Rising wheat: bread from the yard

Wheat is an important food crop and has been grown around the world for thousands of years. There are all types of wheat and each has its own characteristics, what their flour is best for, such as: B. for pasta, bread or pastries. Today we're focusing on growing wheat, which is best used for making bread!

Growing your own grain of wheat takes you one step closer to self-sufficiency and the end results are well worth the effort. Imagine pulling out of the oven some hot bread baked from the flour you grew and buttering this baby. My mouth drools just thinking about it!

We recommend that you devote part of your garden to growing wheat. One pound of wheat seeds can produce 1.5 bushels of grain, which is about 90 pounds of grain! Planting and harvesting is a whole process so let's research and research into this treasured crop.

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Brief instructions for care

Did you know you can grow wheat at home? Source: Sleepy Claus

Common name (s) Common wheat, bread wheat
Scientific name Triticum aestivum
Days to harvest Summer wheat 120 days, winter wheat 240 days
light Full sun
water Low water
ground Well-drained clay soil
fertilizer 1-2-1 NPK or compost
Pests Aphids, armyworms and stink beetles
Diseases Bacterial leaf strips, basal glume rot, ergot, powdery mildew, rust and wheat mosaic

Everything about wheat

Young green wheatAs early grass and as it forms its seed head, wheat is quite green. Source: Longitude Latitude

Triticum aestivum is the scientific name for common wheat, also known as bread wheat. It comes from the grass family, Poaceae. Wheat's origins are vague, but many speculate that it was first harvested for food in the Middle East. If you are looking for seeds for your garden, you will come across wheat varieties such as beardless winter wheat (Triticum hybernum), spelled (Triticum spelta) or einkorn (Triticum monococcum). These are all useful and serve many purposes, but they are not bread wheat.

Triticum aestivum is an annual grass that can grow to 3-5 feet tall. The stems are narrow stems with alternating flat and long leaves. The top 2-4 inches of the grass are the spikes or flower heads. When ripe, the head is filled with 30-50 of the coveted grains.

Wheat's life cycle begins with germination, which takes about 5 days. Seedlings hatch and develop their first real leaves and stems. Multiple stems can emerge from one seedling. These are called tiller. Any of these tillers can grow into a full-blown wheat plant. Then the plant will focus on stem development. You will see joints or knots, and it is from here that the trunk extends. The leaves begin to elongate and curl slightly. The head of grass emerges from the sheath of the last leaf and begins to pollinate. Then the kernels begin to develop and ripen for harvest.

The microgreens and grains, also known as wheat berries, are the most popular parts of the plant that are used for culinary purposes. The young sprouts are also edible for human, dog and cat consumption. Your fur baby might enjoy gnawing on some young wheatgrass blades, and humans juicing it for wheatgrass juice shots. Other purposes include using the straw as garden mulch, animal bedding, or packaging material.

Tillering is an important part of wheat growth. This is the time when wheat begins to develop additional stems in addition to the first stalks, around 2-3 weeks after germination. Since each stalk only produces a single wheat, you want each plant to produce a bunch of it! To make this easier, make sure your soil is nitrogen-enriched and loose and crumbly before planting. After planting, make sure that the moisture is applied evenly and that the weather is not too hot or too cold. A happy wheat plant will produce many ploughmen, and the more ploughmen, the more heads you will have in the future.

Growing wheat for food is satisfying and fun. It is recommended that you start small with your property so that you can pay particular attention to the growing characteristics in your area.

As you search seed catalogs, you will find that bread wheat has a collection of different varieties. Some of these are hard spring, hard winter, and soft winter.

Wheat species

There is an amazing variety of wheat varieties and it is easy to get caught up in all of their flour qualities. Let's break down the differences between winter, spring, hard and soft wheat!

Winter wheat is planted in the fall. It should get 10–6 inches before the winter season sets in. The roots overwinter and begin to grow in spring. This will be the highest yield of the wheat varieties and the grain will be ready for harvest in May-July.

Spring wheat is planted in spring! In autumn it will be ready for harvest. Hard red spring wheat is one of the types of wheat with the highest protein content.

Durum wheat varieties contain more gluten and are ideal for baking bread. Soft wheat varieties contain less gluten and are preferred for pastries, crackers and cookies.

Then there are other types of wheat such as durum wheat, which is preferred for making pasta, and einkorn, which is known for its nutty taste.

Plant wheat

Wheat in the middle seasonAs the growing season progresses, the green fades to a lighter shade. Source: kinshuksunil

Now let's cover the basics of when, where, and how to grow wheat.

Most wheat is a cool season. Winter wheat should be planted 6-8 weeks before the first autumn frosts.

Spring wheat can be planted once the soil is ready for work in early spring. This can handle heat better, but should still be able to develop before it reaches scorching temperatures.

Wheat does best in full sun, in well-drained clay soils. Usually this plant is grown in the ground, but some grow wheat in raised beds or in large containers. For small-scale wheat growing, tight planting of 25 plants per square foot can be done. A slightly larger garden plot of 100 square feet can yield 50 pounds of wheat.

When you're ready to plant, you'll want to blast the seeds in two directions. For example the first shipment from east to west. The second shipment goes from north to south. Rake and cover the seeds with 1 inch of soil for spring wheat and 2 inches for winter wheat. Pack or consolidate the soil to make the seeds nice and cozy.


Wheat is starting to turn yellowThe wheat turns golden and then gradually dries to a light tan. Source: EtaiAdam

Now let's go over some basic needs like sun, temperature, and water that will help you grow wheat successfully. Soon you will be ready to grow your own wheat!

Sun and temperature

Wheat loves the sun. The more sun, the more productive it will be. Full sun is ideal with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight.

This plant is adaptable to many climates and thrives in USDA growing zones 7-10. The key to growing your wheat crop is deciding whether to plant in fall or spring. The ideal temperature for wheat to grow is 55-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wheat can tolerate cold temperatures, but root growth will slow down during these times. For additional protection, cover your property with mulch during the cooler seasons to keep the soil temperature and roots warm.

Hot weather above 95 degrees Fahrenheit can shock your crops. When the weather is hot, wheat needs more of anything to survive, and even that may not be enough to allow evaporative cooling around the plants. Grain cannot be properly stuffed even in hot weather. To avoid this, it is important that you can harvest your crops before the weather gets over 95. In much of the southern or western United States, this means you should grow your wheat as hard winter wheat rather than hard summer wheat.

Water and moisture

When the weather is cool, once wheat is established it has little need for additional water. If your region gets 12-20 inches of rain during the growing season, your wheat should thrive. If you feel the need to water, try early morning or evening. Give a good soak at the base of the plants every 2-4 weeks. Make sure the soil is well drained as excessive soil moisture can create ideal conditions for disease.

If you can, drip irrigation under small wheat plantations is wonderful. This method is not used in commercial farming, but works wonderfully if you are only growing small amounts as an ornamental or catch crop. Since the soil at the base of small plantings gets more sunlight, you'll need the extra water to keep things moist. Mulch can offer a similar benefit.


Wheat loves well-drained clay soil. This plant can grow in any type of soil, but it will not thrive in acidic or poorly drained soils. The ideal soil pH for wheat is between 6.0-7.0.


Fertilizer can be added to poor soils and increase the yield for your crops. Phosphorus is most important for early root and shoot development, but your wheatgrass will also need some nitrogen for early leaf development. If you are growing winter wheat, it is usually okay to add nitrogen to the greenery in early spring. Make sure that there is already phosphorus in the soil at the time of planting.

Do not try to feed wheat over the leaves. This can cause the leaves to burn and cause serious damage to your crops. It is best to use granular fertilizer or a liquid application at the base of the plant.

Pruning / training

Pruning and training are not required for growing wheat.


The only way wheat can be propagated is through seeds. There is no other way to grow wheat.

Harvest and storage

Head of wheatEach stalk develops a single head of wheat. Source: tamaki

You will find that the stalks begin to flex from the heavy kernels and the grass turns brown … that means it is nearing harvest time! Several items are required to properly harvest and store your crops, but you will soon be able to start baking.


You need to test the grains to know if they are ripe. Farmers will knock a few grains out of their heads and either pinch them with their fingernails or put them in their mouths. You are looking for a firm, crunchy to hard texture. If the seed is soft, check it every day until you get hard kernels.

A small plot of land less than 150 square feet can be harvested by hand by cutting off the heads. Larger lots require tools like a scythe and cradle or sickle. Dry the harvested plants in the sun for 7-10 days.

After the harvest dries, you can begin threshing the grains from the heads and removing the chaff. There are several techniques for hand threshing, such as: B. Threshing, beating in a clean container or on a tarpaulin. If you only have small amounts of wheat, place the heads in a plastic bag, tie the bag tightly around the stems, and hit the ground to knock out the seeds. Next, you can start removing the chaff and debris from the grain. The easiest way to do this is to set up a box fan and slowly pour your wheat between two buckets so the fan can blow the chaff away.


You should avoid heat, light, moisture, and infestation from spoiling the grain. If you have a small harvest, freeze the dried grain and it will keep for several years. If it's completely dried out, you can also store it in a food-safe 5 gallon bucket with a couple of silica packets to soak up any remaining moisture. Commercial vendors often make sure it's thoroughly dried and then sell it in linen sacks or ventilated poly bags, but these can allow rodents to find and eat your stash!


Wheat about to be harvestedThis wheat is almost ready for harvest time. Source: Orangebrompton

Sometimes wheat doesn't grow the way we expect it to. We're going to cover some common factors that can limit your harvest and make recommendations on how to treat these issues.

Growing problems

The Time of planting can affect the success of your winter or summer wheat. If winter wheat is planted too late, the roots have not developed enough to survive the winter weather. If spring wheat is planted too late, the heat may prevent it from producing large quantities of grain.

Weather like heavy rains and high humidity can hinder the growth of wheat. If you live in an area that is exposed to excessive moisture, try to find a high and dry location to grow your plants and modify the soil to make it well drained.

Too much nitrogen can slow down the plant. To minimize this, avoid nitrogenous fertilizers and manure. You may want to consider companion planting between rows of wheat with plants that are heavily nitrogenous, like spinach or lettuce.


Aphids are common garden pests, you can see their small bodies on the leaves. The leaves begin to curl and streak yellow or white and growth slows down. Use a hose to spray the aphids off the leaves and if the infestation is severe, and apply an insecticidal oil such as neem oil.

Army worms, especially western striped armyworms, leave large nicks in the leaves or eat them completely. The eggs are laid on the leaves and look like moldy spots. Using Bacillus thuringiensis can fight the infestation.

Stink bug attack the head and seeds. Active weed management is required to remove all the places they live, and you can apply diatomaceous earth to plant leaves and garden soil.


Many wheat diseases are difficult or impossible to treat, such as: Bacterial leaf stripswho has left lesions and black streaks on the leaves. Ergot is a mushroom poisonous to animals; the grain appears purple or black, with a white interior. Basal glume rot infects the grains with dark spots coming from the stem. Wheat Mosaic Virus leaves yellow streaks on the leaves, and they will pucker and dry out. These diseases require the removal of infected plants, the complete removal of the plants and bedding from the garden after harvest, and a crop rotation of disease-resistant plants.

rust leaves brown spots on the leaves and stems, and the leaves turn yellow and brown. Fortunately, in many cases the rust is treated with the application of sulfur or liquid copper fungicide, although not in all cases.

Powdery mildew occurs when there is a combination of high humidity and warm weather. Usually, the spores adhere better to damp foliage, so watering at the base of the plants can reduce spread. Treat with neem oil or a liquid copper fungicide.

frequently asked Questions

Q: How long does wheat take to grow?

A: It depends. Summer wheat needs 120 days to grow, winter wheat needs up to 240 days to grow.

Q: does wheat need a lot of water?

A: No, this plant will thrive in drier conditions. You still want to make sure that it is very young, but when it is ripe it will take significantly less additional water.

Q: How much wheat is there in a cup of flour?

A: About ½ cup of grains makes 1 cup of flour. This is roughly a compact 5 square meter garden field.

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