Do you want to grow your own bread? If you do, cheeck out this great blog post on how to grow winter wheat, so that you can grow them too.
At this time of the year I look out onto my roof terrace and it’s hard not to be despondent. Beyond, the snow has already begun to fall onto the Alps and the Jura mountains, the wind has a chill to it and most days are grey with cloud or rain. Winter is firmly here.
My roof terrace isn’t so aesthetically pleasing right now. Well, to be honest it looks a complete mess. The trees are bare, and the shrubs have all died back. Everything else has cover for protection, or it is in need of being pulling up up and put into the wormery. But there is one chink of green within the grey vista – my four pots of winter wheat.
Sometimes, as part of my day job, I write commentary on the financial markets and specifically the grain markets. As far as I was aware, wheat was just like most things; planted in the Spring, harvested in the Autumn. But I was wrong.
It is normal for commercial wheat producers to plant a winter wheat crop. Sometimes this is done for protective purposes, allowing tilled soil to have a layer of cover over the harsh winter, but more often than not wheat is grown for commercial reasons.
And, even here in Switzerland, eight floors up and victim to its first snowfall, it seems to do rather well.
Earlier in the year I started a project which is no doubt going to be a labour of love – I am going to grow my own loaf of bread.
I wanted to do this because I love a challenge, but also because I believe it might bring me a little more respect for the food that I eat. When I go to the supermarket bread is just there. I don’t think about the farmers or the bakers or the other parts of the food-chain in the same way as I do with vegetables and fruit. The wheat in my loaf could be from the Black Sea Region or the US or France or Switzerland or beyond. I really have no idea. But by taking the time to grow my own wheat, learning about the plant as I go along, I should hopefully get a little more respect for the humble foodstuff. Something which is arguably never a bad thing.
I’ve planted two types of wheat, because I honestly have no idea which will better suit the unique conditions of being grown in a pot by a complete novice. Emmer Wheat is a commercially grown grain, and Cham 2 is a bread wheat from Syria. Both were purchased from the lovely and non-GMO Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.
Since they’ve gone into the ground, I’ve done absolutely nothing to assist with their journey from soil to oven. In fact, after a rather tense two-week period with absolutely no germination, the plants popped their head above ground and then continued to grow at a rate of knots.
I expect to harvest the wheat in April sometime, before separating the wheat from the chaff, and grinding the berries into flour. That may sound like a long time, but I neglected to mention one major flaw in the plan; I don’t know how to bake bread. Well, I have the rest of the winter wheat season to swot up! Wish me luck.
So, have you decided to grow your own bread now?
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