Do You Want To Grow Ancient Grains? Here’s My Gardener’s Guide to Growing Nutritious Ancient Grains

Tired of the same old breakfast cereals, wheat and oats? Then explore the fascinating world of ancient grains, brimming with flavour, history, and a treasure trove of “health benefits”! Here’s a quick guide to some amazing options you can grow right in your own garden:

Chia seeds: Think beyond the chia pudding! These tiny black seeds allegedely boast omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fibre, making them a nutritional powerhouse. I’m extremely wary of these superfood claims .. but many of them are tasty if not superfoods!

Ancient Grains for growing in UK gardens

They thrive in well-drained soil and mild climates, offering beautiful purple flowers and attracting pollinators. Bonus: They’re incredibly easy to grow and harvest!

Quinoa: I’ve written about quinoa before. This protein-packed pseudocereal (it’s technically a seed related to spinach!) is gluten-free and versatile, perfect for salads, pilafs, and even porridge. Quinoa prefers cool weather and well-drained soil, rewarding you with golden-hued seed heads that burst with edible goodness.

Millet: A millet a day keeps the doctor away? Ohh yeah. I doubt it. But this tiny grain is allegedly rich in B vitamins, magnesium, and phosphorus. It’s drought-tolerant and thrives in sandy soils, making it a champion for hot and dry regions. Millet’s feathery seed heads add a delicate touch to your garden. In my book that makes it an edimental.

Barley: Not just for beer! Barley is a versatile grain, perfect for soups, stews, and even bread. It’s cold-hardy and adaptable to various soil conditions, making it a reliable choice for many gardeners. Bonus: Barley straw makes excellent mulch!

Bulgur: It’s not the same as cracked wheat, but bulgur cooks quickly and offers a nutty flavour and chewy texture. It’s apparently a good source of fibre, iron, and manganese. Bulgur prefers well-drained soil and full sun, rewarding you with golden wheat heads.

Rye: This robust grain adds a tangy twist to bread and baked goods. Rye is winter-hardy and tolerates poor soil conditions, making it ideal for colder climates. Its tall stalks and blue-green foliage add a striking element to your garden.

Buckwheat: Don’t let the name fool you – buckwheat is a gluten-free pseudocereal related to sorrel! It’s fast-growing and thrives in cool weather (but isnt frost hardy). It has delicate white flowers and triangular seeds. Buckwheat is known for its soil-enriching properties, making it a great rotational crop that can be used to control wireworm.

Amaranth: This ancient grain is a complete protein source, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids! Amaranth is heat-tolerant and adaptable to various soil conditions, producing beautiful red or purple seed heads. Bonus: Amaranth leaves are colourful in salads as well as being delicious and nutritious!

Sorghum: This tall grain thrives in hot and dry climates and is resistant to pests and diseases. Sorghum seeds are gluten-free and allegedly packed with protein, fibre, and antioxidants. Its feathery seed heads add a unique texture to your garden.

Teff: This tiny Ethiopian grain is gluten-free and boasts an impressive iron content. Teff prefers warm weather and well-drained soil, rewarding you with delicate white flowers and millet-like seeds. Its fine texture makes it ideal for injera bread.

Spelt: An ancient wheat variety, spelt is lower in gluten than modern wheat and easier to digest for some people. It’s cold-hardy and adaptable to various soil conditions, producing plump, golden grains. Bonus: Spelt straw makes excellent bedding for animals!

Flax seeds and Linseeds: These tiny golden seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, and lignans. Flax thrives in cool climates and well-drained soil, offering delicate blue flowers. Both flax seeds and linseeds are interchangeable and can be used for oil, ground into meal, or sprinkled on cereals. The china blue flowers can be seen in the morning but fade by noon.

Remember, every grain has its own unique needs and preferences. Research the varieties you’re interested in and adjust your planting methods accordingly. With a little effort, you can reap the rewards of growing your own ancient grains, adding both diversity and deliciousness to your table!

Tag: Ancient Grains

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