It’s Not as Difficult as You Think: How to Grow Grains in Your Own Backyard

by | Nov 13, 2018 | Headline News | 29 comments

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    This article was originally published by Ellaine Castillo at

    Grain is one of the most common food groups, but unlike fruits and vegetables, it is rarely a part of home gardens. Many people believe that growing this crop is difficult, so they prefer to just buy it. However, this might not be a very good idea. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, farmers apply large amounts of harmful pesticides to grains, especially in developed countries. Based on this, it’s possible that you are introducing residues of these toxic substances to your body when eating store-bought cereals. To make sure that the food you consume is safe, it is still best to plant them by yourself. Although it might be a bit more difficult to plant grains compared to other crops, it’s not as hard as most people think and it can be done given enough information.

    Grains serve as good sources of nutrients, such as carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fibers, that are needed to keep the body healthy. People who eat this crop also lower their risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. All these benefits are very encouraging reasons to start planting grains.

    Most people associate grains with large fields but the truth is you just need a little patch of land to begin. Although there are many types of grains, the general workflow for starting them is the same for all. The first step is to work the soil into the seedbed. You can then proceed to spread the seeds over this area. The next step is to rake the soil so that the seeds can be pushed into the ground. Afterward, place two to four inches of straw on top of the seedbed to preserve moisture and prevent weeds from.

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    The main differences between the various types of grain are when they are planted and harvested. Some of the most common grains are listed below, along with important information regarding them. (Related: Whole grains can increase your lifespan, decrease diabetes, heart disease risk and more.)

    • Wheat — Wheat can be further divided into the winter or spring varieties. You can start planting winter wheat in the fall so that it can develop over winter and be harvested in spring. Meanwhile, the spring variety should be started at the beginning of growing season so they can be harvested late into the summer. The hard red wheat variety, which can grow in either season, is known for its use in baking.
    • Barley — This cereal can be planted either during spring or fall so that it can be harvested later into the season. Although it’s easy to plant barley, processing it can be difficult because of its tough exterior. After processing, this crop can be added to soups and casseroles or it can also be milled into a low-gluten flour.
    • Corn –– For corn to grow, it needs to be planted during a hot season. This crop might need more patience compared to other grains since it takes longer for it to grow. You can opt to plant either sweet corn or dry corn depending on if you want corn on the cob or flour, respectively. It is also okay to plant both varieties at the same time as long as they are far away from each other since they have the tendency to pollinate with each other.
    • Oats — This type of grain prefers a cooler climate so it can be planted in early spring for colder regions and in the fall for warmer places. To make processing easier, choose varieties that do not have a tough cover. Oats are good crops to plant because of their superfood status. They are rich in proteins and have low carbohydrate content.

    With so many types of grain available, you can choose the perfect grain for you. Start planting these crops in your home garden and in a few months, you will be able to enjoy the health benefits of your harvest.

    Sources include:


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      1. Just be sure to NOT use monsanto frankengrain! Use hierloom (reproduceable) seed. I read that almost ALL kids cereals are frankengrain with glycophosphate (roundup). Ya keep on eating that shit….

      2. This article is bullshit.

        You cannot grow enough grain in your back yard to feed yourself. Youd be better off growing potatoes, which have a much higher yield per acre.

        DO NOT waste space in your yard growing grains, youll get a yield so low, youll wish youd grown something else.

        Its obvious elaine (article author) hasnt spent much time on the farm. She hasnt a clue…….

      3. Keep a camera on your crop.

        Some anti-organic people coordinated with church managers at community gardens in Santa Rosa in about 2007, to rip out people’s organic wheat crops.

        That happened to my organic wheat crop in 2007 or 2008. The Garden coordinator & church manager knew about it, and facilitated it.

        Normally that kind of vandalism would be reported to the police. The sell-out church manager’s name was Karen Lehman – also a DJ in Santa Rosa.

        Monsanto or somebody big was quite desperate to stop organic wheat from being grown.

        It was not ordinary vandalism. The area where I was growing the organic wheat was 100% stripped clean. Most vandals are not so obsessive.

      4. It would be good to know how much to plant to get a useful yield. I looked at a few farm websites but they are figuring on a per acre basis. It will take a bit more investigation to discover what a backyard grain planting should be.

        Great topic.

        • Hi Yahooie,
          There was a thing a few years ago in the uk about “growing a loaf” and we did it. We bought a bag of organic spring wheat from a local farmer, made a 4′ x 4′ bed and planted about 500 seeds (i think) about 1and a half inches apart. It grew about 3and a half feet high with the seed heads. We waited for it to go brown and cut it down with scissors. We tied it in bundles and stood it in buckets to dry out. We
          put a bundle in a pillowcase and bashed the seeds out on the back of a chair. We got the seeds out and we had got 1lb 9oz. We bought a hand operated grinder, ground the wheat seeds and made a loaf. It was very thick bread and quite chewy and tasted different to the Hovis or Warburtons wholemeal loaf that we’normally buy.

          • Scouser, thanks for the insight. I think I’ll need a lot more garden than I currently have to grow more than a loaf at a time. It would be an interesting experiment though.

          • Scouser, you said you grew the grains in the UK… well, we live in the US and grains require a cool climate– like the UK.

      5. Plant corn in hot weather??? I did that here in Ticson and it grew anout six inches…then died

      6. Sure,
        Its easy to grow them,
        But can you get a decent harvest????
        Theres a lot of variables, ive tried many times

      7. We have grown organic soft winter wheat, two years ago, and oats this year with hard winter wheat already growing for next year. The last two years the yield for the prior years was about 13 quarts for a circular area that is 16 feet in diameter, or about 75 Bushels/Acre. The 10 year average in Kansas is about 41 as a point of comparison. The last two years I used 4 oz of seed. I read up on the subject and it indicated that for fertile/irrigated land, over 100 Bushels/Acre is possible with a seeding rate higher than what I used. So, this year I had access to and thus used 8 oz of seed for next year’s crop. It will be interesting to see if the yields go up or stay the same?

        We use the frame pool space that we have up from late July to Mid-Sept. It was wasted space most of the year otherwise, so I said what the heck. Basically, we plant in Mid-Oct and harvest Late-July so now something is always going on in that space all year long. The grain is also very attractive, especially when it turns a golden color and the heads begin to bend over.

        The climate in Western Washington seems to be well suited for wheat as mild winters, early springs enable regular grass to grow really well here normally without any additional water right up to Mid-June and then begins to dry out around Mid-July and August which is usually very dry and hot. This natural cycle seems to be perfect for maximizing growth without irrigation but still allowing the grain to dry before harvest.

        As far as the crop is concerned, its really easy to plant, requires no attention/added water while growing, but takes a little more effort to harvest manually lb for lb, than say head of cabbage. Basically, you snip off the heads, put them in 5 gallon bucket. To this bucket add a ¼” diameter rod centered in bearing block at the bottom of the bucket with some welded chain on the end of rod and spin away using a drill motor. Basically, a DIY thresher the beats the seeds out of the wheat heads. Follow that up with a box fan for winnowing and you have yourself about twenty loaves of bread, perhaps more depending on how next year goes. We then weed whack the stand followed by the lawn mower to chop up the wheat straw still further and then till it back in for next years crop that we plant Mid-October.

        It’s still a lot of work to do all the above manually, but there is something very primal about seeing the various stages of the wheat growing throughout the year and then threshing/winnowing it that is hard to describe. Plus you get lots of free exercise.

      8. How much area would you have to plant to grow enough wheat for a loaf of bread? Consider that roughly 10 square feet – about the size of the average kitchen table – will produce about a pound of wheat, which makes a pound of flour; and 1 cup of sifted flour weighs about 4 ounces; and a small loaf of bread can be made with 4 cups of flour. So that kitchen-table-size plot should grow enough for a loaf of bread.

        ht tp://

      9. Growing corn had some limited success.

        I buy most of my grains from bob’s red mill (out of Oregon). Everything is tested and no GMOs at all. Large variety of ancient grains, organic, and gluten free. The 1 for 1 gluten-free flour is very good and thoroughly tested and processed on machinery that is dedicated to gluten free grains only.

        Some items sold in bulk. Some are not.

        Bob’s motto is “people before profit”. Bob had profit sharing with his employees. He died and left the company to the employees.


        • Did he die eating his own products containing fortified synthetic folic acid?

          Some of their fortified products are downright dangerous, no one needs 100,000% of any nutrient.

          Why do people destroy their livers?

          • Bert:
            He was old.
            I have never bought fortified to my knowledge but will look into it.


      10. No mention of Amaranth or Quinoa? Both can be grown for both their greens, and for their grain at the end of the season. I’ve found in the desert south west, Amaranth loves loves loves the heat. Getting ready to try Quinoa now that it’s cooled off a bit.

        • Suzanne,
          Amaranth and quinoa are about the only two grains ive had decent luck growing, perhaps because they both are grown in lower lattitudes, regular grains are susceptible to molds, birds etc, ive yet to get a decent harvest of wheat or oats, but the amaranth and quinoa both will produce more per sf than any other grain and can be productive in small plantings. The birds dont seem to bother it as much. With the oats, its a good green manure for building organic matter but the birds get it all before its mature. Same with wheat or upland rice. Even netting it is ineffective as generally the heads are completely mildewed with the moisture we have.

      11. corn is a heavy feeder, you need to keep your corn patch soil well amended.

        silver queen is a good one to grow for fresh eating, canning or freezing. it’s not heirloom tho.

        a good heirloom for grinding is Stowells Evergreen.
        ht tps://

        as always, do a little experimenting/research for your growing area.

        i grow corn every year, alternating between the canning and the grinding.

        lots of variables for getting a good crop in. every year we have a whopper of a wind storm in July. flattens my corn patch every time. silver queen does a good job of recovering and producing. 🙂

      12. Cheaper to buy quality real food and only takes me 26 hours time shopping a year.

        Like the idiots that spend thousands on their gardening, and producing less than $50 of produce.

        If the system collapses, your also as good as dead even with your field of grain or a cellar full of 100 year shelflife food. Think of the movies the Purge, but then it would be forever. I don’t care how much shit you got growing or stocked up, it will all be stolen at gun point, even if you had an Army of men to protect it.

        What’s next, another story touting getting your bugout bag ready? BAHAHAHA

        • My grandparents, uncles & aunts will be interested to learn that supplying all of their nutritional needs off of their own land is impossible. Never mind that they did just that their entire lives. Catfish pond, pigs, a cow or two, smokehouse, garden, water well – all on 5 acres or so. Not only did they not get shot over it, they all lived into their 90’s.
          Thank you for your very informed opinion.

          • ???
            Right on Stuart,
            I actually know quite a few people who provide ALL their own food, through gardens and fruit trees and hunting orblivestock, it takes work, but i suspect a naysayer such as burt doesnt really want to work

          • Stuart, that is my heritage as well. My great-grandparents had a farm and did not lack for anything. I spent a summer on that farm when a great uncle and aunt were running it. I was kept quite busy feeding the chickens, gathering eggs and assorted other tasks suited to a 10 yr old. The food was good and I wasn’t bored so hated to leave at summer’s end.

        • Yes, with the morals that we are witnessing now, death and destruction after SHTF will probably be very much a reality. However, stupid people who do not plan, will more than likely be among the first to leave this world. Armed gangs WILL start to lose members, even if they win their raids/attacks.

          It is not society as a whole that worries me.. it is people like you that causes me concern. Hope and optimism, while not producing food, does produce far more. What you are saying is that there is no hope for any good people to survive, so they may as well quit prepping and just enjoy what little time is left. Well, just like Christmas, prepping is done for the very young and the very old. I may not live to see tomorrow, but I would like to be somewhat optimistic that my grandchildren will have a chance to be a part of a brand new world.

          I feel sorry for you. You are the type of person that can only contribute negatively to society, and feel best when you belittle others. You are SUCH a big man! If only you had common sense, or the decency to allow others to enjoy the comradery that this site, and others like it, provides.

          If you won’t grow up, at least grow some balls and shut the hell up.

        • Bert:

          “Like the idiots that spend thousands on their gardens and only get $50.00 worth of produce.”

          That would be idiotic.

          But nobody does that.

          I spend $25.00 for a fruit or nut tree. Put in $5.00 worth of planting soil and rootblast fertilizer. Water it for three more years and get thirty years of food for free.

          You don’t know what you’re talking about.


        • Bert
          That is one of the most stupid posts I believe I have read. The people that think like you are a large part of the problem, yet you feel you need to show how smart you are……that’s comical. You just sit down and relax if the system fails, Big Brother will be along with a food delivery…BUWAHAHAHAHAHA.

      13. I planted wheat in my city garden in a 24 X 20 foot plot several years ago and got what I would call an average yield. Got about two quarts of grain which was not worth the effort. As mentioned in other rely posts grow potatoes which give a much better yield. I grew up on the farm so though would try as experiment but woun’t do it again as you need more land. Sure looked nice blowing in the wind!!

      14. When shtf Bert,stay away from my door

      15. I have Einkorn wheat (an old type) on my get list thought I’d like to plant a patch of it and process it for bread. I also have been planting Hickory Cain corn the last few years it’s a heritage dent white corn native to KY, TN makes great hominy good for grinding and makes great critter feed.

      16. Don’t forget about the millet family of grains. They are easy to grow and heavy producers. Take a look at pearl millet.

      17. Attrition will take care of our friend “Bert” and his commrades and it will not be a long process. When the dust settles, most of the idiots will have been attritionized by one means or another. The population of whiners and leeches will be much reduced. A lot of them will just sit and wait to be “rescued” and die in place.

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