I Can't Wheat!
Ornamental grasses are a popular choice for the landscape. But I’ve found a great alternative to these grasses. It was a mind altering, not to mention a garden altering experience. In addition to planting traditional ornamental grasses, I was introduced by my friend Brie Arthur to the idea of growing grains, which by the way are grasses, in my home landscape. Over the last couple of years I’ve grown oats, sorghum and rice in my landscape. Let me show you my wheat that I grew this year. I started my wheat like many of my other crops inside on my germination rack before planting out in the landscape in January. By April the seed heads are starting to form and the ripening process begins. Once the plants have dried and turned brown the harvest can begin and finish drying. The dried seed heads need to be thrashed, threshed and winnowed. To thrash I place the seed heads to a 5-gallon bucket and use a drill with a paint stirrer with a few links of added chain to pulverize and release the seed. I’ll remove the large pieces of chaff by hand and discard. I like to use screens to further remove pieces of chaff from the seed. Then using a fan to finish the separation, called winnowing, the smaller, lighter chaff is blown from the seed. Now I need to learn how to grind the wheat seeds and then enjoy the biscuits I grew in my garden. I can’t wheat!! I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman and I’ll see you next time on Southern Gardening.