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Growing Grains Locally

Everyone I know that has tried or thought of trying the 100-mile diet has wondered where to get grains – for breads, cereal etc; and inadvertently stumbled on this issue of locally grown grains. As I’ve written before, we are signed up on this list for a Grain CSA out of Creston, BC this summer, but I was also curious as to how the local Castlegar summer and soil would handle some grains.

Salt Spring Seeds - Red Fife Wheat

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The seeds for this trial have been sourced from Dan at Salt Spring Seeds, and as you can see from the above image, we’ve got Kamut, Oats, Red Fife Wheat, and Amaranth.

We have a good sized lot here, with a lot of grass. My thinking for this year though is to grow a small test plot of some of these varieties. and see where we go from there.  If in the future we wanted to convert larger sections of lawn to grains, at least we’ll have some idea of what to expect!

Below is an image of the area I cleared on Saturday with a little help from our five year old daughter. (I really should have taken a before and after shot!). It’s about 6sqm, or 60 sqf of easily irrigated soil. I didn’t add much to the soil, just a wheel barrow full of compost. As I said, it’s a trial, and I don’t know of anyone else in Castlegar growing grains at this stage – there may be a really good reason for that!

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You never know, we might have enough for a batch of pancakes and a loaf of bread!

Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.