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.

video
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.

7 comments:

  1. What do you do or plan to do with the buckwheat hulls?

    I've been looking for an alternative organic filling for my bean bag chair, but other than just heading out and buying some actual dried beans or popcorn or something like that, I have slept with buckwheat hull pillows in Japan and they were nice (not to mention a guaranteed win in any pillow-fight), and I always thought they'd be a great filling for bean bag chairs too, perhaps mixed with some organic hemp or cotton.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well...we don't currently process our buckwheat so I do not have just hulls laying around. We ship our buckwheat to a mill in BC where they process and may have hulls available. Of course, they probably wouldn't be interested in shipping a bean bag chair's worth. The rest of the buckwheat I keep for seed or sell locally as seed.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you very much for the information.. Very helpful for us..
    regards
    Buckwheat Hull Pillows Teams

    ReplyDelete
  4. Could you please tell me the name of the mill in B.C. that you ship to?
    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yes, we sold our buckwheat to Fieldstone Granary out of armstrong BC. They have a great website if you google them. The manager's name is Margaret. Tell her you were talking to me.

    ReplyDelete
  6. And how (what method of shipment)do you ship your Grains to BC? Thankyou

    ReplyDelete
  7. on a personal level, we use UPS or Greyhound for shipping.

    ReplyDelete