How to Plant & Grow Grain Crops

Overview

If you're a bread baker looking for your own grain supply or a backyard farmer wanting to experiment with garden crops, plant and grow grain crops for your garden. Grain crops can be eaten as grain or fed to cattle. Grains like wheat and oats should be planted in the spring for harvest later in the year; gardeners in mild climates like that of the Pacific Northwest can plant another crop of grain in the winter, advises Washington State University.

Step 1

Prepare the garden bed for planting your wheat crop by turning the soil over with a shovel to a depth of 12 inches. Pull out rocks, sticks, weeds and roots from the planting bed.

Step 2

Scatter 2 inches of manure or compost across the garden bed to enrich the soil's nutrient content. Turn the organic material into the ground with your shovel.

Step 3

Rake the soil into an even layer with your rake.

Step 4

Plant your grain seeds following the planting instructions on your grain seed packet, since different types of grain respond well to different planting depths and methods. Oats, the third-most-popular grain, according to Purdue University, should be planted at a depth of 1 inch. Wheat can be scattered over the soil using 3 oz. of wheat seed per 100 square feet, then raked lightly to cover the seed.

Step 5

Water the newly planted grain seeds until the soil becomes moist but not saturated. Continue to water the soil until it becomes moist until the seeds germinate and begin to grow, typically within two weeks.

Step 6

Pull weeds out of the grain garden bed so the seedlings don't have to compete for resources. Discard weeds in the garbage bin.

Step 7

Monitor your grain crop for signs of pest or disease. If you notice discoloration, splotches or evidence of insect pests, contact your local county extension office to obtain a diagnosis and information on how to treat the disease or insect pest.

Step 8

Harvest your grain when it's ready by cutting it down with a sickle. Wheat and oats are ready for harvest when the stalks have turned mostly golden but still have a tiny tinge of green. Allow wheat and oats to dry before separating out the grain from the inedible plant parts.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Manure
  • Rake
  • Grain seeds
  • Water
  • Sickle

References

  • Purdue University: Oats
  • Washington State University: Oat Hay and Straw
  • Bread Info: Planting Wheat in Your Own Backyard
  • Brad Info: Harvesting Backyard Wheat
Keywords: grow oat grain, grow wheat grain, plant grain crops

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.