Our 1.6 acre grain project
We have a neighbor who happens to have some really great land. Although most of the land in our area is what I call “sand and potato rocks”, for some reason this particular neighbor’s land is deep, dark soil. He has planted a plot of blue berries, but the balance of the good land was not being used. So he gave us permission to use it to grow some grains. Rene Featherstone, my grain guru, came by and when we showed him the meadow, his response was that the land was too good to grow grains. “You want to grow a high value crop like broccoli, onions or potatoes and then when the land is less fertile, then you grow grains. But you are beginners,” he continued, “so just go ahead and grow grains. They are a grass and you can’t fail.” So with that mixed analysis from Rene, we’ve begun our journey into being mini-farmers.
The first thing was to plow the land. Rene said that we’re up against the clock–the grain needs to be harvested before the Fall rains start. So we need to get the soil prepared immediately. A neighbor lent us his tractor and we happened to have a plow, so Billy did his best to turn the soil. It was difficult because the ground is still quite wet and the sod is deep.
We’ve decided to get a tractor with more appropriate tires to do the discing. After the discing, the land will be rolled or rototilled to get it ready for seeding. We’re going to be planting a variety of grains including Red Fife, an old variety of wheat that was prized for its flavor. We’re also planting some rye, hull-less oats, triticale and durum wheat. On Rene’s advice we’ll be double cropping some of the grain with camelina, too.