Buckwheat

Fagopyrum esculentumbuckwheat seed 1000 by 750Buckwheat is used extensively as a summer cover crop on our farm. It is easy to establish and matures quickly. There have been years when three crops were grown in succession. Buckwheat readily self sows. If you want to attract honey bees and other beneficial insects, establish a nice plot of buckwheat. The grain is easily harvested and used for buckwheat flour.  Broadcast seed by hand over prepared beds or fields. There is no need to cover or “drill” the seed. A little rain or irrigation will quickly germinate the seed. Sow in the spring after all danger of frost has passed. You can successfully plant buckwheat anytime during the summer up until the end of August/early September. Buckwheat is a tender annual and is quickly killed by frost. Buckwheat seed heads do not mature all at the same time, like wheat and rye, so watch until approximately 3/4 of the seed head is ripe, then you can harvest. When ripe, the buckwheat seed will turn from green to brown and become very hard. Use a grain sickle to cut the tender, green stalks. The buckwheat is then brought into the drying shed or greenhouse to completely dry. This takes about 3-4 weeks and then thresh the grain. This can be done by hand with a pillowcase and flail method or mechanically with a threshing machine. We use a treadle powered thresher for most of our grains.

Buckwheat as a cover crop.

Buckwheat as a cover crop.

Seedhead

Seedhead

Buckwheat drying

Buckwheat drying