GrainsEdible Plants

How To Grow Wheat?

wheat

Who hasn’t thought of making their own bread, pasta, pastries, or making their pizza dough from scratch? To go one step further, you can even grow your wheat and make flour from the grains! Do not worry; you don’t need any expensive equipment. So, let us tell you how to grow delicious wheat!

What Types of Wheat Can You Grow?

First, there is winter wheat, which should be planted in the autumn months. It must grow about 4-6 inches before winter comes. Therefore, it is good practice to plant winter wheat 6-8 weeks before the first frost. The roots are going to overwinter and start growing again in spring. This type of wheat has the highest yield of the wheat varieties, and the grains will be ready to harvest in May or July!

Secondly, there is spring wheat, which is, of course, planted in the spring as soon as the ground is easy to work with. Hard red spring wheat is one of the highest protein-content wheat available. Spring wheat is harvested in the fall

If you want to make delicious bread, you should choose hard wheat varieties because they have more gluten in them. Soft wheat is usually good for crackers, biscuits, or pastries.

Before you have already decided what wheat you will grow, let’s investigate what conditions the plant thrives in.

Wheat needs sun and at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. The most important part of growing wheat is knowing whether to grow spring or winter wheat. Ideal conditions for growing wheat are 54-78 °F or 11-25 °F. However, the temperature should not exceed 95 °F or 35 °C. So, if you live somewhere where temperatures rise above 95 °F, you should think about growing winter wheat instead of spring wheat.

growing wheat field
Growing wheat field

Ready To Plant

Wheat should be planted in loamy soil, which is well-drained (wheat does not thrive in poorly drained soils!) You can choose any area of your garden which has direct sunlight. Depending on how much wheat you want to grow, here is a rough estimate – 100 square feet yields about 50 pounds of wheat, which is almost a bushel (60 pounds), from which you can bake 75 loaves of bread.

Planting – throw seeds on the soil where you want your plants to grow. Cover the area with one inch of soil for spring wheat and two inches for winter wheat. Make sure to firm down the soil!

Watering Wheat Plants

Wheat needs about 13-21 inches of rain when it’s growing and does not need any extra water. If you are sure that the plants are dry, try to do the watering in the evening or early in the morning every 2-4 weeks at the base of the plants.

Wheat Fertilizer

Just like with many other plants, you can add fertilizer to make sure you have a good yield. Wheat needs phosphorus for early development but nitrogen for foliage. If you choose to grow winter wheat, it is a good idea to add phosphorus in autumn and nitrogen in the spring after defrosting. Although it is wise to be careful with nitrogen, too much of it can impede the growth of the plant. Some plant nitrogen-dependant plants between wheat rows, such as lettuce. Make sure to use liquid or granular fertilizers at the plant’s base; foliar feeding is not an option for wheat, as it can result in major damage to your crop. 

When To Harvest Wheat? 

Test the grains – pop a grain out of the head and pinch it with your fingernails or crack it with your teeth; the texture should be crunchy and firm. In the case of a soft seed, check the grain again every day until you get a firm one

how to grow wheat
Wheat grains

When ready, you can harvest wheat using a scythe, pruning shears, or a hedge trimmer. Also, in case you do not want to waste the stalks – you can make mulch out of them or even use them as packing material. After harvesting, you should dry the crops in the sun for 7-10 days.

Common problems

Weather – too much rain and high humidity can disturb growth. If you happen to live in a region that can be exposed to a lot of rain, it is a good idea to amend the soil to improve drainage.

  • Pests: stinkbugs – make sure to remove weed plants nearby and use diatomaceous earth on plants and soil. Armyworms eat whole leaves or take big “bites” out of them; they also lay their eggs on leaves, which seem like mold patches. Use Bacillus thuringiensis to get rid of them. Aphids – leaves will start curling and have yellow or white streaks. Apply neem oil or spray the plants with a hose.
  • Disease: Powdery mildew can appear if it is too warm and humid; use liquid copper fungicide or neem oil to prevent it. Against rusts (brown spots on stems and leaves), use liquid copper fungicide or sulfur (might not help in some cases).
  • Wrong timing – right timing can impact the growth of your wheat. For example, if spring wheat is planted too late, it may have lesser yields of grain due to high heat. If you plant winter wheat too late, the plants will not develop enough to survive winter.

Last tips

The question “How to grow wheat?” does not seem so difficult now, does it? Additionally, start with a small patch to ensure you have good conditions to grow wheat in your garden or backyard; that way, it is easier to inspect the growth and make sure you are doing everything correctly. Don’t forget to have fun!