I kinda laughed out loud just typing that title. When Alex and I first got married 6 years ago (in 4 days), I never had in my mind to make bread. Let alone grow wheat. I was probably in that mindset of some thinking “I didn’t even know you COULD grow wheat.” Our lives have changed a lot. Our priorities, dreams and goals are way different than they were when we got married. I am not sure I would even be friends with my “old self.” We are just too different. Hahah. I am sure a lot of us feel that way.
But alas, we have embraced the country life. The slowed down, not too many commitments kind of life. As we have mentioned many times on this blog, one of our goals in moving to the country (and buying 5 acres) was moving towards self-sufficiency. No, we may not ever reach full self-sufficiency because of some challenges that we face. Nevertheless, in the ways that I can reach it, bodiggidy I am going to try. One of those slightly crazy ideas is growing our own wheat and cereal grains (like rye, oats, barley, etc). In order to ever be able to do it large scale we will need a significant amount of tools and or machinery. Girl aint cutting down an acre of wheat with some garden snips. However, as it has been with everything else…before I dream big, I need to act practically. Baby steps and experiments this year, remember?
So. As it is, Alex went out with his shovel and rake and hand tilled me a plot of land about 12×18 ft for our “experiment” wheat growing. I ordered 5lbs of Hard Red Winter Wheat (as all I currently had in the kitchen was Spring Wheat). Thankfully, it had been raining for 4 days prior to our digging, so it was much easier than trying to do it on a dry week. Our soil is in pretty sad condition. We did not want to plant the wheat in our garden bed because it wouldn’t be ready for harvest until next July sometime. I didn’t want to take up space in my Spring bed with an experimental crop. After Alex tilled, I hand broadcasted about 2 1/2 lbs of the wheat. I really have no idea how much I should have used I just eye-balled it. I raked the seeds in a 1/2in to an inch deep. And it kept raining…so no watering for me! Yay! This was last Saturday. I went and checked on the wheat today, and I am happy to say that IT SPROUTED! Which means it germinated and is GROWING. Can I get a hallelujah!? I was half expecting to look out the window and see millions of birds feasting on all my seeds, but I haven’t seen that YET! So lets hope they don’t get a clue…or I might loose my precious wheat.
Apparently…now, I am not a gardener…yet. But wheat will grow 30-50 times its original quantity. So like, if I planted one pound, I could get up to 50lbs back! Well, I planted just over 2 lbs and I will be thrilled to DEATH if I get 50lbs. Ok, I hope I don’t die, but I might cry. Happy sobs. And in case you are wondering…winter wheat is planted a few weeks before the first frost is expected. It gets a head start on growing, then you cover it for the winter and it sits dormant through the winter. Then, when the first warmth of spring comes it pops back awake and keeps on growing. As said above, harvest time is usually mid June-July.
When we bought the house, all the fields around us were planted with wheat. It was so awesome to watch it grow and mature. Granted, I don’t think I would actually eat the wheat they plant across the street from our house…it is a beautiful thing to watch grow. Near harvest time it gets very dried out and sways in the breeze. Hard to describe the sound, but dry wheat blowing in the breeze is a lovely, lovely sound. I’d say its as beautiful as hearing ocean waves. Sometimes it even sounds like that.
I’ll keep you posted on the wheat plot journey. And then, hopefully next Summer you can come over for some freshly baked bread. Ha. So let’s review. 6 years ago Erica bought white bread. 4 years ago, Erica started buying wheat bread. 3 years ago Erica started making bread occasionally. 2 years ago Erica really got nuts and started grinding her own grain from whole wheat berries and making bread. 1 year ago Erica started dreaming of growing wheat to grind to bake bread. Present day, Erica planted wheat to grow to cut, thresh, winnow, dry, grind, knead, bake and finally EAT a HOMEGROWN loaf of bread. Told ya, I’ve lost it!
In other breadish news…I finally sent off for a new sourdough starter. Praying I keep this one alive. I have missed Emily Elizabeth so much. My first love. I hope it will do better during the cooler months and when the dang fruit fly population has died off. Then, next summer I will try to do the refrigerator thing. More on that next summer, ok? For now…Say a little prayer for meee.
And in other news…Lea and I just got done planting a few rows of garlic. Dude, had I known growing stuff like garlic was so easy…well, at least the ACT of planting is easy…growing, we will have to see. You just literally take a head of garlic and break it into individual cloves and then plant those cloves. Each clove will yield a head of garlic. Shhweeet. Now, I learned a lesson that most garlic you get from the store is treated with an anti-sprouting agent, so basically they won’t grow a green leaf out of your garlic container. Not sure exactly why that would be bad, but…it is. So, now I know and I won’t be buying garlic from the store unless its organic (cuz they can’t spray organic ones). I was able to find some organic garlic and I put a clove in a little wet towel for a few days to make sure it sprouted and sure enough it did! Yay. So Lea and I dug two trenches and planted about 36 cloves of garlic. Then we covered it with a couple inches of good composted woodchips and soil . Those babies will sprout (hopefully!) and grow a few inches before the frosts come, then like the wheat, they will just hang out until Spring until they start growing again for a late summer harvest. I’m excited and have high hopes for these babies. I mean, I spent a total of $2 on 4 heads of organic garlic and a whopping $5 on wheat seeds. So my investments are small right now. We planted the garlic in what will be the apple orchard because garlic and onions planted near fruit trees are EXCELLENT pest deterrents. Guess the bugs don’t like Italian food. Ok, not funny…I know.
Welp, ill wrap it up here. Lea wants my help folding a pile of laundry. She loves folding laundry. What a kid…oh and El just woke from a nap. So, quiet mommy time=OVER.
See you soon!