How to Grow Wheat in Your Garden
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Teaching kids where their food comes from is super important. You can grow wheat, grind it and make it into bread yourself.
Wheat will grow right in your vegetable garden. Give it a try.
How to Grow Wheat
You wouldn’t believe what wheat means to me. I can’t tell you the memories I have of planting it, harvesting, taking it to the elevator for sale, and any number of other things. One of my fondest childhood memories is of sitting in the back of the wheat truck when the combine would come up beside it and dump wheat all over us and bury us. That’s good stuff!
We would chew the wheat for “gum” while we worked hard in the fields at my grandparent’s house during harvest time. After all the wheat was cut, we would go back and cut straw from the stems that were left in the ground.
Farming wheat is in my blood. These fun memories were at my grandparent’s house and they were some of the best times of my life.
My grandparents, great grandparents, and great-great grandparents were wheat farmer’s by trade and my uncle and cousin still farm wheat today. It’s an important part of my history. My Mom’s Grandfather ran in the Oklahoma Land Run with his parents to get their family land.
I was raised in the city, but the memories of what went on at the farm always cried out to me in the back of my mind. The cows, horses, sheep, goats, chickens, grandma’s big ole garden, and the wheat and alfalfa grandpa grew are part of my upbringing and are part of who I am today.
My mom is a smart woman and has so many skills from her time growing up on that farm, it’s amazing. She has talents and abilities as do her brothers and sisters that would amaze you.
How to grow flour
You can actually grow flour. Flour is ground from wheat berries and wheat berries can grow in your home garden. We have grown it and ground it and made bread from what we grew.
I make all the bread I feed my kids from scratch and I make it from freshly ground flour. I use local, top quality wheat berries to make my flour so my kids get the very best I can give them. Here is the grain mill I use to grind my wheat berries into flour.
Many people talk about gluten intolerance and grain free food, especially gluten free, but I really feel that what makes a lot of people sick and tired is not the gluten or the wheat itself, but the massive amounts of chemicals in the bread products that wheat is made into and you have a recipe for some pretty serious diseases and illnesses.
I’m not sure it’s the gluten for all people, although I KNOW it is for some. I think much of it is the process we’ve done to the wheat.
Growing wheat at home
I wanted to show my kids where those wheat berries come from. Although I don’t plan to grow all of our wheat as cleaning it is quite a chore that we don’t have the equipment for, I wanted to grow some wheat to show them the source of those beautiful golden nuggets of flavor.
We took some of our wheat berries we grind for flour and planted them back in November. Previously, I tried to grow wheat with the kids, but I didn’t remember that you grow it throughout the winter here in Oklahoma (no natural instincts for growing), so I talked to my cousin Joe about what could have gone wrong.
How to plant wheat
He said to have your wheat in the ground by November 30th. This is called winter wheat and it’s the only wheat you can grow in Oklahoma. It’s too hot here for anything else.
Winter wheat or hard wheat is good for making bread or other products that are made with yeast, spring wheat or soft wheat is good for pancakes, muffins, and things that don’t contain yeast.
Last year, we met that goal and watched our tiny wheatgrass grow throughout the winter a tiny bit at a time. Once the days started getting longer, our wheat took off and now it’s making seed heads.
Our rows aren’t straight like on the farm, but we are farming this wheat nonetheless. We have a 3 x 10 bed of it growing and will harvest it when it turns golden and the seeds will shake out of it. I’ll come back and update the blog when that happens.
Steps to grow wheat:
Find your wheat berry seeds. Research what type of wheat will grow in your area and when it needs to be planted. If you are in or around Oklahoma get winter wheat in the ground by the end of November.
Prepare your soil and make a trench about 2- 2 ½ inches deep. If you have a huge area to cover, you can broadcast your wheat seeds and then til them into the ground to about 2 inches. If you are planting spring wheat, you will need to plant it around 1 inch deep instead. Cover the seeds with dirt and pat down the earth gently to remove any air pockets.
Water weekly until grain stalks and heads begin to turn golden and heads droop toward the ground.
Check your mature grain weekly. Shake a few seeds out of the head and taste them. If they are doughy, they are not ready. If they are firm and you can chew them for a while without them disintegrating, they are ready. Remember the “wheat gum”?
Store them for a few weeks in a dry place until they are ready to clean. They will be dry and won’t dent with your fingernail when ready.
Beat the heads on the inside of a trash can until all of the seeds fall out of the heads. Then winnow the seeds by pouring them from one container to another in the breeze or in front of a fan until all the chaff blows out of the seeds. Get them as clean as possible before use.
Store them in an airtight container so moisture or bugs won’t be able to reach them.
How to grow your own wheat
I can’t wait to see how excited the kids are and how much they learn when we harvest our little wheat patch. We’ll grind it up into flour to make bread. What a wonderful learning experience for them that will stimulate all of their senses.
Sensory learning for kids
Sensory experiences are the best way for kids birth to three to learn, and can you think of anything else that smells as good as homemade bread coming out of the oven? It can carry you away.
For more tips on growing for beginners, check out how to grow:
- Hot peppers and sweet peppers,
- Sunflowers, Cotton,
- Jerusalem artichokes,
- Luffa sponges,
- Sweet potatoes,
- Brussel Sprouts,
- Birdhouse gourds,
Need more help getting started in the garden?
What should wheat look like in mid January? We had very warm weather in December then a super hard freeze. It went from gorgeous green to brown and dead looking.
It should come back from that. This has been a strange winter. Such warm temperature. But your roots should be okay and the tops should regrow.
I’m not sure why you think wheat isn’t a GMO – it definitely can be:
Inspiring! It is March now, so I have a while to wait, but looking forward to trying our hand out growing wheat and making bread with my kiddos. Thanks a ton!
I’m excited to hear all about it!
This is great! Where do you buy your wheat berries from? Any suggestions or recommendations? Thank you for sharing!!
I get them from a local farmer. It depends on where you live. You can also get them in bulk on honeyville grains (my favorite), maybe bulkfoods.com and probably amazon. Thank you for reading!
Thank you for your input and for reading the article. I appreciate it.
Everyone has their own opinion. Thank you for sharing yours.
Wow, growing wheat is pretty cool! Love it!
I thought it was pretty awesome. Thanks for checking it out! 🙂
I’ve been wanting to plant wheat for my animals also and thought I was running late here in ok. Glad to know I have until the end of nov.
That’s what my cousin says, he farms around Perry/Stillwater on the western side. 🙂 Last year we planted this around Nov 29th or so here in northeastern ok.
Can I ask you how much volume of wheat berries did get from that size plot?
Thanks, good post!
Thank you for reading and for your comment. Our wheat berries aren’t quite ready for harvest yet and they were preschool planted, so we did not maximize the potential of our space this time, but i will update you when we do harvest on how much we get. Thanks so much for asking! I can’t wait to see the answer. Should be a few more weeks. 🙂
Wow, this is amazing. I think it’s time I found myself a little plot of land and started growing some vegetables (wheat might not work in this part of the world!) 🙂
You can grow something to eat just about anywhere. Wheat is, overall, a lover of more cool weather than we usually have, so we can only grow one type, but the soft wheats grow well in more northern climates. 🙂 Thanks for checking this out!