Buckwheat is an ancient food plant that has been in use for over 9,000 years; it gives a whole new meaning to the word 'heirloom'. It is an annual warm season crop to 50 cm high. It has some drought tolerance and is frost tender. It germinates in 3 - 4 days, with a soil temperature of 20°C.Sow it 2.5 - 3.5 cm deep. The soil should be moist before sowing but do not over-water, buckwheat doesn't tolerate being waterlogged at any stage of growth. It will grow in a wide range of soils, including infertile ones, with a preferred pH range of 6 - 7.
It has a wide range of uses including:
It makes a useful, fast growing, warm season, green manure that accumulates phosphorus and builds organic matter quickly. Use it as a fill-in between other crops.
The young sprouts can be harvested for salad.
The high protein leaves can be used like spinach.
The seeds are ground for a high-protein, gluten-free flour.
The white flowers attract beneficial insects including hoverflies, lacewings and bees.
Growing as a grain crop:
A buckwheat grain crop requires a temperature during the growing season of between 13°C - 26°C. It takes 8 - 12 weeks from sowing to finished grain. Suitable areas are the cool highlands during summer and autumn to winter in southern Qld.
Growing as a green manure:
Flowering begins 4 weeks from sowing; dig the green manure whilst still flowering. If allowed to set seed it will often self-sow readily. Buckwheat used as a green manure has much wider sowing times than grain crops. In temperate areas sow September - February. In subtropical areas sow any time avoiding frost periods. Intropicalareas other green manures are a better choice.
This seed is unhulled so it is best to sprout these in soil and then snip the tips off as they sprout.