Buckwheat

buckwheat flowering 2

Buckwheat is a fast growing, soil building grain. It has many different uses – you can harvest the grain, thresh it and then mill it. Turn it into some delicious buckwheat pancakes. Or feed it off to your livestock; poultry loves buckwheat. You can use it as a green manure in your garden beds, because it is great for aerating your soil.

Buckwheat has a turnaround time of about 5 weeks from seeding to flowering. That’s pretty quick and with our growing season, we should be able to get 2 successive seedings of Buckwheat in the same area during the warmer months. If you live in a warmer climate than Zone 3 in BC, you should be able to get 3 harvests a year.
I first planted Buckwheat in part of our Berry Bed, which had become overrun with weeds. In the early Spring, after pulling as many of the weeds that I could, we had a trailer load of horse manure spread over the bed. Then I put my hens in there on a daily basis to start working through the manure with their powerful feet. Within a week they had it all broken down and it was nice and fluffy.
On June 10 I broadcasted the buckwheat seed and raked it in. It was watered every day as that whole berry bed is on a timer system.

 

 

 

By July 16 it looked like this. See how it can shade out the weeds?

 

 

And by July 31 it looked like this. Beautiful white nodding flowers covered the whole Buckwheat patch. This is when it should be harvested.

 

 

  I just used my large garden shears to cut the patch down.

 

 

 

Here is the stubble left behind which I will dig into the soil. This well help improve the soil and I will take any small amount I can get. If I was using the Buckwheat only as a green manure, I would cut it down and dig it all into the garden bed.

 

  

I wanted to feed the Buckwheat off to the laying hens and they loved it.

   

 

We hung the Buckwheat in our Greenhouse until it was dried. Every day however, we would grab a bundle and throw it in for the laying hens.

If you plant early Peas and don’t have anything in mind for that space after the Peas are done, consider planting some Buckwheat. Five weeks from start to finish and it smothers all the weeds due to the nice big canopy that the leaves of the Buckwheat provides.

Now we regularly grow Buckwheat any place we can. What began as a garden experiment has turned out to be an ongoing part of our plan to continually be building up our soil.

 

 

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Transplanting Tomatoes into the Greenhouse

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We’ve had a lot of rain over the last week and it is so wet in the garden that I can’t get in there to put in any of the transplants. I have beans, corn and zucchini busting out all over the living room. We have much better luck transplanting rather than direct seeding any of the heat loving vegetables that we grow. Our elevation means cooler temperatures and so we get them started early inside and pop them into the garden towards the end of May.

 

Starting Seeds in the House

 

Although I would love to be doing that this weekend, it is still just too cold out there. What happened to all that sunshine and heat we were having just a week or two ago?

It’s not stopping me though; I’ve just moved into the Greenhouse. I spent some time cleaning it out and then started watering it. It takes several days of good watering to moisten the soil enough to start transplanting.

 

Heirloom Tomatoes

 

My tomatoes are getting a bit leggy although they do have nice thick stems for their size. If I don’t get them planted in the Greenhouse I would have to transplant them into even larger pots.

 

Getting Ready to Plant the Greenhouse

 

My tomato stakes all in place. You can see I just go out in the bush and saw off some limbs to use as stakes.  What are the black jugs for?

 

 

De Wit Garden Tools

 

 

I’ve got some fantastic hand garden tools this year – a serrated trowel and a 3 tine cultivator from De Wit Garden Tools. I am looking forward to using these quality tools for many years to come.

 

Transplanted Tomatoes

 

I’ve got three different kinds of tomatoes this year planted and later I’ll be adding pepper plants alongside.

 

 

Water well and don't forget the black jugs

 

When I transplant tomatoes I always remove the bottom set of leaves. Then I plant deep into the hole so more of the stem is covered. This will help the plants grow strong with sturdy stems to support the weight of the tomatoes. Velcro ties are used and these will be checked and adjusted as the season goes on.  I create a well around the plant to hold onto the water. For the next several days I will keep them well watered to help them settle in.

For the rest of the season I will be checking the Greenhouse every day – if it needs watering, it will get it. The hotter the days become, watering every day is a must – we may even set up a sprinkler on a timer in here.

 

Greenhouse Tomato Crop

 

In a few months, it should be looking more like this and we can’t wait. It’s a highlight of the summer when we can pick and eat these right off the vine.

 

 

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