Autumn Planted Grains
Autumn planting of grains can double as high brix, high carbon compost crops for making high quality compost for next years garden! Autumn, once the nights get cooler and Autumn rains come, is the time to plant your grains that do best when overwintered.
In the North Island that includes from our collection: Milmore rye, Konini wheat, Kamut wheat, hulless barley, Mocha barley, hulless oats, and Essene flax seed. Apart from some very cold or Winter wet areas down South, I think those grains will still do better when planted in Autumn everywhere. The longer the grains are in the ground before Spring, the stronger the roots are, the more they tiller, and the heavier the crops.
If you are aiming to be using the high carbon stems to make high quality compost, then take just as much care as you would if the crops were tomatoes or potatoes to feed them, including foliar feeding. I find BioIntensive beds of grain respond very well to foliar feeding, even better than vegetables do. I would be applying some form of calcium to my grain beds if my plants were not already producing over 14 brix. My calcium might be burnt bone ash, applied 3 weeks before planting grain, or it might be in the compost which had lime or crushed shells or bones in it, or I might apply EF Active Calcium.
Many of us will also be looking for ways to use our Winter crops to increase or mine phosphate and calcium from the soil. In this case we might choose oats and lupins to be our grain and compost crops, as those crops are able to release higher amounts of phosphate and calcium from the minerals in the soil than many others.
Adding a form of phosphate may also be vital to get the brix’s up. Ideally you might have well made compost that had a high proportion of phosphate plant material, or maybe RPR (Reactive Rock Phosphate), or maybe our Koanga Compost Minerals and Microbes added. If not, then add EF Nature’s Garden to the bed, as described on label. The sooner we get our brix’s up, the sooner we can stop using bought in product and find our own ways to maintain the levels. Foliar feed either by making your own mixes and using your refractometer to test, or I will use EF Growth Foliar for the first 30 days then switch to EF Fruit Foliar which will help to grow a healthy huge seed crop.
In Spring when you get to make your compost heaps with all the stalks, you will really see how precious this high quality material is. When your compost is ready to use and you can apply high quality compost back to feed your plants, you will have the circle complete.
Our grain collection is expanding all the time, you will notice that we now have some very special barley varieties that came to us from KUSA many years ago. We grew Mocha barley this year, and somehow grains always feel very special, sacred, as you watch them grow and mature, and harvest them. Mocha barley turns a coffee colour as it matures and bends its head down on a sharp angle to keep the rain off itself.