I’m Growing Wheat This Year. And You Can Too.

No seriously, you can grow wheat in your average sized garden.  You don’t need a lot of room to produce enough wheat to make you feel like a real farmer. Just a 4′ x 4′ plot is enough to give you wheat cred. 

Wheat.  You picture it blowing in the wind on acres of rolling land, a white speck of a farmhouse sits off in the distance with the music of John Denver floating on a breeze.  Sure, that’s one way to grow wheat but what do the rest of us do?  What about those of us who don’t have gravel driveways and relatives named Remington or Jeb? What do WE do?

We plant it just like we plant anything else; anywhere we can.  I say this with all the authority of someone who has NEVER grown wheat before.  But from what I’ve researched it really is as simple as that.  Wheat is easy to grow, doesn’t need especially good soil and you can plant quite a lot in a small space.

To plant it all you need are wheat berries. Wheat berries = wheat seeds.  I made the mistake of buying a very small packet of wheat seed from a seed supplier for $3.  I got about 15 seeds which is plenty to make enough flour for a birthday cake.  If the birthday cake is for a rather underweight mouse.

I got a bit smarter and ordered a whole bag of organic wheat berries for $17 in my chosen wheat variety (Red Fife) and threw a few in a cell pack of soil to see what would happen. In about 3 days they were sprouted and in just over 2 weeks they’re big enough to impress the cast of Hee Haw.

Plus I still have enough wheat berries leftover to plant my garden, grind several cups of flour AND cook a pot of wheat berries.

Wheat falls into 2 categories, spring wheat or winter wheat.  Winter wheat is planted in the fall for a summer harvest, Spring wheat is planted in the spring for a fall harvest.  Spring wheat can be planted “as soon as the ground can be worked”, which really doesn’t mean anything to me even after decades of vegetable gardening. So to me, “when the ground can be worked” generally means when I can go out and garden without swearing about how awful it is outside.  So mid to late spring.

Which means I’m planting wheat in the next week or so at my community garden.  I’ll be planting a 2′ wide by 15′ long bed with wheat.  From what I’ve read I should you can plant a LOT of wheat in one square foot of space.

Wheat can be planted with  24 and 32 wheat seeds per square foot.

 

You might be wondering why I’d even want to grow wheat. Other than the sheer adventure of it, it comes back to what everything always comes back to; pizza.  With this small amount of wheat I should be able to produce around 6 cups of flour.

I want to grow wheat so I can use it to make my pizza dough.  I’ll also use it for bread. Before I can do that with the wheat I’ll have to turn it into flour by grinding it in my Vitamix. If I find I love the whole adventure then I’ll graduate to one of these beautiful wood flour mills and double the amount of space I devote to wheat next year.  So back to that 4′ x 4′ plot of wheat.  If you have one bed like that devoted to wheat you’ll get around 3 cups of wheat.

I think.

Did I mention I’ve never grown wheat before?  But I’d never grown anything before I did.

If it turns out I don’t like growing wheat then I’ll just keep buying the wheat berries and grinding them up for my specialty flour.  No big deal.  I know how you just have to roll with the punches when it comes to tiny mini micro farming.

Have a good weekend and let me know what new thing you’re growing this year. And if you have any relatives named Remington.

→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←

 

Wondering if you can grow wheat in your little suburban backyard? Yes. Yes you can!

47 Comments

  1. Marna says:

    I grow some wheat grass for my cat and dogs, they love it! 🙂

  2. Laura Bee says:

    Remington Steele was not a farmer but I’ll bet he could have been.
    Only Remington I know lol.
    You’re like the little red hen. Nothing is going to taste better than the bread you make from your wheat.

  3. Julia says:

    I have never grown wheat, and I don’t even know any Remington’s, but this year I’m going to grow lufa gourds. You know, the ones everybody thinks are sea sponges. Then I’m going to make soap and put a slice of sponge in each soap mold so there’s a sponge in the soap when it’s all done. These will grow on the trellis that will surround my outdoor kitchen where the soap making and canning will be done. I have a lot of work to do this spring!

    • Karen says:

      Good luck with the luffa. They’re fun! I had a friend of mine turn my last harvest into soap and it’s the greatest scrubbing soap for the shower EVER. ~ karen!

  4. Dana Studer says:

    Funny that you said whenever the ground can be worked which doesn’t mean anything to you after yrs of gardening. I still google the frost-free date every year and I’ve gardened for 20 years. Good luck with your wheat. Maybe you can stick a piece of it in your mouth all hillbilly style and see why they do that. Raw wheat stalks must be tasty?

  5. Mary W says:

    I’m trying to grow ginger – for tea and cookies. If it works I will be so happy. I want to grow Australian ginger since the longer roots don’t have much fiber but can’t find it anywhere. Like a dummy, I grew Stevia last year. It was REAL sweet – unbearable sweet. But I didn’t know anything about how to use it. Now I know that I should tie up the leaves and dry them then crush but can’t find stevia plants this year. Glad cane sugar is relatively cheap. I’m also trying to grow the ginger in Earth Bags. I thought this gift from a cousin was nice – another way to tote my garden stuff. Finally I looked on line and discovered another way to grow things now that I’m in a city. So cool. I got to order more of them and try potatoes. We always grew good potatoes on our land. Had no idea that fresh potatoes tasted so good. Good luck with the wheat. Wheat berry salad is so very good.

  6. Diane says:

    My miniature schnauzer is named Remington. Does that count? The other one is Sammy Colt.

  7. Roz says:

    You should make friends with people at the closest grain elevator, way cheaper way to get wheat.

    All growing heritage wheat in small patches in your garden is a thing now. Saving heirloom varieties and such.

  8. Sam says:

    My first venture into growing anything edible was this year. Since lots of gardeners on youtube advised viewers to grow what we enjoy eating, I planted my favorite field pea (also known as a cow pea). Specifically — Sadandy peas. We eat lots of field peas in the southern U.S. I only planted a handful of seeds to see if I could actually grow them. What I’ve grown is four sturdy plants that are now food for tiny black bugs — aphids I’m guessing. I sprayed them with Neem Oil as suggested, but they are still munching away on my pea plants. I guess I will give up trying to grow edibles and go back to enjoying flowers which I have better luck with.

  9. Cussot says:

    Lots of wheat farmers in my family – they had names like Sam, Bud, Bob, Pat and Phil. Short names keep the dust out of your mouth, I guess. It’s going to be fun to read about your harvest!

  10. Joan Woodrooffe says:

    We grew our own wheat last year – we milled it into flour that I use when baking my sourdough bread. It was so successful we’re doing it again this year! – We use red fife spring wheat and buy organic berries from a small organic farm about an hour from our home – 25 kg. The hardest part is cleaning the berries before milling – I know you’ll come up with an ingenious method to make it easier – I’ll keep watching! Very fun thing to do.

  11. Wendy says:

    Oh, what kind of flowers do you plant in your community garden? I started a whole bunch of nasturtiums indoors, and I tried my hand at Ranunculus but out of nine tubers only two germinated. I’m also trying to start Chinese lanterns from seed but I’ve been watering them faithfully and there isn’t anything showing, so they might be duds. Half of my garden plot is ever berries strawberries, and I’ve got all the veggies needed to make salsa starting from seed indoors now. Hopefully I have enough space in my community garden for all the seeds I want to plant.

  12. Sherrill says:

    Don’t mean to poo poo your idea. Sure growing grain is somewhat of a romantic idea. I think you will be wasting valuable garden space if you grow wheat. That’s just me. I know you will still go through with it and good for you. I bet you won’t do it again next year. But I’m sorry, I’m starting to sound like my father. Sorry, you go girl!

    • Karen says:

      Yup. You’re sounding very much like a father, lol. I can’t listen to what other people think I should or shouldn’t grow. If I did I wouldn’t grow anything. My garden neighbour thinks I’m nuts for growing carrots and thinks you should just buy them. Another gardener feels squash are a waste of space. Someone else down the row thinks I’m wasting space by putting in so many flowers. You get the idea. 😉 ~ karen!

  13. SuzNKton says:

    Red Fife wheat. The one public school lesson that comes back to me….mostly because a) I lived in Saskatchewan for four years ( at the time, they primarily used red fife because it had the shortest germination period) and b) my dad*people* come from Peterborough area (where red fife was developed). All that to say….how can you separate the chaff if you are using a vitamix? Might be better to go ahead and get that grain mill!

    • Karen says:

      Oh, well wheat berries come with the chaff removed already. And I’d remove the chaff as well after drying the wheat. 🙂 Countertop grain mills don’t remove it either. They just grind the berries into wheat. The Vitamix actually does a great job of it too, but technically I should be using a different Vitamix container and blade. It moves in the reverse direction of the blender blade and won’t heat up the flour as it’s pulverizing it. ~ karen!

  14. linda in illinois says:

    Great idea.. wheat grown on my mini farm.. i love that idea.. i will try to find some here in Illinois. Never grown it before, will enjoy the adventure.
    thanks Karen, always my inspiration.

  15. Idaho Girl says:

    This has been a really long week, so your little bit of crazy made for a welcome laugh! When I was in high school, I drove a grain truck to get that wheat in the field from the combine to the warehouse, so I’m used to seeing acres and acres of the stuff waving in the wind. I look forward to hearing how this experiment goes.

  16. Meg says:

    NEAT! I love your gardening–>cooking adventures. How does grinding your own wheat work, is it good, what’s the flour like? Is it that much better? Does it gunk up your blender? I suppose once it’s flour you just kinda store it like any other dry goods… We’re gonna need the full vicarious wheat experience here!

  17. Kristina says:

    I know someone named Remington. She used to raise show pigs, but then she went off to NYU film school and now is a rather good young documentarian. (All of the farmers in our family seem to be called Ralph or Richard.) You should do well growing that wheat. We grow wheat hay as a cover crop for our walnuts (while the trees are young, before the orchard gets too shady). It’s not hard. Seeds, sun, water.

  18. Deirdre Fowler says:

    So…. does that mean $17 of wheat seed = 6 cups of flour? Or did I get lost somewhere?

    • brenda says:

      I think initially some were used to impress the cast of Hee Haw (no small feat) … then there’s the bunch that will be pizza … with enough leftover wheatberries to grind into several more cups of flour (probably for more pizza) and then there’ll be that bowl of cooked wheatberries (probably for breakfast) + I think now some will most likely be skimmed off the top to make wheatberry gum.

      I once grew 10 flax seeds in my Toronto allotment garden – only 3 survived by the end of the season. What an exercise in futility – I didn’t even bother to google how to turn them into a fitted linen sheet when all was said and done.

  19. Jackie says:

    Hi there! No relatives named Remington, but I’m a bonafid 4th generation wheat farmer 👋 My husband and I also grow flax, canola, durum, yellow peas, and lentils! Trying to grow salad greens indoors this year as we just bought our first hone and we have been so busy in the field (and it keeps snowing 🙄) so I won’t get my garden filled until June.

  20. Beckie says:

    I am also trying wheat! But I only want enough to make a few decorations with. I do not have nearly enough space to grow enough for even a birthday cake’s worth of flour.

    I also have wallflowers started. I tried stock last year, but they weren’t overall pretty, just up close pretty. Kind of like statice.

    Good luck with your wheat!

  21. Pat Dejean says:

    I’m happy to see you supporting our local Fergus wheat farmer and grinder. 1847 Stone Milling. They have the best flours! I give bags as gifts to foodie friends, make pancake mixes for gifts, make wooden boxes with jars with different varieties as gifts…In fact, ti think I give more away than I eat!
    Now, I need to go make pancakes.

  22. Ramona says:

    So here is the flip-side… I have 10 raised beds. I took a gardening class in Jan:the first thing the instructor says is “If your soil is naked, cover it with SOMETHING immediately!” So I buy a bale of straw and cover all 10. Flash forward to straw removal in April and every bed is completely covered in wheat! (Apparently, there was quite a bit of hay in the straw.) I’ve spent hours getting it OUT! It’s thick, the roots are deep, and it’s invasive. Next winter, sticking with ground cover and local seaweed. Lesson learned.

    • Karen says:

      I’m not sure why your gardening instructor said to cover your soil immediately? Interesting. And yes, lol. Straw sprouts! ~ karen

    • Catherine Naulin says:

      LOL, same thing happened to me. I should have known that picking left over straw (gleaning) from neighbouring wheat fields might produce something 🙂 AND IT DID! But I didn’t wait to harvest, then dry the wheat, then make flour. That seems like so much work for one small birthday cake for a tiny mouse, no? I like the seaweed idea!

    • Stephanie Jewett says:

      I spread a bale of straw in the chickens’ run, and it sprouted and they ate all the sprouts and pooped all over it and broke it up, and now, THAT’s what I’m spreading on my garden beds!! Yours just needed a little more processing, that’s all.

      I don’t know anyone named Remington, but I am moving in a couple of weeks to a place with a long gravel driveway, and now I need to learn how to garden in zone 4- I hope I can still grow tomatoes and squash!

  23. Anita Beletic says:

    no Remington, but I have an uncle Remigo

  24. Elizabeth Kays says:

    This is also how you can make wheatgrass juice, which by the way, is gluten free and very good for you—intense green and a bit spicy. Although I sprout wheatberries in a dish with no soil after they are sprouted in a jar. When the grass is as tall as your pictures show, just trim it and juice it!

  25. leo muzzin says:

    I am going to the Bulk Barn in late May and buying a scoop of a variety of stuff like mungo beans, alfalfa, etc and even wheat or rye if they have it just to plant and add some adventure to the garden!!

    • Karen says:

      I didn’t even check Bulk Barn to see if they had wheat berries! They probably do. (I did want this specific variety .. but still). ~ karen!

  26. Grammy says:

    My grandfather was a farmer. His name was Frank. That’s also the name of my dog. I look forward to seeing your home-grown pizza.

    • Karen says:

      Frank?! No. I don’t think he was a farmer. Are you sure he wasn’t a cobbler? I’m pretty sure that’s a cobbler’s name. ~ karen!

  27. Luanne says:

    I think you should make friends with someone named Remington. Then you can both set out to find actual farmers, who are more likely named Jeff, or Kevin, or Steve, and see if they might let you have an ice cream bucket of wheat. 🙂

    And want a fun trick to try? Take a tablespoon of those wheat berries and chew it up until it becomes a weird gum. Not exactly tasty, but kind of fascinating to experience. 🙂
    Yours truly, a farmer’s daughter.

    • Karen says:

      Wheat gum, lol? K. I’ll give it a shot. ~ karen!

    • Catherine Naulin says:

      Hi Luanne,
      My grand parents (in France) had a small farm and every summer we would help with the harvest of wheat. I too loved “stealing” handful of wheat berries to chew until I had some chewing gum. Turns out I now know that it’s just wheat gluten. But then, I thought it was the greatest. Now I want to try out planting wheat. It’s pretty, and who knows, I might start a trend in downtown Montreal?

      Karen you ALWAYS make me laugh. Coming from France, no Remingtons in my family, except for my father’s fancy electric shaver.

  28. Alisa says:

    My grandmother’s maiden name was Remington.

  29. John says:

    Hi. Fun post, I was think of doing wheat too. Mostly I have tomatoes, kale, lettuce, and cucumbers. And they attract the local deer herd. So, we bring Remington, the puppy we fostered and our neighbors adopted. Here he is with his new two legged sister.

    Cheers

    John

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Art of Doing Stuff
Pin
Share
Email