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HEIRLOOM. This hard red winter wheat originated in Turkey as the name suggests, and was brought to the United States in the 1870s. It is prized for exceptional flavor and baking quality, and has been added to the Ark of Taste by Slow Food. A great choice for small-scale home grain production. To grow for grain, plant in fall and harvest the following summer.
SMALL FARM GROWN by Dragonfly Farms, Newbern, TN½ lb package sows approximately 250 square feet.
|Approx. seeds / packet||Packet Weight||Sowing Method||Seed Spacing|
|7,500||1/2 lb||Direct seed, rake in to 2"||Broadcast ~30 seeds/ sq ft|
|Planting Season||Ideal Soil Temp||Sun||Frost Tolerance|
|Fall||54-77°F||Full Sun||Frost Tolerant|
|Production Cycle||Days to Sprout||Days to Harvest||Seed Viability|
|Annual||2-10||240||Up to 10 years|
Plant hard winter wheat in fall, about 6-8 weeks before your average first frost. The plants need a little time to get established before cold temperatures set in, but you don’t want to plant in the heat of summer. Broadcast approximately 30 seeds per square foot, and rake them into the soil to a depth of about 2 inches.
The plants will go dormant over the winter, meaning they will stay alive but will not grow much during the colder months. They will begin growing again when the days lengthen and the weather warms up. Wheat doesn’t need much care except for watering when the top two inches of soil becomes dry.
Depending on what zone you are growing in, winter wheat will ripen in late spring or early summer. Start checking on your wheat regularly when the stalks turn yellow and the brown seed heads bend down toward the ground. When the seeds are dry and crunchy, the wheat is ready to harvest. If you’re growing on a backyard scale, you can cut the stalks with garden shears or grass clippers. Then, bind the stalks into sheaves (make bundles with the seed heads all together on one end). Thresh the grain (i.e. knock the seeds out of the seed heads) by hitting a sheaf against the inside of a clean trash can, or lay the stalks out on a tarp and hit them with a stick (this method is called flailing.) Winnow the seeds by pouring them from one container into another in front of a fan. The light chaff will blow away, leaving you with clean wheat berries. Grinding your wheat berries into flour can be accomplished with a heavy-duty food processor or a grain mill.
Pollination, self/wind; Life Cycle, annual; Isolation Distance, 150 feet
Perfect, self-pollinating flowers are held in panicles (flower heads), which dry on the plant for easy harvest. Wind pollination is also possible, but wheat rarely cross-pollinates. Choose the most vigorous plants for seed saving, and follow the same general procedure for harvesting the grain.