Oats are an incredibly nutritious food packed with important vitamins which is a good reason to learn how to grow your own!
Oats are chock full of dietary fibre and are commonly consumed in rolled or crushed form. They can be processed or turned from scratch into porridge.
There are even more uses in making oat milk and brewing beer. They also have a thick base for soups and stews, which can substitute rice for fewer calories.
Oats need direct sunlight to grow and even work well in cooler climate from 5-20°C. The soil requirements of oat crops is a well-drained and dry base, so it should be prepared with proper aeration for plantation.
How to Plant Oats
When growing oats at home, sow the oats at a minimum of 2.5 inches in depth. You can also use grown seedlings for planting for quicker harvesting.
Choose from annual or perennial varieties depending upon the season. Annual varieties of oats can work for spring, whereas perennial varieties germinate in the autumn.
Try to maintain a distance of 10-12 inches when planting oats to give them space to breathe and grow. Keep a distance of 18-24 inches if you are growing a larger variety. For most efficient growing of oat plants, pick a location that receives direct sunlight..
How To Care for Oat Plants
Oats require periodical watering once they have grown out of the seed. However, young oat plants need regular watering and manure-rich soil.
This enables the oats to retain moisture and grow well. If you have planted oats outside, you may not need to water it as much if you live in a wetter climate.
The pH of the soil should be 6-7.5, so slightly on the acidic side and there are many different ways you can achieve this, naturally or through the use of chemicals.
How to Harvest Oats
Oats are ready to harvest at a height of 2-5 feet. The leaves turning brown and kernels in a doughy state is a good sign for oat harvesting. You can check this by squeezing the oats and see if there is any milky fluid coming out. Make sure you harvest the oats before the dead ripe stage of hard kernels.
For harvesting, cut seeds from the stalks along the length or just below the seeds. The latter will reduce the stem length while threshing, you can use a knife or a sharp sickle for easy cutting.
After harvesting, let the seeds cure for a few weeks. They need a warm and dry atmosphere to cure for threshing. Threshing is done by various methods like beating, stomping the stems, or machine threshers. Store the seeds in an air-tight container after harvesting to preserve their texture.
When all this is done and you have oats waiting to be used, why not try some of these recipes? They look delicious!
Tips & Common Problems
Oats attract birds and rodents that like to munch on the grains. This can affect your total yield and quality of crop dramatically with stunted growth.
In humid weather conditions, disease from fungi can leave patches on the leaves. This turns the leaves and stalks rusty and not fit for harvesting. You can use a fungicide to discourage fungal activity. Just make sure to avoid spraying it right before the harvest time.
Oats have a difficult time growing properly and thriving if they’re grown in a weed-infested environment, so get in there and make the area spotless for your new crops.
If you have any animals, you can put the discarded stalks in your barn stalls or pens and use them for bedding, they work great and there is less wasted.