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Growing Wheat for Weaving

Tips for growing wheat for weaving, includes type of wheat for weaving, when and how to plant wheat seeds and when to harvest wheat.

| October/November 1992

  • Learn about growing wheat for weaving on the homestead.
    Learn about growing wheat for weaving on the homestead.
    Photo By Fotolia/James Thew

  • Learn about growing wheat for weaving on the homestead.

Plant longer-stemmed winter wheat in the fall when growing wheat for weaving.

Growing Wheat for Weaving

Wheat can be grown anywhere in the United States, but the best type for wheat weaving is the longer-stemmed winter wheat, which is planted in the fall and requires a period of cold temperatures to initiate flowering. Winter wheat grows poorly in the extreme South and in hardiness zones colder than Zone 4, but spring wheat, which is planted after extended subfreezing temperatures are over, can be grown in all parts of the country. Though the stems of spring wheat are shorter and thinner than those of winter wheat, they can be woven quite well.

Plant spring wheat when daytime temperatures are above 45 degrees Fahrenheit; freezing temperatures at night may burn seedling leaf tips but usually won’t kill the plants. Plant winter wheat about a month before the onset of snow and persistent cold temperatures.

When you till the garden to plant wheat, the soil need not all be chopped into fine powder; marble-size clods are not a problem as long as there is enough fine soil to give good seed-to-soil contact. Newly planted seed and wheat approaching maturity fare better if they are watered at the roots rather than with overhead sprinklers. Plan the garden to accommodate furrow irrigation between rows or pairs of rows, especially if you’re planting spring wheat, which will need regular watering.

After the seedbed has been prepared, open rows 6 to 10 inches apart and 3/4 to 1 inch deep. Space seeds less than 2 inches apart; it’s easiest to sprinkle seeds into the open row from your hand or the seed packet. Cover the seeds with soil, but pack it only enough to ensure good seed-to-soil contact.

Overhead watering after sowing causes a crust to form which can prevent the seedlings from emerging. Instead, moisten the soil by filling a nearby furrow or by watering deeply beside the row. If rain falls before the wheat has emerged, wait until the soil surface dries, then test it with a pocket knife or small trowel. If it feels hard or comes up in chunks, cultivate the soil lightly over the rows to break up the crust.

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