Suitable for Fall planting in zone 5
Triticum monococcum 110 days
This is a spring growth wheat. Also called “Stone Age Wheat” Einkorn, which means “one grain” in German, is one of the oldest cereal crops, dating back to Biblical times. My interest in Einkorn is two fold. One prominent characteristic of ancient wheat varieties is that persons who can not tolerate modern wheat varieties, in many cases can tolerate the ancient wheat, like Emmer, Dinkle and Einkorn. Another aspect of Einkorn is that it grows well in poor soils with minimal water requirements. The drawback is that Einkorn and other ancient wheat varieties ( I am including spelt) are difficult to dehull. I have tried a number of methods with no real success. Specialized equipment does exist but it would be cost prohibitive for a small scale grower. I did learn one interesting possibility from the folks at The BBGS (the Biblical Botanical Garden Society); it was suggested that in Biblical times, the dry grain may have been immersed in water and allowed to swell. The swollen grain would burst the hull and after drying again, the grain could then be easily dehulled. This makes a lot of sense and sounds like an accidental first encounter with beer brewing. I plan to try this method and I will report my findings. I plant my seed in spring around the second week of April. You can broadcast over the soils surface or plant 1/2” deep in rows. This is preferred if you are starting out with a small quantity, hoping to increase your seed stock. My first packet of Einkorn was 35 seeds. I ended up starting them in plug flats in the greenhouse and then transplanting them into the garden. Einkorn is harvested in the summer once the plants begin to dry. The wheat is bundled and brought into the drying shed or greenhouse for a few weeks before threshing. Traditionally this “curing” is done in the field by “shocking” the wheat, but Indiana summers sometimes experience heavy downpours of rain, which could cause mold growth in the seed heads.
This Einkorn strain is facultative. I successfully grew out a fall planted bed (2016) and it did quite well. I now have both a supply of fall planted seed and spring planted seed. Spring planting can be a gamble here in Indiana (we could still have a foot of snow on the ground in late March/early April). Fall planting is better suited to my region. I can not say what the winter hardiness for this Einkorn strain is in areas colder than a zone 5.
*I am offering this seed for the purpose of preservation. Grain fill in my region (northern Indiana) is less than one would expect in areas more suitable to raising spring wheat (cooler and more arid). This variety will need selection and adaptation to improve grain fill, yield and disease resistance in regions with frequent spring/summer rains, humidity and heat.