Alfred Reed Bishop and Doris William Butler

The picture above is the very tap root of Bishop's Homegrown/Face Of The Earth Seed. My grandparents shortly after moving to Pekin Indiana from Greensburg KY in 1947 where they purchased the farm that is now Bishop's Homegrown. This picture was taken in Pekin in front of the old co-op next to the old railroad depot, neither of which exist today.

Search This Blog

Friday, December 5, 2008

Hip-Gnosis Seed Devlopment Grain Trials for 2009

One of the many areas that I think most market farmers and home gardeners miss out on is in growing grains. Often I think that people believe that grains can and should only be grown in giant acreage of mono-crop fields, but this is most certainly not the case, but the question becomes in all reality, how much space is required to produce a sufficient amount of grain for a small family, an individual, or even for possible sales at a farmers market. As with all crops it is risk versus reward. The trick is to find the easiest crops and varieties to bring to fruit with the least amount of worry in an organic system while also balancing the weight of yield and nutrition.

I know there are others already working on these crops, but as witnessed by the general lack of conversation of such crops on the Homegrown Goodness Message board, they are few and far between. Sure, everybody grows some kind of corn in their home or market garden, but how many grow Wheat, Spelt, Oats, Millet, Amaranth, and Quinoa.

If we want to be truly self sufficient we should be seriously considering these crops and the nutrition that they can and should provide us. Some of them in and of themselves are a complete source of nutrition. Value added grains if you will, those with complete sets of needed food values, such as Quinoa, which are also seldom seen as cash crops by the Chemical Companies who own the Seed Companies and as such represent little risk for GMO contamination or patent gene drift, should be a particularly good crop to further domesticate in the further Northern and Southern latitudes of our globe. These are the grains that shall help provide nutrition in states where malnutrition are the norm, including here in the US. In a time of economic instability around the globe these are the grains that should be in all of our gardens.

Further we can not overlook the importance of grains like wheat, how nice would it be to bake your own bread from your own wheat stock? How about hulless oats, easy to thresh, high nutrition quality, a multitude of uses. For those of us maintaining farm animals let us not pass up the importance of feeding locally, particularly from our own stock of grains, avoiding any and all contamination by synthetic pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers. Millet should make a great addition to a poultry or game foul mix of your own.

What about rice? Can we grow rice in Indiana? If so what is a good variety, what culture should be used to bring it to fruit?

In 2009 I plan to work with a number of these important grains. As I said above, the question is what is the bare minimum amount of space to be devoted in a bio-intensive farming setting to mixed grain production in order to feed a family of three, livestock, and also allow some amount for sale and some seed for replanting. I have not in the past been nearly vigilant enough about writing down the results of my experiments and seed breeding, however this blog has brought me into the sphere of realizing my work is no longer only important to myself but to others as well, by realizing such a thing, I have inspired a new way of thinking, wherein I will better document my future experiments by utilizing the individual space I have here and on the message board for such projects and their documentation.

1 comment:

anne said...

Hi Alan,just fleeing the heat over at my blog... we grew oats when we had a neighbour with a combine, but the problem has always been time to handle it by hand (and the issues with weather) The BCS walk behind tractor (which they make in diesel if you recycle grease) makes a small combine that fits on the PTO..this would be a good to tool for a small farm scale if one is feeding cows, chickens and family. Rice..have you heard of red uplands rice? You are right on about the need to save and develop grain varieties for smallholders. Have you seen Dan Jason's grain seed collection (saltspring seeds)
Great spud photo!