Buckwheat shares with rye and cowpeas the power to make a fairly good
crop on poor land. At the same time, of course, a full crop can be
expected only from fertile land.
The three varieties most grown in America are the common gray, the
silver-hull, and the Japanese. The seeds of the common gray are larger
than the silver-hull, but not so large as the Japanese. The seeds from
the gray variety are generally regarded as inferior to the other two.
This crop is grown to best advantage in climates where the nights are
cool and moist. It matures more quickly than any other grain crop and is
remarkably free from disease. The yield varies from ten to forty bushels
an acre. Buckwheat does not seem to draw plant food heavily from the
soil and can be grown on the same land from year to year.
In fertilizing buckwheat land, green manures and rich nitrogenous
fertilizers should be avoided. These cause such a luxuriant growth that
the stalks lodge badly.
The time of seeding will have to be settled by the height of the land
and by the climate. In northern climates and in high altitudes the
seeding is generally done in May or June. In southern climates and in
low altitudes the planting may wait until July or August. The plant
usually matures in about seventy days. It cannot stand warm weather at
blooming-time, and must always be planted so that it may escape warm
weather in its blooming period and cold weather in its maturing season.
The seeds are commonly broadcasted at an average rate of four pecks to
the acre. If the land is loose and pulverized, it should be rolled.
Buckwheat ripens unevenly and will continue to bloom until frost.
Harvesting usually begins just after the first crop of seeds have
matured. To keep the grains from shattering, the harvesting is best done
during damp or cloudy days or early in the morning while the dew is
still on the grain. The grain should be threshed as soon as it is dry
enough to go through the thresher.
Buckwheat is grown largely for table use. The grain is crushed into a
dark flour that makes most palatable breakfast cakes. The grain,
especially when mixed with corn, is becoming popular for poultry food.
The middlings, which are rich in fats and protein, are prized for dairy
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