As the ground warms up, we’ve been excited to start sowing our Spring grain. Most of it was drilled into the field at the end of March, in four sections each with a different variety or mixture of varieties.
We are growing ‘heritage’ wheat varieties, which means those typically grown before industrialised agriculture. Ours were provided by Scotland the Bread after several years of research and harvests has allowed them to grow these at scale once more. These are more adaptable and resilient than modern wheats, more nutritious both for the soil and for us to eat, and most importantly more delicious!
In short, all of these benefits are due to the much greater genetic diversity of these varieties. While of course we would like to have a bumper harvest, it is this diversity which matters more to us. So we are helping it even further: in our most ‘experimental’ plot we have mixed together at least 30 varieties, including a little rye, to create a unique ‘population’ mixture; and included in that is some grain given to us by Torth y Tir in Wales, with countless varieties within it.
This infinite diversity is the aim of future harvests at Blackhaugh Farm: to build and continually re-sow a ‘landrace’ grain population that is adapted to local growing conditions, nutritionally rich, and available for local people to eat, direct from the farm. More on this localising in a later post.
Meanwhile, the wheat is coming up! The first shoots were visible after about 10 days, and now, with a healthy mix of sun and rain, they are thriving into tillers.
But you’ve not missed your chance to get involved. This Sunday 28th come along to the farm 12-3pm and we’ll be sowing the last of our population grain as part of our Spring Open Day. You can hear more about the project, and find out about taking part, as well as enjoying tours of the farm, family activities and some tasty soup and cake!