This year was my first to grow potatoes, and I started thinking about grains.  Is it possible to grow grains in your own city yard?  I’ve heard of folks canoeing along the Wisconsin rivers harvesting wild rice, and I’ve heard of cover crops, which are grains…so this is what I’ve learned.

  • Seems that there is more risk in growing winter grains, with the variability of weather and snow.  With a wet season, you could ruin your crop.  Spring grains come with less of a risk.
  • It might be just what the garden needs for crop rotation.  We tend to plant vegetable vegetable vegetable and often within the same family in our yards.
  • The only “grain” that takes more nitrogen is corn, but others require little amendment to the soil.  They just like well tilled, loose soil.
  • What’s the yield?  It looks like a pretty decent yield, 8-10 times the lb you plant.   For me I think the planting of a grain would be somewhat novel, not for the purpose of making all my bread for the year.
  • Rye and Oats seem the least demanding and it seems they need little irrigation, only the rain from the sky.
  • Harvesting is a little more involved than just picking your veggie off the vine.  Cutting, separating, drying, and milling the grain to a fine powder are all involved.  Oats provide an extra step if they have hulls, but you can plant hull less varieties.

This next Spring, I might give it a try in a very small spot,  just to say I have.  Please take a look at the articles Mother Earth News and Culture Change for in depth discussion on this topic!


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