[permaculture] Need plant variety ID
Marimike6 at cs.com
Marimike6 at cs.com
Mon Sep 4 11:06:30 EDT 2006
Lawrence-- The seed head shown in your millet1.jpg looks large to me. If you
have a lot of these plants I would say it's something productive to encourage
in any spare land you aren't using for crops. My guess would be white proso,
which is much preferred by birds to the red proso, which has larger seeds but
apparently is not as tasty. I suspect the red variety is just added so the mix
looks prettier to bird fanciers. The birds all seem to leave it behind.
Just guessing, but if you wanted to remove the hulls you could try gently
abrading the separated seeds after sun drying them, so that the chaff comes off--
then blow it away. Either a metate (large mortar and pestle) or in a pinch
two squares of ply wood ought to do it. Use a light touch so you don't mash the
hulls into the kernels.
If you want to encourage another wild grain that ought to grow well in your
soil, try amaranth. Extremely high protein content (16-23%), it was relied on
by the pre-Columbian Aztecs as a meat substitute. You might recall they had no
meat animals, and supported large, healthy populations on amaranth and
insects. Curiously they never utilized their seafood resources, having been scared
off by the incidence of red tide in those latitudes. They apparently never
learned to distinguish the toxic blooms, and came to believe all seafood was
Here's some good lore on amaranth:
Particularly interesting is that some varieties are grown for their leafy
greens rather than just for the seed heads. And this is also a beautiful crop
just to have in field or garden, to admire until harvesting.
With both plants it would probably be a good idea to look into how resistant
the stored grain is to mold, rust and smut. I would keep it in the fridge once
ground into meal, to avoid getting occasional spells of St Vitus Dance.
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