Friday, January 30, 2009

Buckwheat in the Organic Rotation

I was thoroughly impressed with how well the Buckwheat performed with regards to weed supression in the field. One field that I have been farming since 2007 was so infested with Cammomile, that the County was bothering the landowner to take care of it with chemicals. She contacted me at that point and asked me if I would farm the piece. I took it on and spent the first year simply tilling the weeds under from time to time, otherwise known as "summer fallowing". This is definitely not a sustainable way to farm and so I decided to invest the time and money into planting a crop of Buckwheat. I had heard of Buckwheat's ability to suppress plant growth from other species be it weed or otherwise. The lush canopy shades out any lower plants and the alleopathic properties of the Buckwheat root system takes care of any stragglers. In this video you can clearly see the difference between where the Buckwheat was seeded and where the drills missed seeding along the edges.

One other benefit of Buckwheat in the Organic Rotation is how well it conditions the soil. In the fall, after harvest, I typically spend some time doing tillage. This takes care of any left over weeds and prepares the soil for spring tillage and seeding. Fall tillage also allows for a better penetration of moisture when the snow melts in spring. When I was performing this fall tillage with the chisel plow, I couldn't help but notice the improved condition of the soil. It was less lumpy and with a pass of the disc in the spring will be a wonderful seedbed for next years crop of whatever is next in the rotation.

Organic Buckwheat

I thought I would take the time to produce a few posts to do with Buckwheat. This is a relatively new crop for us. I have been researching it for a few years now and only decided to grow it commercially for the first time in 2008.

In this, the first of a series of Buckwheat posts, I thought I would share with you some of the benefits of Buckwheat from a dietary standpoint. Buckwheat is a nutraceutical "super food". The nutritional benefits are many. But don't take my word on the subject. Attached below is more information than you ever wanted to know about the beneficial aspects of adding Organic Buckwheat to your diet. It is a wonderful piece from Steven Edwardson when he was at Purdue University.

Here also, is a great Youtube video on the subject. Nutrition by Natalie.