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February 28, 2012

Growing Small Grains in Florida - Update

Late January I seeded some Flax and Barley as an experiment on growing small grains in Florida. This was my first time ever trying to grow these unusual vegetables. With little to lose I devoted about forty square feet of my garden to these grains. To my surprise and pleasure, both are doing extremely well so far. Here's flax:



Flax is an interesting plant. It is very upright and grows in a small footprint leaving a rosette of leaves behind. I think it is ready to set buds and flowers, at least that's how it looks to me from this close-up. Granted, it takes about three months to get to harvest, and we are only at the end of month one.


Here's the wall of barley. Another sturdy plant, it likes moisture and cool temperatures. The ones at the south edge of the bed are yellowing out a bit, but the rest are doing pretty well.


I also threw down a handful of bird-seed mix. I did not bother to remove the sunflower seeds from the mix and was punished for my laziness. Sunflowers overpowered every other plant in the mix, so now I basically have just a sunflower crop. But that is not a big issue, I will see how these sunflowers produce. I read somewhere that people who have bird feeders always have "free" sunflowers growing. That is not a bad problem to have.


In any event, even though it is not a tradition to grow grains in Florida, it might work on a small scale to produce organic low-gluten grain for food, as well as good compost material from their leaves and stems.

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