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In The Garden…Growing Buckwheat

SchneiderPeeps - Growing Buckwheat - for a cover crop. for bees and for seed

One of the things we are experimenting with this year is growing buckwheat. Buckwheat is super versatile and can be grown as a weed suppressor and cover crop or for seeds and for the bees. Buckwheat is pretty great in that it likes warm weather unlike other cover crops, like rye, and it does well in poor soil.

We sprinkled buckwheat seed in almost all of our tomato beds to grow as a weed suppressor. It worked great. However, I did not realize just how fast buckwheat grows and it overtook a few of our tomato plants. Next time I will let the tomato plants get well established before planting buckwheat in the beds.

We let them all go to seed, I just couldn’t bear cutting all those flowers that the bees were loving. When the seeds were ready, I cut them all the way to the ground. I laid the stalks with the seeds on a sheet on our tampoline to dry out for a few days. As we’re cleaning out our summer garden we are laying those stalks in the beds and letting the seeds sprout. We will turn these plants into the soil before the plants flower and them decompose before we plant our fall garden.

Buckwheat flowersThis is what the buckwheat looked like when the plants first started setting seeds.

buckwheat ready to harvestThis is right before we harvested the buckwheat. As you can see, it’s pretty thick.

Here are some other things I’ve learned about growing buckwheat…

  • Broadcast seeds at the rate of one cup per 100sq feet or 1 pound for 300-500 sq feet
  • Keep ground moist until germination – about a week
  • After germination, buckwheat does not require much water
  • Can be sown all the way through late summer but frost will kill buckwheat
  • In zones with long growing seasons (zones 8 and 9) you can get multiple plantings and harvests.
  • If using as a cover crop, turn the plants into the soil when they are about 8″ tall
  • Buckwheat grow to about 3′ tall
  • Bees love the blooms, as do other beneficial insects such as lady bugs and parasitic wasps
  • Can grow even in poor or acidic soil
  • There doesn’t seem to be any pests that bother buckwheat
  • Give buckwheat that has been turned into the soil about 2 weeks to decompose before planting your fall crop
  • Turning buckwheat into the soil will help loosen up clay soil

I’m really excited about using buckwheat in the garden. Do you use is it? What tips do you have for us? 

SchneiderPeeps - The Gardening NotebookYou can find all kinds of information on growing fruits and vegetables
and keeping your garden organized in The Gardening Notebook.

This post is shared at Homestead Barn HopThe Backyard Farming Connection, Garden Party Tuesday, The HomeAcre Hop, Green Thumb Thursday,  Home and Garden Thursday, Simple Lives ThursdayDIY Linky,  From the Farm,


Thanks for sharing with your friends!

mike burnham

Friday 30th of June 2017

what about deer rabbits doves would b unhealthy for them just planted 50# bag

Angi Schneider

Saturday 1st of July 2017

Wow! That's a lot of buckwheat. The animals will be just fine, although they will probably eat some of your buckwheat.

Ann Marie Mones

Sunday 7th of September 2014

Angi- I am so glad you posted this and for all the follow up posts from people. I eat buckwheat pancakes, and a few other things with it in the mix. I'll be getting a small farm when I retire in 3 years 3 months and 23 days. Growing buckwheat had been on my list of what I wanted to do, but now I need to research more. I don't want anything on the farm that could harm the animals. Thanks for your post!

Angi Schneider

Sunday 7th of September 2014

You are very welcome, Ann Marie. I'm always so excited when readers share their knowledge, it really makes this blog a community. I had no idea that buckwheat could be poisonous for some animals until Rae mentioned it. That is something that is good to know. I had to smile at your countdown, it will be here before you know it.:-)

Jessica | The 104 Homestead

Thursday 28th of August 2014

I love how you feature various plants from time to time. It makes me see plants I wouldn't have given a second thought about. Thank you for sharing on Green Thumb Thursday. If you haven't had the chance to share yet today, there is still time. Posts can be submitted until Wednesday evening.


Thursday 28th of August 2014

This was great, Angi! Thank you for sharing at Green Thumb Thursday - this was my featured article from last week! I wish more gardeners used cover crops; they're easy and effective. Hope you'll join us this week!


Wednesday 27th of August 2014

This is fascinating - I've never heard of this before! Great post! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday, Kathy