Monday, December 5, 2011

Can You Harvest Grains From Wheatgrass?

Harvest wheat to use as a grain or seed for next year.

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Wheat production uses more land than any other crop around the world, according to Iowa State University. First grown in the United States in 1602, the traditional use for wheat was as a food crop for man and animals. Wheatgrass is the immature version of the wheat plant, Triticum aestivum. Considered a health food since the 1930s, researchers at Illinois State University believe wheatgrass to contain "many unexplained natural healing qualities." Allowing wheatgrass to grow to maturity allows you to harvest the grains.

Related Searches: Types of Wheat

Choosing a bread-wheat variety allows for the production of wheatgrass and grain. The major classes for bread wheat include hard-red spring and hard-red winter, according to Iowa State University. Spring wheat is planted in early spring for a late-summer harvest, while winter wheat is planted in the fall for an early-summer harvest.

Growing Location

Wheatgrass is often grown indoors, but it should be grown in an outdoor garden area if intended to reach a mature, harvesting size. As a grass, wheat requires the wind to aid in fertilization for the production of seeds. The size of the garden area can range from a small area to several acres. A 30-foot by 30-foot area will generally produce approximately 50 lbs. of harvested grain, according to John Vivian of "Mother Earth News." One acre has the potential to produce 30 bushels, or 1,800 lbs., of wheat.

Harvesting Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass contains the optimum nutrition for juice when between 6 and 7 inches tall, according to Happy Juicer, a juicing information website. It takes approximately 4 to 5 days to reach a harvesting size. Harvest by trimming with scissors an inch or 2 above the soil. Wash thoroughly before juicing. Continued care and watering will allow the wheat to regrow. You can harvest again within a week or allow the plant to mature and produce grain.

Harvesting Wheat Grains

Sara Pitzer of "Mother Earth News" recommends testing the wheat grain once the stalks begin to brown and the heads droop towards the ground. A properly mature wheat grain will be firm and crunchy when eaten. Small areas can be harvested using a scythe, sickle or sheers. Larger areas may require a farm tractor and implements. Once harvested, the wheat should be bundled into 12-inch sheaves and allowed to cure until hard. After threshing and winnowing, the wheat may be stored in airtight containers or ground for flour.

ReferencesIowa State University; Origin, History and Uses of Oat and Wheat; Lance Gibson, et al.; January 2002Illinois State University; Wheatgrass; Kent SeymourHappy Juicer: Growing Wheatgrass -- A Beginner's Guide"Mother Earth News"; Growing Your Own Wheat; Sara Pitzer; 2010"Mother Earth News"; Growing Grains; John Vivian; 1999Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty ImagesRead Next:

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