How to Grow Buckwheat

Grow buckwheat is the perfect for a cover crop and use this guide to find cooking applications and a brief history of this protein laden food.


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    Buckwheat is one of the best sources of high quality protein in the plant kingdom. It's easy to grow, harvest, and process; it prospers on soils too poor for other crops; and it's not susceptible to any major disease or pest problems.
    PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

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Buckwheat is easy to grow — in fact, it's unequaled at growing on poor soil . . . cut the stems with grass shears when about three-quarters of the seeds have turned brown. Threshing the seeds is fun: Just lay the stalks on a clean sheet and beat them with a broom!

Buckwheat is one of the best sources of high quality protein in the plant kingdom. It's easy to grow, harvest, and process; it prospers on soils too poor for other crops; and it's not susceptible to any major disease or pest problems. On top of all that, buckwheat is an excellent smother crop for weed control, a superb green manure crop, and a legendary nectar source for honeybees.

Yet few gardeners use it! In all the years we've planted buckwheat for bread and pancake flour, we've never heard of any other gardener raising the crop. So this article explaining how to grow buckwheat is our chance to speak up for an old friend, one that has served us faithfully . . . providing fine flavor and wholesome nutrition while asking for just a little care in return. We think buckwheat is the backyard grain you can bring in a usable harvest from as little as 40 square feet! It well deserves a place in American gardens.

A Bit About How to Grow Buckwheat

Some guidelines on how to grow buckwheat: This quick-blooming crop doesn't like hot, dry weather and is produced commercially only in the northern states. Still, while high temperatures — particularly at night can reduce yields by causing flowers to "blast" (fall off without forming seed), buckwheat's long period of bloom.generally ensures at least a moderate crop even when it's planted as far south as Tennessee. At our location in south central Kentucky, we've experienced some losses in August heat, but these have been followed by excellent seed formation during cooler periods in September.



Buckwheat is also quite tolerant of acidic conditions — there's little to be gained by adding lime to the soil. What's more, soluble nitrogen fertilizer is definitely not recommended for buckwheat, because it can cause the plant to favor vegetative, rather than seed, growth. However, buckwheat does respond well to nutrients supplied by the natural breakdown of organic materials. Winter cover crops such as rye and hairy vetch plowed under as green manure are excellent for maintaining soil fertility where buckwheat is grown.

Who Has the Buckwheat Varieties?

Unfortunately, seed of the few good buckwheat varieties can be quite difficult to locate. Most likely, your local farm supply store can provide you with "common" buckwheat, which is OK but nothing special. The same goes for the few mail-order houses selling buckwheat seed.

MantorvilleMN
10/10/2021 9:06:35 AM

It would be great to have advise on how to harvest the buckwheat so that I can turn it into flour! Our plot is about 0.5 acres so not really suited to purchase big machines…


genehere
5/13/2019 2:27:58 AM

Nice information about buckwheat. Does it need much water? Our soil is sandy loam and just incorporated 300 tons of aged manure per acre over 4 acres. Organic Buck wheat seed is easy to find and averages $0.89 cent per pound 2019 prices. Any info on water needs would be great to hear about.


steveb
2/25/2018 12:34:28 PM

i live in the st. john valley in northern Maine. this area the french Acadian people that live here, have been growing buckwheat commercially for at least a hundred years. Bouchard family farm in Ft Kent has hundreds of acres of buckwheat that they harvest ,grind and sell flour. there is a local bread called ployes made with the flour, thats cooked like a pancake and is a staple side for most Acadian meals. they sell the mix for that too. check out their website. i bet they would sell some seed if you asked them. they even ship the flour and ploye mixes to canada.






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