Oats are an incredibly nutritious food packed with important vitamins which is a good reason to learn how to grow your own!
Oats make up for the dietary fibre and are commonly consumed in rolled or crushed form. This can be processed or turned from scratch in the form of porridge. They even find use in making oat milk and brewing beer. Moreover, they have a thick base for soups and stews, which can substitute rice for fewer calories. Considering so many uses and benefits, learn how to grow oats and harvest them.
Oats need direct sunlight to grow and work well in cool climate from 40-70 F. The soil requirements of the crop is a well-drained and dry, so it should be prepared with proper aeration for plantation. Oats can mature within six to ten weeks post-plantation.
How to Plant Oats
When growing oats at home, sow the oats at a minimum of 6mm depth. You can also use grown seedlings for planting. Choose from annual or perennial varieties depending upon the season of oats plantation. Annual variety of oats can work for spring, whereas perennial germinates in autumn.
Maintain a distance of 25-30 cm while planting oats to give them space to breathe and grow. Keep the distance 45-60 cm if you are growing a larger variety. For the ample growing of oats, pick a location that received full sun. The pH of the soil should be 6-7.5 to be on the slightly acidic side.
How To Care for Oat Plants
Oats require periodical water once they have grown out of the seed. However, oats growing conditions for seeds include 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 in the rainy season.
How to Harvest Oats
Oats are ready to harvest at the height of 2-5 feet. The leaves turning brown and kernels in dough state is a sign for oats 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 the 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.
Tips & Common Problems
Oats attract birds and rodents to munch on the grain. This can affect the total yield and quality of the crop with stunted growth. In humid weather conditions, diseases from fungi can leave patches on the leaves. This turns the leaves and stalks into rust and is 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.