Cultivated in China since prehistoric times, proso millet is a warm-season variety of grass that is grown for its nutritious seeds. The stems are sometimes cut for hay. Millet seeds are used as animal feed, in bird food mixes and for human consumption.
Because it matures in as little as 60 days, proso millet is sometimes planted where another crop has failed or unfavorable weather conditions have delayed planting until too late in the season for the original crop to mature. Proso millet is a prolific self-seeder and can become an invasive weed in agricultural fields of corn or barley.
Choose a site in full sun that has well-drained loamy soil. Proso millet does not grow well in wet, heavy soils or coarse, sandy soils.
Prepare the planting site. Beginning in early spring, plow and cultivate to control weeds to keep the planting bed weed-free until the soil warms up to at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Plant millet seeds in anytime from late May to mid July, depending on your location. At planting time, turn the soil over with a rototiller or by hand with a garden spade. Rake the soil smooth with a garden rake. Firm up the soil in the planting bed by rolling over it with a grass seed roller.
Sow seeds about 1 inch deep and 1inch apart in rows eight to 12 inches apart. Lightly firm the soil over the seeds.
Water the seedbed with a hand watering can. Check daily and water as needed to keep the ground moist until germination occurs in about 7-10 to days. Thereafter, provide with the equivalent of 1 inch of rainfall per week. Proso millet will not tolerate drought.
Thin proso millet seedlings when they are about 2 inches high so they stand 4-6 inches apart.
Fertilize with granulated fertilizer. Spread the granules in the seedbed following the manufacturer's recommended rate of application.
Put down a 4-inch layer of hay or straw on the seedbed to control weeds.