Growing and Saving the Seed Of Buckwheat
Latin name Fagopyrum esculentum, buckwheat is a warm-season cover crop ideal for organic/small-scale farming and gardening. Weed suppressant, nutrient mining and excellent forage for the pollinator population.
Common buckwheat was domesticated and first cultivated in inland Southeast Asia. The oldest remains were found in China and date to 2600 BCE. From there, it spread to Central Asia and Tibet, and then to the Middle East and Europe during the Middle Ages!
- Cover crop
- Weed suppressant
- Nutrient mining
- Attracts and provides forage for pollinators
- Produces edible seeds used as a grain.
- Border crop, flower gardens
- Seeds germinate in 7-12 days.
- Broadcast seeds into well worked/cultivated soil (aim to broadcast at a rate of 1 seed every 2 inches).
- Lightly cover or rake in seeds to 1/2 inch deep.
- Sow whenever warm (spring to summer when temps are between 45-105 F)
- Ideal germination temp is 80 F.
- Prefers full sun.
- It will perform in poor soils but does best in medium-textured, well-drained soil.
- Thin plants to 4 inches apart.
- If not growing it for grain, incorporate into soil when flowering begins!
- Deer and turkeys enjoy foraging buckwheat and are usually the biggest problem.
- Aphids are a common pest, but usually do little damage in summer-sown buckwheat. Buckwheat that emerges in early spring is at some risk of aphid infestation.
- Performs poorly in heavy, wet soils or soils with high levels of limestone.
- Harvest plants when 75% of the seed head is brown and dry, but before first hard frost.
- Cut stalks as close the ground as possible, leaving the root in the soil.
- Pull seedheads from the stalk and leave to dry further in a well-ventilated location.
- Once seedheads are completely dry, remove seeds from pods by squeezing or rolling them with your hands.
- Winnow or otherwise separate the chaff from the seed.