“Knee high by the fourth of July” is a farmer’s refrain south of the 49th Parallel – predicting a healthy crop of grain.
So waist high by the 7th of July is looking pretty good up here at 64 degrees north!
Inspired by Miche Genest’s post “Back Yard Grain Growing in the Yukon – the Logical Next Step”and Kokopellie Farm’s success in growing grain in Dawson, I decided to give back yard grain growing a try. My experience last Fall taught me that hulling grain is no easy feat. In fact sometimes, as is the case for oats and buckwheat, it is virtually impossible for a home gardener. Therefore I was thrilled that Salt Spring Seeds carries hulless varieties of grain. After consulting owner Dan Jason, I decided to try Faust Barley (hulless) and Streaker Hulless Oats. And look how well they are doing!
Gardening has never come easily to me. I struggle to grow brassicas while the local farmers produce them in abundance. This year I decided to try my luck growing edibles that are not so easily found at our local Farmers Market. My raised beds are hosting oats, barley, amaranth, Tom Thumb popping corn and onions. The onions are not looking so good but, so far, the rest seem to be growing well.
With the idiosyncrasies of our short growing season, grains have often been difficult to grow in the North. Perhaps as a result of climate change, perhaps due to hardier cultivars, it seems that in the past few years growing grain is becoming more feasible. So it is a good time test out the possibilities of back yard grain growing in the Yukon! Fingers crossed that local barley and local breakfast oats will be on the menu in our house next year.