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Small-Scale Grain Raising

Small-Scale Grain RaisingAs the next step in my pursuit of easy to grow grains, I decided to take everyone's advice and read Small-Scale Grain Raising by Gene Logsdon.  I thoroughly enjoyed the book, although (as usual) I felt it glossed over some very important aspects of bringing grain growing to the backyard.  Still, the book made me feel that growing grain was within my reach.

I have to admit that before reading Small-Scale Grain Raising, I fell into the category of folks who don't really think about where their grain comes from.  The only grain commonly grown in my area is corn, and I grew up thinking that flour came from the store.  I assumed that grain-growing was an esoteric undertaking requiring vast amounts of land, equipment, and know-how.  And could you really grow it around here?

But some rough and dirty math suggests that I could create the three cups of flour I use in my favorite pizza crust recipe from 22 square feet of soil --- about the size of one of my raised beds.  As I'll explain later, Logsdon has had success threshing and winnowing grain on the backyard scale.

Harvesting rice in ChinaMany of you are probably thinking --- why grow grain when you can buy flour so cheaply in the store?  My primary motivation is a bit geeky --- I just like knowing how to do things myself.  But growing your own grain has other perks.  When I read Farmers of 40 Centuries, I was a bit jealous of the endless rice straw these farmers seemed to have on hand for mulching.  Straw is a major byproduct of all kinds of grain-growing, and I am always on the lookout for more sources of mulch.

Growing your own grain is also the key to independence from store-bought chicken feed.  And if you grow your own grains, you can make true whole grain flours, without the healthy germ removed.  All in all, it looks like an endeavor worth experimenting with.

This post is part of our Backyard Grain Growing lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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Does this still mean we are in for quinoa & amaranth?
Comment by anna Mon Jan 25 14:14:32 2010

Absolutely! Actually, I ordered my seeds before I did much research, so I think what we'll be trying this year is quinoa, amaranth, and hull-less oats. Maybe expanding next year into other things, depending on how this year goes.

Comment by anna Mon Jan 25 14:15:05 2010

Where did you get the hull-less oats? I'm pretty much going through Seeds of Change for everything.

Comment by anna Mon Jan 25 14:18:48 2010
Yup --- Seeds of Change it was!
Comment by anna Mon Jan 25 14:20:08 2010

Awesome, I have to call them this afternoon to see for what commercial grower stuff we might qualify. Also if we have enough people rent community plots - we'll retail their seeds as well.

Comment by anna Mon Jan 25 14:24:40 2010
I'll be very curious to hear if you get any special commercial grower rates or perks! I'll definitely keep everybody updated about how the hull-less oats experiment goes.
Comment by anna Mon Jan 25 14:28:46 2010
The answer is no until you ask. And I always ask!
Comment by anna Mon Jan 25 14:44:26 2010

One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime