salads, and trefoils is just a start, a lot of the species mention in "sepp holzer's Permaculture" in the "Green Manures" table are used in companion with this ancient grain.

Bunkie, great to hear of your success with the Perennial Rye! Do you have any pictures?
 
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Akiva Silver wrote:I believe the real potential of perennial grains lies in chestnut trees. Chestnuts have roughly the nutritional equivalent of brown rice. They are easy to grow, easy to harvest, easy to store, can be ground with the same equipment as corn and they can live for thousands of years (it's true, there is a tree in Sicily that is about 4,000 years old).
I have planted a chestnut orchard for experimental grain production. I hope to be selling flour within a few years, and I also hope to help other people plant chestnut trees through my nursery. The Italians have been using chestnuts for millennia as a grain for humans and livestock.



I would like to try that or any other nut I can grow... The first question for me would be what do you use for leaven? What fills the roll of gluten? What method of shell removal do you use? How is chestnut different from other nuts? (I seem to remember it having more starch?) Chestnuts seem to grow well here.
 
Nick Kitchener
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Zach Weiss wrote:
I have seen this grain grown successfully in a no till set-up. Sepp is often sowing it after some disturbance (increasing the success rate) but I have also seen it successfully grown with no disturbance at all. Often times he is sowing it after the pigs have tilled an area, or in disturbed areas where he has just created some new earthworks. He is seeding a large diversity of species along with the grain, very much directing the support species that develop. Clovers, turnips, radishes, salads, and trefoils is just a start, a lot of the species mention in "Sepp Holzer's Permaculture" in the "Green Manures" table are used in companion with this ancient grain.



That's good to see. I'm doing some research into guilds that include north american prairie plants for nutrient accumulation, food, medicinals, and insect food (nectar).
 
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For anyone who is interested there is a video on youtube titled "Krameterhof" (filmed by integralpermanence.org) narrated by Sepp's son Josef where he explains how they grow the strips of rye on terraces surrounded by beneficial plants and edibles with some really good views of the layout. He gets into the rye at around 10:40.
 
bunkie weir
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Zach Weiss wrote:

Craig Dobbelyu wrote:...Bunkie, great to hear of your success with the Perennial Rye! Do you have any pictures?



Sorry Zachh, I see all my previous pics are down right now. I'll try and find them, and will take some this spring and summer and post.

 
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Are you making an email list of people who will trade their favorite seeds for some of the grain? If so, I would love to be added to the list.....
Do the seeds we send you have to be a grain type, or just a favorite edible?
Can you offer a little more detail how to process / use the grain once it's harvested?...It sounds like it's hull-less??
I read that the seed seem to grow on any latitude...How about hot and dry / more water-logged, or heavy clay soil??
Thanks. Julie
 
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Thanks, Zach, for this clarifying that this is biennial rather than perennial and this clarification:

Sepp calls Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), Acacia but it is really a pseudoacacia. There may be something similar going on here. The grain looks like Einkorn, and he calls it Einkorn, but it may be a relative or pseudo-Einkorn. I'm not sure.



Until "Sepp's grain" becomes more available, what other ancient grains do you and others recommend trying?

Also, I'm wondering if there are other details in the translations of Sepp's books where details have gotten lost?

Thanks,

David
 
Nick Kitchener
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Einkorn is a good start - being the first domesticated wheat that we know of.

Khorasan Emmer (marketed as Kamut) is another good one.

If you're into pastas then a durum wheat (like Kubanka) is worth a try too.

Ideally you want anything that is still of original height to take advantage of the straw, and the larger root systems. Not to mention the chemical make up of the food itself is different from a post green revolution grain.
 
Zach Weiss
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Until "Sepp's grain" becomes more available, what other ancient grains do you and others recommend trying? Also, I'm wondering if there are other details in the translations of Sepp's books where details have gotten lost?



I'm a big fan of Spelt, Buckwheat, and and Kamut. I've read that spelt has a unique characteristic that the poorer the soil the better the yield. Sounds hard to believe but I grew it on some VERY bare bones soil in a dry climate this past year and was very impressed with the results.

I'm sure other details of Sepp's work has been lost in translation, but nothing comes right to mind. This is why it is most important to let nature be your ultimate teacher. What works in one place may not work in another, thing may be translated wrong, and people make mistakes. Observing the nature and letting those observations be your guide, that is a strategy that is full proof.

Julie Carney wrote:Do the seeds we send you have to be a grain type, or just a favorite edible? Can you offer a little more detail how to process / use the grain once it's harvested?...It sounds like it's hull-less?? I read that the seed seem to grow on any latitude...How about hot and dry / more water-logged, or heavy clay soil??



The main thing here is that when the grain is ready (again not till 2015 at the earliest) I would love to send it to as many as I can that will successfully propagate it. The seed exchange is more to avoid sending some of this precious seed to someone who will not be able to successfully propagate it. Favorite plant is fine, I just want the person to be a confident and competent saver of seed.

My understanding of the processing is to let it dry and cure, then thrash. Winnow and the result is grain that you can use like any other whole grain. I'm not great with grain terminology but I believe Sepp Einkorn is a soft hulled variety, so the grain is hulless after threshing. As far as I know hot or dry, water logged, or heavy clay soil, this grain does pretty spectacular in every condition it has been tested in so far. My intention is to get as much of this grain out there moving forward, as people grow it around the world we will learn lots more about it.
 
Julie Carney
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It sounds very spectacular! I love the fact that it produces great straw AND great grain!
Have a good harvest!
 
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Zach Weiss wrote:



I'm a big fan of Spelt, Buckwheat,

I'm sure other details of Sepp's work has been lost in translation, but nothing comes right to mind. This is why it is most important to let nature be your ultimate teacher. What works in one place may not work in another, thing may be translated wrong, and people make mistakes. Observing the nature and letting those observations be your guide, that is a strategy that is full proof.

I would love to send it to as many as I can that will successfully propagate it. The seed exchange is more to avoid sending some of this precious seed to someone who will not be able to successfully propagate it. Favorite plant is fine, I just want the person to be a confident and competent saver of seed.

I believe Sepp Einkorn is a soft hulled variety, so the grain is hulless after threshing. As far as I know hot or dry, water logged, or heavy clay soil, this grain does pretty spectacular in every condition it has been tested in so far. My intention is to get as much of this grain out there moving forward, as people grow it around the world we will learn lots more about it.



[color=black] Zack Weiss,
I am too a big fan of spelt (Dinkel). We (me too) make each week a spelt bread at home. I lived six years in west germany and I learned to love a good bread. I will try it here in North Portugal, in our garden (some thousands quadrat meter). Thanks for saying spelt can produce well in poor soil. You gave me the will to try it. Thanks.
About tanslation, i found in a Sepp book the word in german urkorn (not einkorn) for siberian rye. Urkorn means ancient grain. "Ein" in german is one and "ur" in german is ancient i think. I am not a german. But as You say let the nature be our teacher.
In 2015 I want to have some seeds of the siberian einkorn or urkorn from Sepp from you if it would be possible. I want to be in the list of your seeds guardians. I am already a guardian of Paulo Bessa (Iceland /Portugal) Trim Peters perennial rye, and many others plants and cereals.
North Portugal
Benjamim Fontes
]

 
Len Ovens
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Zach Weiss wrote:
The main thing here is that when the grain is ready (again not till 2015 at the earliest) I would love to send it to as many as I can that will successfully propagate it. The seed exchange is more to avoid sending some of this precious seed to someone who will not be able to successfully propagate it. Favorite plant is fine, I just want the person to be a confident and competent saver of seed.



Makes sense. I am one of those with no seed saving experience, but I do realize I need to learn. What is good to learn on? Nature seed saves on it's own or these plants wouldn't be around, but people are pretty good at mucking things up. I don't have a lot of space either (the dream is to say "yet"), but I would like to try some more things. It is wetter here (west coast) but not like the great lakes (soaking wet air). Generally warm, we have planted tomatoes outside in Feb with only a window over (not a full frame) with success. (though it is snowing right now All our snow has been this month this year)
 
Zach Weiss
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Benjamim Fontes wrote: i found in a Sepp book the word in german urkorn (not einkorn) for siberian rye. Urkorn means ancient grain. "Ein" in german is one and "ur" in german is ancient i think.



Great catch Benjamim! Thanks for this. I was just catching Einkorn by ear but all of the vowels are pronounced differently in German anyway. So while my ear was hearing "Einkorn" Sepp was probably saying "Urkorn" as I believe a German "u" sounds like an English "e"? Something like that? If any German speakers read this it would be great to get clarification. After hearing that and looking up Einkorn I was fairly confident. But the soft hull is quite unique, and not that you say that it makes a lot of sense with the differences in German and English pronunciation.

Regardless of what this grain technically is it is a quite remarkable plant, one that I think we should do everything we can to propagate and spread as much as possible. Grain is a very important staple crop, and this grain really knocks down all of the barriers for home cultivation.
 
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Just doing a web search for grains and found this site that sells seeds.

http://ancientcerealgrains.org/seedandliteraturecatalog1.html

and another. http://www.growseed.org/seed.html
 
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This sounds very interesting. Would love to try some of any of the perennials grains noted for here in hot Texas (well, except for it being in the 20s) to see how any of these grow.
 
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I just started doing a fodder system. The barley I got was about 22 cents a pound, its organic seed barley. The guy said that he gets 4 to 5 tons per acre. Which is about what I need per year for all my animals. I am curious how well the perennial grains would work for fodder. Even if they produced half as much as the annual I could see myself growing a couple acres of perennial grains, hand scything it can using it as fodder. I can see it saving on water, due to the fact that it could actually grow a root system, and not having to till and plant the seed each year just makes my heart pitter patter. Also I have a strong fondness for scything. Mostly if makes me feel cool and like a farmer of old, so it would be fun to mow and produce a few acres of grain. Any more and it would become a bit less fun.
 
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Planting Sepps Grain.
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Sam Barber
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Here is the sepp holzer grain security fence now with turkey proofing.
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steward
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Wow, that's some secure grain! Is your enclosure mose/vole proof?
 
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Well, here's my report on the sepp holzer grain. I planted a five foot row last year, next to a row of Mountaineer perennial rye (which you can barely see in the middle photo). This is the first time I've tried winter grain; the conventional wisdom up here is that snow mold renders that impossible. As feared, damage was severe. Two Holzer plants survived, and six or eight of the Mountaineer. It was pretty impressive; even with marginal soil fertility the Holzer stalks grew about six feet tall and didn't lodge, and the ears were about six inches long. The grains are fat. Mountaineer, at less than half the size, looked feeble in juxtaposition. I don't know if the survivors just got lucky or whether they have some genetic resistance to the mold; I planted another row this year and will pool any grain from those survivors with this year's to see if it proves more robust than the original seed (it's too late to plant up here now; the ground will be frozen solid in a few weeks). The first Holzer ears to emerge remained empty; only later ones filled with grain. Maybe they need to cross pollinate; not much of that going on with only two plants. It'll be interesting to see if any survive this winter, and whether the progeny of those retain that ability.

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Early Heads--didn't fill with grain
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Mountaineer is to the right of the Holzer grain
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Head at bottom completely empty
 
bunkie weir
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Victor, on the Mountaineer Rye, I had planted 100 seeds the first year (2009) and 75 germinated. I planted in the spring, and come fall, they had huge seed heads with no seed in them. I was told by Tim Peters that he was surprized I got anything at all, planting them in the spring! He said they should be planted in July or August. The next year when the plants reappeared, they produced nice heads again, and were full of seed! Don't give up on them! They grew to about 10 plus feet tall.

I'm readying to harvest ours, tho looks like the grasshoppers have had at it. Working on pics, too, Zach.

Great pics Sam! How exciting about planting Sepp's grain!
 
Nick Kitchener
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Good to see Paul putting this thread in the dailyish email.

and Paul... I may not have any of Sepps grain, but I am reading this while eating pie
 
Victor Johanson
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bunkie weir wrote:Victor, on the Mountaineer Rye, I had planted 100 seeds the first year (2009) and 75 germinated. I planted in the spring, and come fall, they had huge seed heads with no seed in them. I was told by Tim Peters that he was surprized I got anything at all, planting them in the spring! He said they should be planted in July or August. The next year when the plants reappeared, they produced nice heads again, and were full of seed! Don't give up on them! They grew to about 10 plus feet tall.

I'm readying to harvest ours, tho looks like the grasshoppers have had at it. Working on pics, too, Zach.



I did plant these in the spring, but that was last spring...they didn't head out, because our season is short. The plants I harvested went through a winter. I have since learned that they should be planted later. The ones I planted this spring haven't headed out either.
 
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I'd kill for som that dur grain.
 
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Does anyone have a source for the mountain rye? I'm looking for a perennial grain more for chicken food so any other suggestions would be great as well.
 
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Update on the rye seedlings
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Julia Winter
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Hurray! Looking good. . .
 
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I have grown perennial rye, in Iceland, and had similar experience to Bunkie.

First year, 2013, the grain planted in spring produced seed heads but no seed. Many plants did not overwinter though. The winters in Iceland are harsh, and severe freezes occur often without snow cover. A couple of plants survived, but since they did not had other perennial rye plants nearby, they failed to produce seed. One produced seed, but very little, because of a nearby perennial rye new plant. (tip, rye and perennial rye is not self-fertile, so make a field with at least several plants and not just a few of them! So Bunkie and Victor, its true, rye absolutely needs cross-pollination, by wind, otherwise seedheads will be empty - they also will, if growing season is too short)

Overall, I found out that perennial rye is less winter hardy than conventional rye, and that not worth for Iceland.

Other than that, I noticed that of the several plants of perennial rye I start, only about half become perennial towards the second year of growth, and the other half behaves as annual. One plant was going now into the third year and I gave it to a local friend, because I am moving out of Iceland this winter. So the perennial rye behavior is not that stable yet, it seems, depending both in the climate and also on the intrinsic genetics of each seed, which gives wide variability and instability of the perennial trait.

Now I am moving back to Portugal, my home country, where climate is way different, more akin to California. There a friend of mine, has some of the perennial grain I gave him, to produce seed, but apparently did not became a perennial too. So I hope to continue my perennial rye trials there.

By the way, I also tried perennial rye and perennial wheat, seed bought from a small Irish seed company called Brown Envelope seeds. Apparently they were sourced from Tims also. The grain seemed also promising in their perennial behavior, but I will have to check that in the next year. (On this note, I also have been on Martin´s Crowford garden, in UK, where he has been growing perennial rye since a few several years and apparently having good results. Two years ago, I also visited sepp holzer but only his children were there and they were not able to give me his perennial grain seeds, apparently they did not know it). Never got hold of Sepp´s seed, which I think is a type of rye different from the one of Tim Peters.

Trouble is, I still have little seed of Tims perennial rye, so I still need a couple of years to end up with some conclusive results.
Perhaps we can pool our experiments together this year, and exchange some seed with other, in hopes of getting perennial strains adapted to different climates, cold, arid, hot, etc..

 
Zach Weiss
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This may only be helpful to people in Montana or people close by but there is going to be a Permaculture Seed Swap in Livingston February 28th. I will be bringing a small amount of Sepp's Ancient Grain to trade with whoever brings intriguing seeds to exchange. Propagating incredible genetics like Sepp's grain is such an important key to the future in my opinion, I can see lots of winter seed swaps taking place in the future. For more info on the Seed Extravaganza:

Click Here
 
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So where can I buy some of this grain? Or if some one wants to trafe I save snake squash seeds. My pigs love em.
 
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I'd also be very interested in sourcing a small amount of this grain to experiment with and grown on. I've been trying to find old varieties of spelt, emmer and einkorn to grow, but so far without success as all the sources I've tracked down are vary proprietorial about their seed.

@Paulo Bessa - I'm also in Portugal and would be happy to help experiment with your rye varieties.
 
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Len Ovens wrote: I would like to try that or any other nut I can grow... The first question for me would be what do you use for leaven? What fills the roll of gluten? What method of shell removal do you use? How is chestnut different from other nuts? (I seem to remember it having more starch?) Chestnuts seem to grow well here.



Len, chestnuts are mostly carbohydrate. Much less protein and fat than other nuts. That's what makes the flour suitable for breads. Yeast is usually used for leaven. Eggs and ground flax seeds fill the gluten role.

I haven't seen a bread recipe that uses only chestnut flour. Usually they call for wheat flour as well. Anyone?
 
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So a seed saving from wheat question. I have wheat fields all around me. We get blow over of wheat seed on our land. So I guess I'm wondering if you'd want to save seed from a home grown wheat if you knew it was so close to commercial wheat.
 
paul wheaton
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Photo by my friend Art Held.

Sometime in the middle of winter, some giant doofus in overalls went out and peed on one side ....

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Sepp Holzer's Grain
 
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The question is, do you remember which side it was??
 
paul wheaton
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Michael Cox wrote:The question is, do you remember which side it was??



Yes. And I think it is really obvious in the picture: the uphill side.
 
No. No. No. No. Changed my mind. Wanna come down. To see this tiny ad:
It's like binging on 7 seasons of your favorite netflix permaculture show
http://permaculture-design-course.com/
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