The ultimate guide for you to grow your own luscious crop of buckwheat in the comfort of your own back garden!
Growing buckwheat is an easy process and this crop can be grown on poor soil as well. Buckwheat is a short-season crop, but one of the best sources for high-quality protein.
Buckwheat is also an excellent method of weed control, however, this quick blooming crop is not suitable for hot and dry weather conditions. Buckwheat is a gluten-free crop that provides significant health benefits. It comes under the family Polygonaceae abundant with beneficial phytochemicals.
Overall, there are plenty of reasons for growing buckwheat at home. This nutrition-rich healthy food is also popular for its bioactive compounds and low-calorie value. Let’s take a look with our guide on how to grow buckwheat along with harvesting and care details.
How To Plant Buckwheat
Buckwheat growing conditions should be cold and moist. The adaptability this crop has allow it to grow in diverse ecological zones all over the world making growing buckwheat quite easy.
One of the crucial aspects is when to plant buckwheat? Well, the answer is mid-May to early-June, to retain moisture in the soil. Preparing a good seedbed is the first step of planting buckwheat, as it has fine roots. Most importantly, you need to make sure the seedbed is solidified for rapid plant growth, uniform establishment, uptake of essential nutrients, as to reduce drought injury, and to reduce lodging.
Buckwheat seeds should be sown at a depth of ½ to 1 inch, by using a grain drill. Drilling will get you an even and uniform standard. The rate of planting should be 40-55 lb/ac. Make sure you cover these seeds with dry leaves or soil to prevent birds from eating them.
How To Care For Buckwheat
It is recommended to choose the sunniest site in your garden with good drainage for buckwheat. Also, you can mix organic fertilizer before planting the buckwheat to improve the soil conditions. In this case, the water requirement is only an average amount, so make sure you don’t overwater the crop.
The planting of your buckwheat should have been done after the risk of frosting has passed so there is very little care needed. This is the reason we don’t grow buckwheat when a harsh winter is predicted.
Buckwheat is ready for harvest 8 to 10 weeks after sowing the seeds. It is the time when the grains are mature, and the colour of the seeds has turned to a dark brown.
Now, you should cut their stems as close to the surface of ground as possible The harvesting should start before it gets too hot because buckwheat cannot withstand high temperatures.
Moreover, there are two methods of harvesting buckwheat: windrowing and direct combining. Windrowing is a traditional method for mature gardeners; on the other hand, direct combining is completed in one operation.
Have you taken a bumper crop of buckwheat this year and are stuck for what to do with it all? Here are some recipes you can try!
Tips & Common Problems
Buckwheat is a favourite of tarnished plant bugs, Lygus bugs, and aphids. If you need help protecting your crops from these pests, take a look at this article.
If you have bees, plant some buckwheat, your honey will be rich and darker coloured, buckwheat flowers also attract a wide range of other pollinators and predatory insects, a real boon for your garden.
Buckwheat leaves are sensitive to diseases that can cause fungi ramularia and Rhizoctonia. You might want to keep an extra eye out for these as they could wipe out your whole crop.