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Sepp Holzer's perennial grain

Andrew Ray


Joined: Sep 25, 2011
Posts: 136
Location: Slovakia
Pam wrote:
Btw, it's now even more important than ever to support heritage seeds.. one of the largest seed companies in the world  (Vilmorin) with multiple subsidiaries has said that as of 2012 they will be stocking and selling GMO seed.


I'm sure they were just responding to demand from customers...
I have never heard of their distributor in Slovakia, but now I know to beware if I come across their seeds.

I buy some seeds in the U.S. from heritage seed companies when I am there.  So far I haven't been stopped by customs, but then I've never seen anyone flying in from the U.S. stopped by customs anywhere on continental Europe.

http://www.grain.org/article/entries/541-seed-laws-in-europe-locking-farmers-out ; This is a good article I've just skimmed through.  I read about the issue some months ago, and don't have time to go very in depth now myself.
                        


Joined: Jul 07, 2010
Posts: 508
When I googled Vilmorin this was the first paragraph that came up on the site I looked at :

Vilmorin is a French seed producer. Along with its international subsidiaries, the company considers itself to be the fourth largest seed company in the world.[1] The company has a long history in France, where it was family-controlled for almost two centuries, and today exists as a publicly traded company owned principally by agro-industrial cooperative  Groupe Limagrain, the largest plant breeding and seed company in the  European Union

When you put that paragraph together with your link on how the EU works, I'm not entirely convinced it was the customers they had in mind....although of course you may have been being ironic with that comment...
the link you posted was very distressing and scary.
deano Martin


Joined: Oct 11, 2011
Posts: 25
The link below will take you to a site to buy perennial wheat, which also explains why you cannot buy seeds direct from Tim peters.
http://newworldcrops.com/wp/category/perennial-grains/
I also got some perennial rye from adaptive seeds, but I'm not sure if they are selling it to the public.
http://www.adaptiveseeds.com/
Hope that helps
Deano
http://deanom.wordpress.com/


Lincolnshire Wolds. England. Anaerobic clay, on a SSW facing slope.
Rachell Koenig


Joined: Jan 08, 2012
Posts: 69
Does anyone still have some of these perennial rye seeds? i can swap some seeds for them, though i realize mine wouldnt be as valuable. just a little to start with would be great. PM me or email me rnkoenigs@yahoo.com
Matt Smith


Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Posts: 181
Location: Central Ohio, Zone 6A - High water table, heavy clay.
deano Martin wrote:The link below will take you to a site to buy perennial wheat, which also explains why you cannot buy seeds direct from Tim peters.
http://newworldcrops.com/wp/category/perennial-grains/
I also got some perennial rye from adaptive seeds, but I'm not sure if they are selling it to the public.
http://www.adaptiveseeds.com/
Hope that helps
Deano
http://deanom.wordpress.com/


Signed up for the newsletter and forums, but it looks like I got there too late and the perennial seed is now gone. Still looking for a source for perennial wheat seed if anybody has a lead... definitely willing to pay for it.
                              


Joined: Nov 01, 2008
Posts: 12
I would love to find a source for any perennial grain to try. Carol Deppe's book, 'Breed Your Own Vegetable' varieties lists Peters Seed and Research as a source but it doesn't look available from them anymore on the new website: http://newworldcrops.com/wp/home/

I don't see that Adaptive Seed sells any grains (other than corn)? Did I miss something?

Thanks for posting if you find a source!
Matt Smith


Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Posts: 181
Location: Central Ohio, Zone 6A - High water table, heavy clay.
forest gardener wrote:I would love to find a source for any perennial grain to try. Carol Deppe's book, 'Breed Your Own Vegetable' varieties lists Peters Seed and Research as a source but I don't see that on their website: http://newworldcrops.com/wp/home/

If anyone knows a source for seed please post it here! Thanks.


Adaptive Seeds did appear to have some for sale, but they sold out quickly. They should have more next year according to the gentleman I spoke with.
                              


Joined: Nov 01, 2008
Posts: 12
Thanks Matt, I will have to try them next year if I remember!
Devon Olsen


Joined: Nov 28, 2011
Posts: 1002
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
    
    6
i am also interested in any links for places that sale perennial grain seeds, especially if they sell wholesale
thanks a ton to any and all people who post links, the more the merrier!


Current Cheyenne, WY project
"Do you Hugel?" T-shirts and other products
Adrien Lapointe
steward

Joined: Feb 23, 2012
Posts: 2502
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
    
  79
I just received perennial wheat seeds from Brown Envelope Seeds based in Ireland. This is a variety that was bred by Tim Peters. According to the owner, not all seeds survive winter and they should be sowed in Sept-Oct. I assume they should be sowed earlier here in Canada. I'll try to remember to post on the results next year...


Permaculture Kingston
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    9
other than the perennial grains offered here I haven't found any but there are lots of open pollinated grains on the market, not perennial though you'd have to save the seed from year to year.

bountiful Gardens has hulless barley, hulless oats, several wheats, rye etc..you can also get grain amaranth and open pollinated corn


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
Adrien Lapointe
steward

Joined: Feb 23, 2012
Posts: 2502
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
    
  79
I guess you could breed annual open pollinated grains to make them perennial? I know the Land Institute is working on it, but is there anybody who tried it in their gardens (apart from Sepp)? I suppose you need some sort of perennial grains that can cross-pollinate with the annual one.
Devon Olsen


Joined: Nov 28, 2011
Posts: 1002
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
    
    6
Adrien Lapointe wrote:I just received perennial wheat seeds from Brown Envelope Seeds based in Ireland. This is a variety that was bred by Tim Peters. According to the owner, not all seeds survive winter and they should be sowed in Sept-Oct. I assume they should be sowed earlier here in Canada. I'll try to remember to post on the results next year...


thank you for that, i am going to try and obtain some of this perennial wheat as well, is this to be your first year growing it?
Adrien Lapointe
steward

Joined: Feb 23, 2012
Posts: 2502
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
    
  79
Devon Olsen wrote:

thank you for that, i am going to try and obtain some of this perennial wheat as well, is this to be your first year growing it?


It is my first year and first experiment growing grain.
Devon Olsen


Joined: Nov 28, 2011
Posts: 1002
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
    
    6
thats what i figured... could you let us know your results?
such as whether it takes two years to begin producing grain for you as well?
nancy sutton
volunteer

Joined: Feb 22, 2010
Posts: 327
Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
    
    9
Couple of yeas ago I got a 'sample' size amount of Sepp's seeds from someone who had him here to 'do' their property. I sowed it last year; the grain grew, minus heads, returned this year and is now 3-5' tall and heading out. I'm assuming, from this thread, that it is some kind of perennial rye (?). If it comes back next year, I guess the perennial part will be confirmed.

If anyone can tell me how to know when it's best to harvest to ensure it's viability, and requests a 'sample', I'll mail to any PM'd address. Won't be much... maybe a head? There are about 30 heads maturing now.... plus, maybe more coming from the bunch I cut back in the spring which are continuing to grow and form young heads now.

Also, since someone mentioned it, how do you tell if you've got ergot on your rye? I don't want the sprouted grain to be too interesting.


It's time to get positive about negative thinking    -Art Donnelly
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
ergot on rye: http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/faculty/wong/BOT135/LECT12.HTM


Idle dreamer

Devon Olsen


Joined: Nov 28, 2011
Posts: 1002
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
    
    6
you can apply to get a one time shipment of a small amount of seeds for research/study/scientific purposes here:
http://www.ars-grin.gov/npgs/holdings.html

if you have any sort of way to guarentee you can get a few seeds to growth and harvest, please do so and spread the resulting grains around for others to plant please
Paulo Bessa
pollinator

Joined: Jun 15, 2012
Posts: 333
Location: Portugal (zone 9) and Iceland (zone 5)
    
    9
psrseeds website is not working.

do you know whtere to get seeds of:
- perennial rye
- perennial wheat
- intermediate wheatgrass

or any other perennial grain


Our projects:
in Portugal, sheltered terraces facing eastwards, high water table, uphill original forest of pines, oaks and chestnuts. 2000m2
in Iceland: converted flat lawn, compacted poor soil, cold, windy, humid climate, cold, short summer. 50m2
Devon Olsen


Joined: Nov 28, 2011
Posts: 1002
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
    
    6
from the grin site above, but thats for research purposes, i also would like to know a place to purchase it tho
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6661
Location: Currently in Seattle. Probably moving 1 hour north by end of the year.
    
138
http://www.adaptiveseeds.com/content/rye-millwright-perennial
offers a Tim Peter's perennial rye (but are out of it right now)

Julia Winter
steward

Joined: Aug 31, 2012
Posts: 980
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
    
  77
I was just wondering if anybody has an update on perennial grain. Obviously, it takes a few years to determine if your grain is truly perennial (although winterkill doesn't necessarily mean that it's not perennial, just that it wasn't hardy).


Ask me about food.
Victor Johanson


Joined: Oct 18, 2011
Posts: 267
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
    
  10
I'll know next spring if sepp holzer's perennial rye will make it in Fairbanks. It's up and growing, though.


Vic Johanson

"I must Create a System, or be enslaved by another Man's"--William Blake
Paulo Bessa
pollinator

Joined: Jun 15, 2012
Posts: 333
Location: Portugal (zone 9) and Iceland (zone 5)
    
    9
I will know next spring also, here in Iceland.

I sown this early spring perennial rye in trays, which I move outdoors, when weather was still freezing.

The rye will probably crop this summer and if it is perennial it should overwinter until following years. However overwinter in Iceland can be a problem with frequent severe freezes and thaws without any snow cover.

I also will try to order perennial wheat from Oikos, but it´s already a bit late for it.

I would love to have perennial oats but so far I haven´t discovered any. Other than that I am growing also a bit of indian ricegrass (a perennial grass that has edible seed but too tiny in my opinnion)
Julia Winter
steward

Joined: Aug 31, 2012
Posts: 980
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
    
  77
Thanks for replying!
Zach Weiss


Joined: Oct 20, 2012
Posts: 242
Location: Montana
    
  45
As far as I can tell Sepp's Grain is an Ancient Siberian Einkorn (Triticum monococcum I believe) that he bought 50 years ago in Russia. It was sold as a forage crop for wildlife. He has been breeding it since and now has a variety that is quite astounding. There are a couple of key benefits that I see to this grain and the way it can be grown. It is not a perennial, rather a biannual, although I know that has been translated as "perennial" a number of times. I see three huge benefits to this ancient grain. Interestingly enough it is also recommended for a gluten free diet.


My Brother and I on a 2nd year Grain Terrace at the Krameterhof in August

Paul Wheaton wrote:I suspect that it has been bred by Sepp to extra tough, extra tall, and extra productive.

From what I've been told this is the case to an incredible extent. It has grown well in every climate Sepp has experimented with, growing 9' tall in 6 Months in the tropics, and producing in the harshest parts of Siberia.

The second big benefit is that it can be grown without tilling the soil. The way it is grown in cold climates is to be seeded in the spring (with a diverse poly-culture), then cut back in the late summer-fall of the first year. This way the grain puts it's energy into the roots rather than trying to produce heads. This disturbance triggers a response in the grain and it acts like a bunching grass, bulking up and occupying the majority of the available soil niche. Sepp using a unique body language to demonstrate this, I can't really relate it in words. This bunching grass response gives you a nearly pure grain harvest while being grown as a poly-culture system without tilling or chemicals.

The third benefit to Sepp's grain is the ease with which it can be grown and processed by hand. It can be sown as part of a poly-culture and given the first disturbance with a sythe. Because it is a long strawed grain it is very easy to harvest by hand with a sythe and this also yield a high quality straw. This grain really shines in the processing stage, as it is much easier than any other grain I have seen to turn from cured stalks to stored grain. Basically just thrash by hand and winnow, and you are left with an incredibly high quality grain store in record time.


Grain a few days later, harvested by hand and curing on the terrace. This grain was grown and harvested entirely by hand (and sythe).

I have a small amount of this grain that I will be propagating. I gave some to Ben Falk, and will be propagating it on the 4-5 largest projects that I am involved with, Wheaton Laboratories of course included.

I would like to get this seed into as many hands as possible, it is an important plant for permaculture, and an important plant for food security. Because of the limited quantity at this time I would like to avoid sending it to people that won't be able to turn a small amount of seed into more, eventually becoming a source of these genetics for their region.

Keep in mind that I won't have enough to share until WINTER of 2015 but at that point (assuming everything goes well) I would like to make this offer: I will send a small amount of the seed to everyone that I am able to. The thing that I ask in return is that you first send me seed you have saved yourself, from your favorite/most valuable plant. This way I feel good about the odds of the seed that I send out being successfully propagated.


Visit the Krameterhof and Holzerhof | Workshop with Sepp Holzer this August | Healing Waters
Michael Cox


Joined: Jun 09, 2013
Posts: 978
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
    
  25
Zach - ohh... lovely photos and such a good explanation of using and growing these grains. THANKYOU

Now if you could see your way to sending me a few seeds when they are ready I'd be really really happy.

Regarding the biennial nature of the plants, and sowing into a polyculture. Does the understory of plants survive the tall grain crop? I'm envisaging a mix of all sorts beneath - lots of clovers etc... When the grain is harvested and the roots die back what are you left with? Can you reseed directly on to the stubble?
Victor Johanson


Joined: Oct 18, 2011
Posts: 267
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
    
  10
Interesting. Hulless einkorn is almost unheard of. I obtained some Sepp's seed myself and grew it here in Fairbanks last season. A few plants were just starting to send up stalks when the frost came. We'll see if it survived the winter. The conventional wisdom is that winter grains aren't feasible in interior Alaska--historically, the plants are mostly killed by snow mold. I hope this germplasm proves an exception to that.
Julia Winter
steward

Joined: Aug 31, 2012
Posts: 980
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
    
  77
I would love to have a small amount of this grain, when you have some you can share. I don't have acreage, so really just a small amount would do. I'm on something like 1/3 of an acre in Portland, very mild climate. (Well, up until this winter when we got snowed in for days. . .)
Paulo Bessa
pollinator

Joined: Jun 15, 2012
Posts: 333
Location: Portugal (zone 9) and Iceland (zone 5)
    
    9
I had perennial rye from Tim Peters growing in both Iceland and Portugal since spring of 2013.
So far both seem to be facing problems in getting into their second year of growth.

In Portugal, the rye seemed to first have suffered the draught in summertime, and then rotten in the extremely wet winter of this year. But some plants are still alive and going into their second year.
In Iceland, the plants are all under the ice and snow, they seem rather dead, since they have been exposed to an unusual snowless January (soil is frozen and without a snow cover). There is a change that some plants are getting into their second year.

Next spring, I should be able to tell you whether or not plants are flowering into their second season, and whether or not, they have produced grain.
Paulo Bessa
pollinator

Joined: Jun 15, 2012
Posts: 333
Location: Portugal (zone 9) and Iceland (zone 5)
    
    9
Victor Johanson wrote:Interesting. Hulless einkorn is almost unheard of. I obtained some Sepp's seed myself and grew it here in Fairbanks last season. A few plants were just starting to send up stalks when the frost came. We'll see if it survived the winter. The conventional wisdom is that winter grains aren't feasible in interior Alaska--historically, the plants are mostly killed by snow mold. I hope this germplasm proves an exception to that.


Here in Iceland I haven't been able to grow winter wheat, it generally dies. But rye can overwinter. But this autumn I have sown different kinds of wheat, rye, oats, triticale and barley, and I am curious to see what survives the winter, which has varied between a meter thick snowcover in November and a snowless January. I am curious to know about your experiences with grains, here it is quite hard even to grow spring grains. Soil is frozen for 9months, early September to late May, with frost extending even more beyond that; winter can have -20ºC without a snowcover, summer is chilly, with temperatures around 13ºC, and not much more than that. Sometimes we have a dry, mild but sunny summer, sometimes very rainy and cold. Usually always windy.

Do you still have spare grain from Seff's?

Victor Johanson


Joined: Oct 18, 2011
Posts: 267
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
    
  10
Paulo Bessa wrote:
Victor Johanson wrote:Interesting. Hulless einkorn is almost unheard of. I obtained some Sepp's seed myself and grew it here in Fairbanks last season. A few plants were just starting to send up stalks when the frost came. We'll see if it survived the winter. The conventional wisdom is that winter grains aren't feasible in interior Alaska--historically, the plants are mostly killed by snow mold. I hope this germplasm proves an exception to that.


Here in Iceland I haven't been able to grow winter wheat, it generally dies. But rye can overwinter. But this autumn I have sown different kinds of wheat, rye, oats, triticale and barley, and I am curious to see what survives the winter, which has varied between a meter thick snowcover in November and a snowless January. I am curious to know about your experiences with grains, here it is quite hard even to grow spring grains. Soil is frozen for 9months, early September to late May, with frost extending even more beyond that; winter can have -20ºC without a snowcover, summer is chilly, with temperatures around 13ºC, and not much more than that. Sometimes we have a dry, mild but sunny summer, sometimes very rainy and cold. Usually always windy.

Do you still have spare grain from Seff's?



We can barely mature short season spring grains. I grow spring rye, hulless barley, hulless oats, and wheat. We can usually plant early in May, and frosts generally come from late August to mid September. I haven't experimented much myself with winter grains because of the reported snow mold issue, but I intend to verify it for my own conditions.

I also planted some of the Tim Peters perennial rye, right next to Sepp's grain. Sepps was much more vigorous. I only got a small sample, a few ears, and planted about half of it in case it fails and I have to try again. Do you have any left?
Akiva Silver


Joined: Sep 02, 2013
Posts: 64
    
    5
I believe the real potential of perennial grains lies in chestnut trees. Chestnuts have roughly the nutritional equivalent of brown rice. They are easy to grow, easy to harvest, easy to store, can be ground with the same equipment as corn and they can live for thousands of years (it's true, there is a tree in Sicily that is about 4,000 years old).
I have planted a chestnut orchard for experimental grain production. I hope to be selling flour within a few years, and I also hope to help other people plant chestnut trees through my nursery. The Italians have been using chestnuts for millennia as a grain for humans and livestock.


Twisted Tree Farm and Nursery
www.twisted-tree.net
Chris Smaglick


Joined: Feb 03, 2014
Posts: 19
Location: Amory, MS
    
    1
I know grains are typically grown in the northern climates, but I would definitely be interested in trying Sepp's perennial grain in Mississippi. If you are willing Zach? I have two strains of heirloom tomatoes I grow, Purple Cherokee and German Queen and would love to share.

Thanks for the heads up on chestnuts, I will add them to the nursery.
Nick Kitchener


Joined: Sep 24, 2012
Posts: 349
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
    
    6
Zack, if this is Einkorn then the grain is distinguished by having a very tough hull, almost like barley. Normal Einkorn is a challenge to process because it is so tough to thresh properly.

I started growing Einkorn last summer from seed stock that was 40 years old. It is a very beautiful grain, but the heads are small in comparison to modern wheat. Last summer I only ended up with roughly the same amount as I started with because most did not germinate.

I do however have some Hana barley from Morovia that I grew from old seed stock as well as some other historic varieties of wheat and barley.

PM me if you would like to swap a 5g sample.
Zach Weiss


Joined: Oct 20, 2012
Posts: 242
Location: Montana
    
  45
Michael Cox wrote:Does the understory of plants survive the tall grain crop? I'm envisaging a mix of all sorts beneath - lots of clovers etc... When the grain is harvested and the roots die back what are you left with? Can you reseed directly on to the stubble?


The under-story plants do great the first year and then seem to be largely out competed the next. Definitely a great diversity goes into the mix, clovers, salads, nutrient accumulators. Here is what it looks like. It seems to me that you can reseed directly on to the stubble.



Nick Kitchener wrote:if this is Einkorn then the grain is distinguished by having a very tough hull, almost like barley... I started growing Einkorn last summer from seed stock that was 40 years old. It is a very beautiful grain, but the heads are small in comparison to modern wheat.


I am not very familiar with Einkorn, but Sepp's grain seems very easy to process. Maybe this is part of what makes it so special? The heads of this grain are bigger than any other grain I have seen, it seems ridiculously productive.

Sepp calls Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), Acacia but it is really a pseudoacacia. There may be something similar going on here. The grain looks like Einkorn, and he calls it Einkorn, but it may be a relative or pseudo-Einkorn. I'm not sure.

I won't have seed to share till the crop that I plant this year produces, so fall/winter 2015. At that point I would love to get it out to as many people and as many different climates as possible.
Mike McAdam


Joined: Feb 18, 2014
Posts: 4
Do we have a good idea what the time to mature for Sepp's grain is? I gather, that like most biannual triticums that it is fairly short, guessing by its success in northern climes, but wasn't clear how it would do in some high country areas. I was curious since I know a high location in MT with a growing season that is around 50 days, but if light frosts are tolerable, can be up to around 70 days. Just wondering if Sepp's grain would work in such a place?
Zach Weiss


Joined: Oct 20, 2012
Posts: 242
Location: Montana
    
  45
Mike, the time to maturity seems to vary depending on climate. I'm sure it tolerates light frosts, as the Krameterhof can get snow any month of the year. One of the sites I am trying it at is high elevation in Montana with a similar growing season and I think it will do quite well. Perhaps it could be cut back twice (taking 3 years to grow it) in the harshest climates? I'm not sure but will be sure to keep this post updated with what I find.
Craig Dobbelyu
pollinator

Joined: Dec 22, 2011
Posts: 998
Location: Maine (zone 5)
    
  34
Instead of being mowed the first year, could it be used as forage for animals in a paddock shift system? If so, which ones? What is the value of that biomass as a feed source? What insects and other wild life would also eat it at the grass stage?

Of course I'd also be happy to set aside part of my land for a trial of this now famous grain.



"You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result”

-Gandhi
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator

Joined: Aug 06, 2012
Posts: 1031
Location: La Palma Canary Zone 11
    
  12
So this is not really perrenial grains that we can find...
I have sorghum, and it also lives 2 years. I even have some seeds the 2nd year with no water at all (I mean 6 months....)

Sorghum never produces as much the 2nd year, maybe all has becom annual becuse the 1st year was anywas more productive for all grains?

I also have guandul, pois d'Angole, pigeon 0pea in english I think.
The tree is said to be perenial, BUT lives 5 years at most and produces more the 1st year, and down to the 3rd...

I have moringa, and they do dot reach seed stage, only flower, may be too "cold"


Xisca - Canary - Look at pics! Dry subtropical Mediterranean - My project
However loud I tell it, this is never a truth, only my experience...
 
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