Buckwheat





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

cows.





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