Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Amber Waves of Grain

The wheat I planted is ripening... isn't it glorious?  I believe most of the grains in our part of the world are early this year because of the warm and mild weather - folks are taking off their grains for harvest.

Just beautiful!

So am I. However I'm not using a big combine. Just my scythe... good old SwingBlade. I planted the wheat as a cover crop but instead of just tiling it under I let it grow to maturity. Now its serving double duty as feed for the chickens and straw for mulch.

These are still a little green

If you are interested in this project then run right over and get Gene Logsdon's incredible book, Small-Scale Grain Raising, Second Edition: An Organic Guide to Growing, Processing, and Using Nutritious Whole Grains, for Home Gardeners and Local Farmers.  This informative book tells you exactly how you can grow grains in your garden - from getting the soil ready to harvesting. How fun would it be to have a pancake garden?

And of course Harvey Ussery has some things to say about using your homestead's resources to feed your flock. He finally has a book out also - I consider him to be the King of the Flock. He really knows his stuff.

In the mornings me and ol' SwingBlade trolly out to the front of the property and cut down some of the the grains, gather them up where they lay, and take them into the henyard to a multitude of rejoicing chickens.
The straw - the stems from the wheat - have all kinds of uses. And are free.

Sure I guess I could harvest them for our use but really, I'll get more bang for my buck cutting down my feed bill than having it for our use. Especially since we are trying to be all paleo and stuff. When I get a larger area we can work on having more for us but letting the cover crop that improves the soil help in these other ways is a great use of time and space.

These are the oats, just about ready.

The hennies scratch around to get the grains leaving the straw for me to rake up - with some barnyard litter - to use as mulch for the garden. I've been working on building up the mulch layer in the pathways of the gardens to cut down the weeds, retain the moisture, and provide places for the worms to hide.

If we ever get some predictable rain I'll till in the stubble from the grains and then plant more alfalfa and hay. But for now we are so dry that the rain that is supposed to be coming isn't even making it to the ground. Hopefully tho, we'll get a good soaking later today. Until then me and ol' SwingBlade are heading out to get some "free" food for the hennies.

Happy Monday everyone! Anyone else taking off their grains?


Vanessa said...

I am definitely impressed!

freemotion said...

Gorgeous! What did you plant and when? Soft or hard, spring or fall? You still have time for another crop, yay!

Chai Chai said...

So when you are out there using your scythe please tell me you wear a cape! (Lie to me if you must but I really want that mental image!)

Oh, Oh, and say that you only wield it at dusk with the dogs howling in the distance! The bad neighbors will be cowering in their basement for sure!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Thanks Vanessa! Its actually really a great project.

Hey Free! Planted last fall. I intended to till it under but it matured really fast with our mild winter... so might as well reap the benefits! Alfalfa is next for those goats - lots of haymakers are using "Round Up Ready" seeds... which I can avoid by asking for normal seeds and growing myself.

CC... Dude.. come on.. you just know I got the cape and the whole outfit. With a big "GR" on the front for "Grinnin' Reaper" cuz it makes me so happy to be out there. Ha! But I'm out there in the mornings before the dawn breaks cuz thats kinda scary too...

JeffJustJeff said...

We had a couple small clumps of wheat that volunteered from a straw bale in the garden. I was going to harvest the grains and replant them, but the other day I went out to find something had beat me to it. I was looking forward to cutting down the feed bill. I have some other tricks up my sleeve. I'm trying Mangel beets to see what the herd and flock think of them. There wasn't a kernel of wheat to be found. Love the scythe. I love going to the Amish auction and getting their old implements. I have all kinds of fun tools that I never even knew existed.

David said...

Outstanding - how big a spot did you grow.

edh said...

What a kick to come here for my daily dose of homesteading humor and find a link to Scythe Supply! Carol is an amazing person and a real gift to our area. I dearly love your blog, but you've just reminded me why; keep it local, and low-tech whenever possible!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

hey JJJ... or should I say.. "hay" wait.. straw.. anyway - yep get a big patch going. you'll love it!

hi Dave... probably less than half an acre.. but its getting bigger and bigger every year.

hey edh! thanks for stopping by! i had some info for you but i couldnt find a way to contact you. you had a question once that i wanted to answer... if you want you could send me an email to ohiofarmG at g mail.com and i'll letcha know. or find me on fb at https://www.facebook.com/ohio.farmgirl.1

or just pretend i told you something mildly interesting and have a great day!

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