Heritage and Heirloom Organic Seed Catalog : Salt Spring Seeds

Wheat Seeds (Triticum spp.)

Grains are a surprisingly easy and very rewarding crop for home gardeners. They can be planted as early as the ground can be worked in spring. Here in coastal British Columbia (zones 7-9), October or November sowings also produce excellent results. Late fall or early spring plantings are harvested before August, opening possibilities for mid-summer sowings of other crops.

Grains tend to "lodge" or fall over in very fertile earth, so you can plant them in your less enriched areas. To first-time growers I recommend sowing grains an inch or so apart in rows. After a season of multiplying them, planting in blocks works well. Lightly cover the seed with soil and put out a scarecrow if birds are raiding.

Harvest ripe seed when the plants have dried down completely. Pick or cut individual heads and thresh by hand or foot rubbing. I use a simple wooden threshing box that is 3 feet by 4 feet by 1 foot high with some thin slats screwed onto the inside bottom for extra abrasion. A foot shuffle over the hard grains removes the chaff from the kernels. I then use a nozzle attachment on my air compressor to quickly clean the seed. Fanning, screening and winnowing work too.

Few people realize that wheat can be sprouted or cooked as the whole wheat "berries" they are. In fact, these delicious ways of eating wheat provide much more nutritional benefit than consuming it as bread or pasta.

Your homegrown wheat will cook up in about an hour at a low simmer.

Try soaking kamut (or other wheat) kernels overnight, draining and then rinsing them twice daily for two or three days. At this stage of early sprouting, they seem to be just bursting with goodness and are wonderful with salads or soups.

Saving your own seed: Grain cultivars don't cross, so saving seed for planting is simply a matter of not eating all the harvest.

Packets of all the grains listed below contain one tablespoon or 300+ seeds.

We are currently offering 12 varieties of Wheat Seeds (Triticum spp.).

'Harvest' Hard Red Spring Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) ($3.50)

Strong plants, dependable, high-yielding, and resistant to pre-harvest sprouting. (Cultivar developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Cereal Research Centre, and released in 2001.) Grown by Knoth Farm on Salt Spring Island.

Alaska Spelt ($3.50)

High yields. 5 feet. Not hulless.

Chinook Wheat ($3.50)

Introduced in 1952 by Agriculture Canada. Grows to 6 feet, producing high yields. Bug resistant.

Egyptian Wheat ($3.50)

Early maturing bread wheat with light brown kernels. High yielding. Excellent cooked as a whole grain.

Kamut/Khorasan Wheat (Triticum turgidum spp. turanicum) ($3.50)

Has a very beautiful, silvery blue seedhead as well as a characteristic gooseneck wave in its stalk. The kernels are twice the size of regular wheat. Kamut contains 29% more protein and 27% more lipids than common wheat. It measures much higher in vitamins and minerals. As a cooked whole grain, it has a rich corn-like flavour.

Red Fife (Triticum spp.) ($3.50)

Early hard red spring wheat. Very famous Canadian heirloom, becoming popular again because of its great flavour. Sow early spring or Sept/Oct on the coast.

Tibetan Flour Wheat ($3.50)

Wheat used in the making of traditional Tibetan foods such as Tsampa or Tsamba. The whole grain is roasted and then finely milled for flour. The flour is then mixed with ghee (or oil), sprinkled with salt and black tea slowly added until it is a consistency of firm dough. Walnut-sized balls or dumplings are made and eaten with any veggie dish or just as is with a cup of tea.

Timopheevi (Triticum timopheevi) ($3.50)

Long season spelt-like wheat from Russia, which is especially resistant to disease. Also known as Sanduri Wheat.

Utrecht Blue Wheat ($3.50)

A very striking and ornamental wheat that usually grows to about 5 feet. Difficult to thresh.

Vavilov ($3.50)

Named after the famous Russian plant scientist and explorer. Heads have a beautiful fat flame-like shape. Kernel colour can vary from light gold to dark brown. Delicious eaten as a whole grain.(Believed to originate from Afghanistan.)

White Sonora Wheat ($3.50)

Grown in northwest Mexico since around 1770. Soft white wheat with mostly awnless, compact, medium-long heads. This Land Race wheat has done very well for us for 10 years now.

Bue Tinge Ethiopian Emmer ($3.50)

(Triticum dicoccum) I brought two seedheads of this wheat back from Ethiopia in 1993 and I have since mailed out many hundreds of packets around the world. It has become a commercial crop in California. It grows to 4 feet high, matures in about 90 days and has an unusual pretty blue cast to both seedheads and seeds. Easy to thresh and delicious cooked as a whole grain. As well, it makes the best sprouted wheat berries I have ever tried. Consistently gives great yields.