Sunday, May 6, 2012

In Favor of Buckwheat

This spring we are doing some more experimenting with small scale grain growing.  After doing some research on buckwheat, it really seems to be a wonder crop.  It is easy to grow, germinating in only 3-5 days and grows well in dry climates, giving up to 3-4 crops per year. Not only do the bees love it, buckwheat provides one of the highest honey yields per acre.  Bees working the buckwheat flowers make a dark sweet honey with a robust flavor that is high in antioxidants.

Used as a cover crop it will break up highly compacted soil while used as a green manure, it can be plowed into the soil after only three weeks.  It is a great mulch for overwintering beds.  (An amazing soil building combo would be buckwheat, crimson clover, borage, and vetch.)  Sowing buckwheat around your fruit trees creates a living mulch and it gathers nutrients on a deeper soil depth than the tree roots.  
tester bed about two weeks after planting, covered with young buckwheat leaves
It's edible blooms attracts beneficial insects as it also lures harmful insects like aphids away from other garden vegetables.  Buckwheat is gluten free.  It also has a feed value similar to oats so can be used for the homestead animals mixed with other grains.  Sounds like it's worth trying, we sure hope it lives up to it's reputation.  If so, we may be planting a whole lot more in the future.

Oh, and we can't forget buckwheat pancakes!

1 comment:

  1. oh, i use buckwheat in many recipes! i'd love to try and grow it. thanks for sharing!

    (i am loving your blog! full of great info!=)