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Post  JK on Tue 13 Mar 2012 - 11:21

As I read more and get more interested in gardening I have read that it requires a great deal of space to produce any reasonable amount of grain and whatnot. Square foot gardening uses so much less space and I dont currently use a great deal of flour and the like, so is there any feasability for home growing for small quantity?

I was wondering if anyone has any experience with making their own flour, cornmeal, oats, etc.

Anyone grow amaranth? Corn specifically for cornmeal? How much crop translates to how much finished yield?
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Post  littlejo on Tue 13 Mar 2012 - 11:53

It does take quite a bit of room to grow wheat. But, the main concern, before you start, is to find someone that can grind it for you. My feed store grinds corn for grits, cornmeal, etc, don't know if they can grind wheat or not.

I would ask the grinder how many plants it takes to make a lb. of flour?

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Post  camprn on Tue 13 Mar 2012 - 15:04

I have a friend that uses a mill at home something like this.Grinder

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Post  gwennifer on Tue 13 Mar 2012 - 15:35

This is a great question! I've wondered about the grain issue myself whenever I hear people talking about "going off the grid". (I actually own an electric grain mill too, so growing my own grains would be the next step).

A quick search brought up this article from Mother Earth News: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Food/Growing-Wheat-Types-Of-Wheat.aspx

Here's an excerpt that caught my eye "...you will discover wheat is easy to grow almost anywhere in the United States, even as a wide-row crop in your garden." I had to look up what was meant by "wide-row crop" and discovered it refers to the intensive planting methods we already employ here with SFGing. Perfect. So now we need to know seed spacing and yield information. With wheat for instance, I've learned that volume wise, 1 cup of wheat berries typically gives you 1 1/2 cups of flour. Weight wise it's equal (if you can harvest five pounds of wheat berries, you can make a five pound bag of flour). What I haven't dug up is how many little wheat berries you would plant to get those five pounds of berries at harvest time.

That information seems to be available in this book: http://www.amazon.com/Homegrown-Whole-Grains-Harvest-Barley/dp/160342153X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1331676772&sr=1-1

And that's as far as I've gotten. Right now my 1 year old wants me off the computer, so I better get back to being his mom!

Edited to add: Just found another article on growing wheat at home and they are even talking growing in raised beds and using Mel's Mix! 200 seeds per square yard. Still no direct information on yield. Here's the link: http://gallimaufree.wordpress.com/2008/05/17/urban-survival-skills-grow-your-own-wheat/
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Post  FamilyGardening on Tue 13 Mar 2012 - 15:50

i watched a video on grinding corn for corn flour.....they used whats called feild corn that is meant to be grown for animal feed....but you can use it for flour as well.....3 dried ears grinded up made 5 cups of corn flour......

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Post  camprn on Tue 13 Mar 2012 - 16:44

ooooooh polenta Yummy!

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Post  JK on Tue 13 Mar 2012 - 18:52

Thanks for the replies everyone Very Happy.

Gwennifer thats pretty much where my thought started. Doubt I will ever be willing to put in the work required to go 'off grid' but I am interested in the idea. If nothing else the way prices are going sky high on everything its nice to know what can and cannot be done on small home scale.

Camprn do you know what all your friend uses it for?

Rose thats amazing..Shocked 5 cups of flour from 3 ears? For some reason I thought it would take way more than that. Rounding up and down... Google said around .33lbs/cup of cornflour, about 3cups per pound, planted 4 per sqft, give or take 2 ears per would be 8 ears per square, which would be about 13cups.... 4.3lbs of cornflour per sqft? Maybe I had a brain fart in there somewhere... 4.3lbs of cornflour per sqft sounds like an awful lot. Lotta rounding and variables like coarseness of the flour but still... If thats remotely close then a few squares devoted to cornflour would give someone who doesnt use much enough for a year.

Would love to hear more from people who know or have experience Very Happy. If I screwed up thinking through all that please correct me, its been a long day Rolling Eyes.
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Post  FamilyGardening on Tue 13 Mar 2012 - 19:18

The two links below talk about using corn for corn flour/ corn meal……it’s a great channel I enjoy watching J

Here she says two ears of field corn gave her 2 2/3 cups of corn meal……she explains how to make corn mush……very interesting J

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCVaO263PNQ&feature=plcp&context=C4c6bc3bVDvjVQa1PpcFNCX6ft55zMLQ1MdyAHR0xLOf7avJx5SUo=

here is where she says 3 ears of corn gave her 5 cups of corn meal

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGstFC-MLu8&feature=plcp&context=C495d4a7VDvjVQa1PpcFNCX6ft55zMLVF6rYvqtky23EdgqMbaS0s=

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Post  GWN on Tue 13 Mar 2012 - 20:48

I bought a book called Homegrown Whole grains by Sara Pitzer.
It goes through all of the grains and the space required for them.
It is quite an interesting read for a smaller gardener. I have about half of an acre and at some point would like to grow some grains.
I have bought quinoa seeds, we will see how that goes.

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Post  gwennifer on Tue 13 Mar 2012 - 21:13

@GWN wrote:I bought a book called Homegrown Whole grains by Sara Pitzer.
It goes through all of the grains and the space required for them.
It is quite an interesting read for a smaller gardener. I have about half of an acre and at some point would like to grow some grains.

FYI, that's the same book I linked to above. I've got it on my wishlist now. bounce
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Post  GWN on Tue 13 Mar 2012 - 21:55

WHOOPS sorry....
I have had the book for a few years, and just love it, gives me BIG plans
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Post  FamilyGardening on Tue 13 Mar 2012 - 22:03

keep us posted on the quinoa.....my son has to be on a special food diet and we eat a lot of quinoa pasta....im curious on how it grows and how to harvest it....its a very pretty plant....Very Happy we really enjoy the taste of it in pasta and flour.....i made some really yummy cupcakes with quinoa flour!

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Post  JK on Wed 14 Mar 2012 - 5:35

Thanks for the links rose Very Happy. Its amazing how much they get from just a few ears.

I tried quinoa a few years ago... did not enjoy the taste at all but it probably wasnt prepared properly Rolling Eyes. Next time I see it at the store Ill give it another shot.

Ill be checking Barnes & Noble for that book too bounce
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Post  GWN on Wed 14 Mar 2012 - 7:45

We have a farm not too far from where we live where they grow many grains and sell them in bulk.
THe guy there told me that I was starting with a somewhat difficult grain, it has a coating on it that has to be washed off in the fall.
?saporin SP Perhaps a poor one to start with.
We love quinoa, but mainly as a flour, I have it ground into flour.

Really hope to get my own grinder this year. Did you know that the these grain mills often also come with an attachment for making rolled oats?
He gave us the demo and the rolled oats were so tender you would not even have to cook them.

These mills are german made and stone grinders, a bit pricy, but then again, so are all these exotic flours.
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Post  CharlesB on Wed 14 Mar 2012 - 8:40

I can buy more than will fill a five gallon bucket of dry corn for 10 bucks at the supply store. So I buy that to grind. I use it to mix in to recipes and to spread on the ground to feed the worms. Lots of other uses for that as well.

I use a Corona grinder and I really like it. Inexpensive doesn't take up much space.

I grow some wheat and corn to mess around with but the dry grains are best bought right now. If you look on Youtube you'll see people using mechanized farming planting > 400 acres of wheat in 1 day! When they can do that, we might as well buy the bulk from them and grind it ourselves if we wish.

Always good to know how to do it though. So much of my gardening is for the knowledge more than the need to provide the food. These are valuable skills to know.

About the Amaranth, that is a true super food. Everything about it I like. It competes fine against weeds, it self sows, it can be harvested for greens and for grains, you can harvest parts of it through the whole season, it has tremendous nutritional value and it is beautiful. No need to use squares of the SFG for it though. Just find vacant lots or fields. Get some going, remove some of the competition (weeds) around it a few times through the season then harvest. Awesome plant.


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Post  GWN on Wed 14 Mar 2012 - 8:42

These are valuable skills to know.
You got that right,
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Post  jpatti on Thu 15 Mar 2012 - 6:37

You want to get the catalog from Bountiful Gardens: https://www.bountifulgardens.org/inforequest.asp

They grow using the biointensive method, which is similar in closeness to SFG.

The point about the catalog is that it tells you how much to plant and what yield to expect, when to harvest, etc. All the info you need to REALLY plan food production.
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Post  GWN on Thu 15 Mar 2012 - 7:47

It does not look like they ship to Canada, however the book by Sara Pitzer DOES have a lot of info on planting spacing etc, and from the look of it I need to plant soon, as it sounds like quinoa need cooler temps to germinate.
Just need to find a spot.... hmmmm
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Post  gwennifer on Thu 15 Mar 2012 - 9:17

I poked around on the bountiful gardens website. They do ship their catalog to Canada, but not for free. They charge $2.

So jpatti, are you saying the free catalog has the seed spacing information? That's awesome! They also have a book section and they offer the Sara Pitzer book and some others. The one called "One Circle" looks interesting, but it's kinda spendy. Apparently it covers how to grow a complete vegetarian diet in your backyard using only 700 square feet. Thanks for the link!
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Post  jpatti on Thu 15 Mar 2012 - 14:31

Yes, their catalog has AWESOME info on each plant. Here's an example from their grain section...

Barley
CW/Matures 9-10/Harvest 0-4/Yield grain 5-24, dry biomass 12-75/Spacing 5

CW = cold weather crop

Matures = how many weeks it takes for the plant to mature

Harvest = how long the harvest lasts

Yield = pounds per 100 square foot planted (in this case, there's two yields, one for grain, one for growing as compost/straw)

Spacing = inches apart for biointensive growing (somewhat more spread out than SFG)

Area = number of square feet planted by a package
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Post  GWN on Thu 15 Mar 2012 - 19:08

Speaking of biointensive gardening, what got me into all of this in the first place was John Jeavons book "how to grow more vegetables that you ever thought possible on less land than you can imagine.
I have had this book for years and in fact a recent article in mother earth news about small area gardening describes John Jeavons and Mel Bartholomew the "fathers of Americas intensive-growing tradition)
The John Jeavons book has extremely extensive tables on all of this, and his spacing is very close to Mels.

Mels book clearly simplifies the process in many ways, but Johns book has more detail about every possible crop, and spacing, as well as many other important facts.
Johns book is clearly more for someone attempting to live off of their property so he goes into protein content, and lays out the actual gardens that for instance a family of 2 would need, and goes into all the nutritional needs.
I think that the two books make for a great pair


Thanks jpatti

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