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Finding heritage and organic cereals.

rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
Remembering sepp holzers wheat with its long stalks that he called russian wheat and tallking with someone about buying old fashioned brands of cereals, i thought of trying to find them on google and you can buy them, some of them at least.
  The first site i found that sells several varieties of heritage wheat oats and barley seed as well as simply organic cereals and many other organic seeds and interesting information on the organic is,- sustainable seed company -. a North American company. I found this with the words, cereal seed organic, but it seems that heirloom cereals exist so the words heirloom cereals might get you a lot of results, it seems too that cereal seed is called grain. Search might get you plenty of seed from the times when there were lots of varieties of wheat, nearly as many as there were farmers and that often were the seeds adapted to the climate of the farm so they formed a wide bank of genetic material of grains adapted to many different conditions. Keeping alive as complete a bank of genetic material on plants somthign tha seed companies tend to reduce, all farmers buy one or two sorts of seed from the big companies instead of breeding their own seed wheat.
    That is a topic touched on in other threads. Maybe there are addresses for where to buy heirloom seeds on other threads, I dont open all the links people put in to the forums, it has cost me quite a while to learn to open links because they are usually full of interesting information. agri rose macaskie.   
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
i have been collecting heritage grains for the past couple years.

my best source is the national small grains collection, and this website is how you can get them.

http://www.ars-grin.gov/npgs/orders.html

if you search for wheat you can find the old varieties. i recently got some sent that were collected in jordan, afghanistan, tunisia, italy, russia and a few others.

i have also been collecting old barleys and oats. i recently got these beautiful hulless purple barley i am waiting to try this spring.

there are various seed websites that sell grains.

the only problem i have found is that most companies and the database only send a small amount of seed. so you need to grow a seed crop the first year, to be able to grow enough to eat the next.

you can also get grains from health food stores. i got some organic farro wheat a few years ago that i sprouted and grow. expensive stuff compared to the rest ( 4.80$lb vs .89$lb)


The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134

  Humbert Cumberdale you have got people brining you grain from all over the world, you will be one of the people who saved the genetic bank of grain.
    It is exciting that people have some old fashioned grains. When I read about the seed industry producing only a few types of seed and thought how long farmers had been buying seed from big industrial companies, I thought, there can't be much seed left of the old varieties and decided i had to resign myself to the idea that we had done for most of the grain genetic bank and the big companies sell in the third world, i thought i had to give up thinking of us having anything that was not the few grains the seed companies offer.
  The site i mentioned has oats that grow six feet high, mulling over it in the evening i thought that it would be quite an experience to have a feild of oats growing above my head.
  It is interesting that you mention that people who sell heirloom grains only sell small quantities of grain because that is what the site i have looked into offered and i did not know that was the norm.
      They the sustainable seed company are looking for farmers who will increase their stocks i noticed, they are willing to sell larger amounts of grain to people who can convince them they are  capable growers, they will sell them big  big amounts of grain in exchange for taking part of their grain when its harvested. I suppose they would pay for that, they dont say. I certainly could not pretend to be an experienced grain grower. agri rose macaskie.
   
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
http://www.bountifulgardens.org/products.asp?dept=4 ; has some unusual grain varieties.


Idle dreamer

Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
rose its even more sad that the varieties of wheat we grow now commercially are pretty designed for the combine machine to eat, making it more efficient at harvesting. rather than us eating it and benefiting from its nutrition.

the sustainable seed co has some good grains, i am going to purchase a few from them for planting this fall.

i don't mind the small amounts of grain, specially for the heritage varieties. when wheat and other grains can multiply seed exponentially. and FAST. one wheat seed could become 100+. 100+ could become thousands. thousands of seeds is enough to plant a huge area. for example two years ago i was given a hullless barley, only a handful of seeds, maybe 20-30 seeds. now two years later i have enough to eat and plant a good sized area for an even bigger harvest. another benefit to the small plots at first is you don't waste a huge area on a variety that might not do well at your place. with many small plots at first you can establish which ones do best for a larger scale planting.

another GREAT source for grains is the kusa seed society. ive yet to get all of the grains they offer but they have some amazingly old and ancient grains.

my ultimate goal is to have wild grains growing. and if anything all i have to do is harvest and toss some seed.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
Humbert Cumberdale the loss of the genetic bank is very seriouse though, it is the loss of many varieties of cereals that will grow in different weather and soil conditions as well as different flavours of grain and cereals with long stems that increase the amount of feed for straw or hay feed for live stock or even more important make it easier to have a big supply of organic matter to pull up the quality of our soils quicker. rose macaskie.
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
yea i understand that genetic loss is critical. specailly when we are moving towards fewer and fewer natural grains that are not tampered by man. this is why i am collecting grains like its going out of style. i hope to one day have over a couple hundred types of grains.

also like you said, to save the traits other than yeild and ease of harvest.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
humbert cumberdale, what you said was useful to me, a bought a scyth, they are so expensive and so big, when i was small they sold small simple sycths in England, and started a conversation with the man who sold it to me,  I told him that you had said they grew grains for the machines not for our paletes and he was amused and disgusted and all that range of emotions that such information normally brings out in people, it is an interesting bit of information.
    I bought the sycth because Youtube videos talks of scyths being easier to use than those horrible noisy smelly difficult to hold sticks with a piece of plastic string whirling round in an upside down plate on the bottom of them. I think first we make tractors that are much easier than scyths and then we start making a machine for everything like for small time grass and grain cutting and by a mistake make something much harder to use than the old hand instrument which is funny, interesting annoying. Have not managed to cut anything with the scyth yet but i did not try very hard, i remember cutting grass with the simple scyth my parents had when i was a child, this one has such a wide arc that it is to big to wave around on my paths. agri rose macaskie.
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
i recently came across a hand made Austrian scythe blade at a yard sale. and for 15$! and then found an aluminum snath at a thrift store a few days later. ill practice with the aluminum one and try and make my own wooden one out of some of the trees on my property. like you i have yet to use it as the grass is all dry, dead and pretty much fallen all over the place by now, its also not very flat at all here. i need to make one of those attachments for catching and laying out the grain too before next year. the name of it slipped my mind right now. it makes for far more productive grain harvest compared to without one.

its extremely sad how many crops are grown in ways that pretty much benefit the harvesting machine the most, and in turn the farmers pocket, and even worse in the chemical and fertilizer companies hands. then there is the countless crops that are not grown because they are deemed not suitable for machine harvest.

i think weed whackers have there advantage compared to a scythe in some situations. when your dealing with a lot of tight corners, lots of brush or shrubs close together, where you cant get that swing of the blade. it does work faster. though you could just switch to a smaller hand held scythe blade i suppose. or even better just smash it down and throw some mulch on top.



rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
For me the trouble with the chemical companies is that they must make so much money all over the world with people everywhere buying chemicals that i am sure they put their all into persuadiing farmers they dont need organic material in their soil. Farmers could not better the texture of the soil and make it hold more water, with plenty of organic matter, without reducing the need for nitrogen as organic matter provides nitrogen as well as bettering the texture of the soil so it is not in the interests of those who sell chemicals to farmers for the farmers to put any organic matter at all in their soil.
       I enjoy trying to think how to go against  the arguements of others but the perception that something so healthy and cheap and so much better for the atmophere as organic or permaculture methods are should be very hard to bring about because the chemical companies will put their all into making those who talk of organ¡nic matter looks silly and us¡ng all the other tactics that work to convince pople of what is not true, is enough to make anyone very cross.
Propoganda seems to be able to convince people of anything, the less lwell of in Spain and North America are being persuaded to vote for the left which is to crucify themselves, it is odd, i dont find people so very stupid when i talk to them.
      I remember seeing a documentary in which an ecological group in some state persuaded some farmers in North America to go green because chemicals are so expensive.

      I think i saw Sepp Holzer use a bill hook to cut some of his grain, he grabbed  an armful of his tall wheat and cut it with a bill hook, at least that is what its called in some parts of England, as harvesters do in medieival paintings.
    My garden is hilly and the grass is all knocked flat at the moment too. The grass in one patch of garden at the lowest part of the garden has bigger and bigger patches  that stay green all through the summer each year, which seems to be something to be wondered at and be pleased about, I have no idea what sort of grass it is. This happens where the grass does not get cut, in the bit of garden beside it that also lies next to the winter flowing stream, which does gets cut, my husband  I do different things and that turns out to mean there is a way of comparing what i do with with someting different, the patch he cuts does not have green grass in summer but it is full of green violet leaves and a few other things.
  Talking of encouraging things that have happened. In the garden, my vines, those that just appear of their own accord, thanks to birds i imagine, have had mildew for variouse years, I did not do anything about it and this year there they are, healthy with no sign of mildew at all, that is one one up for not using chemicals and one i did not expect. rose macaskie.
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
I enjoy trying to think how to go against  the arguements of others but the perception that something so healthy and cheap and so much better for the atmophere as organic or permaculture methods are should be very hard to bring about because the chemical companies will put their all into making those who talk of organ¡nic matter looks silly and us¡ng all the other tactics that work to convince pople of what is not true, is enough to make anyone very cross.


yea the big business have money, lots of it and that's not a fight one person alone can win, at least not at first.  though its so great to see the faces on people who advocate that type of stuff when you show them your doing something they said was impossible or completely pointless. to see them mumbling to themselves, trying to think of a way to stand up to their point of view. I find the best way to convince people the permaculture or polyculture style of farming is better is to just show them.

I think i saw Sepp Holzer use a bill hook to cut some of his grain, he grabbed  an armful of his tall wheat and cut it with a bill hook, at least that is what its called in some parts of England, as harvesters do in medieival paintings.


in the end i think something like this is going to be better for the permaculture grain farmer at least on a small scale farm. because im not going to have just wheat in my field its going to be a mix of all kinds of other crops. broadscale permaculture might be better off with scythes.

I also remembered the name of the attachment for the scythe for harvesting grains. its a scythe cradle or wheat cradle.

so in the next few days i am going to cover an area in mulch and get it ready for fall planting. i might toss some white clover out there to get things started a little. if i do so im guessing ill let it grow some. scythe it back, broadcast wheat seedballs, and by the time the clover recovers the wheat will be starting(hopefully)

im also setting up a small area to just use for multiplying some of the seed types i have small numbers for. so next year i can evaluate which do best and plant more.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
I find it hard to remember to talk about the things i dont know about. They are not the things people have most on their mind. Not doing so looks near to being dishonest, it is as if you are being dishonest but i think its more that they are new and i and i imagine other people have the same problem with things they dont know much about, had not had the new topic in tha tlist of things i wanted to jaw about, and it seems easier to get going on things i have had on my mind for a while.
The truth is i was suprised to hear from what you said that you can use wild grains, mostly because i pick at grass seed heads trying to find out if i like the grain in an idle sort of way, not very intentionally and i have never found one with much of a grain so i had just set aside the idea that wild grain could bring us much food and you talk of collecting and growing it. So i should have asked what you have to tell on the wild seed line and just did not talk of it. Its hard to know what others could possibly have to say on something that i am totally ignorant on.
  The bit of documentary I saw a long time ago on saving seed in India showed them storing seed in a very moodern building in delhi if i remember right a university i think it was.

    Its a pity no one else is joining in on this thread as keeping the genetic seed bank big is so important.
      For permaculturists grains that give more mulch because old fashioned varieties had a lot more stalk to them should be important, growing oats and rye seems to be a big bit of green and cover crop growing from the little i have read while looking into places that sell heritage cereal grain. agri rose macaskie.
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
which wild seeds are you talking about. my grain collection is growing and im starting to forget which varieties i have. ive been collecting them from whoever and wherever i can.

Its a pity no one else is joining in on this thread as keeping the genetic seed bank big is so important.
      For permaculturists grains that give more mulch because old fashioned varieties had a lot more stalk to them should be important, growing oats and rye seems to be a big bit of green and cover crop growing from the little i have read while looking into places that sell heritage cereal grain. agri rose macaskie.


probably because when you mention growing grains to most people, most of them always answer back with something like "what are you going to grow enough for 1 cup of flour in your backyard" or "its cheaper at the store" it would be nice if there was other people interested in growing grains.

like you mentioned, im sure there are many people who practice permaculture who would just love the free mulch it provides on top of giving you food.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
but have you found wild grains and heard of othe rpeople who know of them and how good are they, the only ones i know of, which are very good, are wild rice ones, dark brown ones. Tell more about them, can, wild wheat for instance, be found or do you find other less well known types of wild grains?agri rose macaskie.
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
well i dont have any wild grains, but i do have some that are very very old. as in they have been grown for hundreds of years.

from what i have read there are wild emmer grains growing in Israel on the edges of the dead sea.

we dont have wild rice here, i think thats more of a north eastern type thing.

that said my goal is to make all these grains i have grow wild on my place. so year after year if i dont harvest, they self seed, self mulch and re establish a patch.
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
hey rose, since your still the only one here with me in the thread, youll like this page.

http://www.stpetersabbey.ca/prairie_garden_seeds/field_day/field_day_20070812.html

it has 4 galleries of old heritage wheats. you can also buy them from this website

http://www.prseeds.ca/catalogue/grain.php?C=Grain

im making plans and gathering the last few materials for my seedball machine, so i can mass produce wheat seedballs for broadcasting every which way.
Cate Weaver


Joined: Jul 12, 2011
Posts: 15
Just want to put a quick plug in here for the work being done at the Land Institute on perennial grains.  It's something to consider in the discussion.

http://www.landinstitute.org/vnews/display.v/ART/2007/03/15/45fac62e11c35

Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
wow someone else posted here. welcome lol.

thanks for the post, i have been trying hard to get ahold of some perennial grains. not so easy to come by, i would be happy with one grain.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
Hubert cumberdale, so you keep grains and let them revert to type, took me  awhile to remember that expression having a gardening mother and grandmother, leaves me with a bigger verbal heritage than i knew i had picked up, like reverts to type, and thats how you get wild grain. sounds a good way.

  I  have remember the more normal less north country name for a bill hook, a sickle. I think I remember seeing sepp holzer thrash at some weeds with a sycthe but cut his tall russian wheat with a bill hook. I should look for the video again instead of saying i think i remember. I am so dismayed at what seemed to be the big arc of the sycthe I have bought, i cant imagine how i can use it except in a big space but maybe i will just have to practice how to give a fast enough swipe in a small space a bit.

The people in India collecting rice grain for some officail place or university in, Delhi I think,  were probably collecting wheat grain too. It is hard to imagine they had that sort of worry about the genetic bank and did not extend it to wheet. They do eat wheat products in India dont they? They have that bread called chapatties, i think that how its spelt. agri rose macaskie.
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
Hubert cumberdale, so you keep grains and let them revert to type, took me  awhile to remember that expression having a gardening mother and grandmother, leaves me with a bigger verbal heritage than i knew i had picked up, like reverts to type, and thats how you get wild grain. sounds a good way.


ok i gotcha now, yea i hope quite a few of them "go wild"


  I  have remember the more normal less north country name for a bill hook, a sickle. I think I remember seeing sepp holzer thrash at some weeds with a sycthe but cut his tall russian wheat with a bill hook. I should look for the video again instead of saying i think i remember. I am so dismayed at what seemed to be the big arc of the sycthe I have bought, i cant imagine how i can use it except in a big space but maybe i will just have to practice how to give a fast enough swipe in a small space a bit.


i know exactly what you mean, im having this scythe and thinking to myself. this is made for huge fields of harvesting. not so much the permaculture farm where wheat is grown with other crops. will be on the lookout for a smaller hand held one to compare.

The people in India collecting rice grain for some officail place or university in, Delhi I think,  were probably collecting wheat grain too. It is hard to imagine they had that sort of worry about the genetic bank and did not extend it to wheet. They do eat wheat products in India dont they? They have that bread called chapatties, i think that how its spelt. agri rose macaskie.


there are people all over the world saving seed like madmen for when Monsanto screws us all over.
half of the wheat seeds i got were from the national grain database. and they have THOUSANDS of varieties of wheat and all kinds of other seeds.
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
so i have been wildscattering some winter wheat seedballs into the areas that are mostly weed grasses. they will sit and wait until rain like all of the other seeds nature dropped. one thing i did notice is the birds didnt go crazy when i tossed the seed out, last fall it was just bare seed and within hours there were birds eating all of the seed. im hoping at least the wheat will reduce the numbers of other grasses by competition. in a few years i hope the wheat will out compete the wild annual grasses for good. or at least keep them in check and provide me with some food.
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6593
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
135
Slightly off topic, but since by definition, all cereals are grasses, I thought I'd post this link:

http://www.seedsource.com/catalog/

They have about 30 native grasses available @ this page:

http://www.seedsource.com/catalog/category.asp?txtsearchParamTxt=&txtsearchParamCat=5&txtsearchParamType=ALL&txtsearchParamMan=ALL&txtsearchParamVen=ALL&txtFromSearch=fromSearch&btnSearch.x=10&btnSearch.y=7
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
a quick update, i made lots of wheat seedballs in the summer, tossed them out and forgot about them. this is land that is nothing but non native grasses, weeds and other small plants. the soil is pretty poor. its mostly red clay/silt with lots of rock. even still so far i am having excellent success, germination is very high and predation is very low. some varieties like the wild farro are doing amazingly well.

the barley is also doing better than expected.

as compared to the modern wheats i tossed out in specific areas. the heritage wheats seem to like the process more so far. well see next summer which ones win. thats not saying that the modern ones are doing bad, they should give a good crop as well for how little effort went into it.

ill be sowing 10-15 spring varieties come march.
branimir marold


Joined: Dec 07, 2011
Posts: 25
glad to hear that

p.s. there is a saying here among bee keepers that there are no bad hives only bad bee keepers


nothing personal - only natural
Alison Thomas
volunteer

Joined: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 933
Location: France
    
    8
That's great news, hubert. It renews my determination. Now I'm just wondering if that seed place that you got your seed from will ship to Europe - off to investigate.
Alison Thomas
volunteer

Joined: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 933
Location: France
    
    8
hubert, seedball machine? Can you tell us more? Any photos?
Charles Kelm


Joined: Apr 30, 2010
Posts: 150
Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
The those people in the pacific northwest of the USA, a great book just came out this month called Growing Dry Beans & Grains in the Pacific Northwest: A Step-by-step Guide to Producing Your Own Staple Foods

www.amazon.com/Growing-Beans-Grains-Pacific-Northwest/dp/B006H6O39U/


Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
            


Joined: Jun 27, 2010
Posts: 75
Location: Ontario, Canada (44.265475, -77.960029)
Heritage Wheat Conservancy - http://growseed.org/


Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.
Devon Olsen


Joined: Nov 28, 2011
Posts: 1002
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
    
    6
great thread, a lot of useful links and sources for grains, thanks to all who provided links


Current Cheyenne, WY project
"Do you Hugel?" T-shirts and other products
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
So far this year I have harvested 10 varieties of heirloom grain. Still yet to come is my purple rice and some late volunteer brewing barley.

The flavor of these grains are superior, the one problem is you have to grow your own seed in almost all cases. Sometimes starting with as few as 5 seeds. It takes a few years of patience to have a small field of each.

Next year I will have more from all over the world growing.

One thing I gave found is some of these grains are very good in polyculture systems and tiller massively, I had a old world wheat from north Africa the plant had between 150-200 tillers each with a grain head on top. I watched it grow from a single seed in a seedball.
Alison Thomas
volunteer

Joined: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 933
Location: France
    
    8
Jordan Lowery wrote: I had a old world wheat from north Africa the plant had between 150-200 tillers each with a grain head on top. I watched it grow from a single seed in a seedball.


Wow, that's impressive! Where do you get all your original "5 seeds" from? I'm trying to grow my numbers at the moment so no eating for us yet.
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
A few places

People sending me grains
Me searching for grains whenever I come across some
The national grain database send seeds for trial purposes, this is where I started with just a few seeds.

I met someone on a similar path. He got this wheat from the middle east. He started with one seed, now he's got over a half acre of that stuff planted. One becomes a good hundred or more, those become thousands and those become a whe field.

I'm very excited about this black barley for next year. It's extremely nutritious and it's supposed to make great beer.
I have ten seeds to start with, it will be a few years before I brew or eat that stuff
Devon Olsen


Joined: Nov 28, 2011
Posts: 1002
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
    
    6
speaking of nutrition, does anyone have recommendations for a strain (or ten) that are on the high end of nutrition and create some decent biomass?

also is there anyway to figure out nutrition facts for perennial grains available as germplasms from the USDA?
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
What do you want the grain for? Milling, soups, chickens, other?
Devon Olsen


Joined: Nov 28, 2011
Posts: 1002
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
    
    6
well multipurpose is always best but mainly staple grain supply for bread(milling), pizzas, maybe cakes too, just looking for osmethign with high nutrition for that purpose
Nick Kitchener


Joined: Sep 24, 2012
Posts: 348
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
    
    6
Hi all,

I saw this very interesting article about making beer from a Victorian barley that has been recently resurrected:
http://zythophile.wordpress.com/2013/04/15/revival-of-ancient-barley-variety-thrills-fans-of-old-beer-styles/

I'd love to locate a sample of Chevallier barley. It seems that the UK is leading the world in heritage crops and pre industrial craftsmanship.

Is anyone in North America doing this sort of thing? What do permies have in their seed banks as far as pre industrial era malting barley?

I just started with Hana this season.

I also started Golden Promise but discovered to my dismay that it's a modern variety, and created via mutagenic radiation:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutation_breeding
 
 
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