Green manure Organic Buckwheat. Fagopyrum esculentum.
Buckwheat is an annual sown in May/June as it is not frost hardy. It’s excellent for bees growing to around 1m in height.
How to grow:
Sow in May or June as long as frosts have passed. Prepare the ground by digging it over and taking out weeds. Smooth with a rake and broadcast the buckwheat at about 5g per square metre or so the plants are about 10cms from each other. Firm the seeds into the soil, maybe tramp them using a plank of wood, and protect from birds and mice until germination. It prefers a sunny location but tolerates shade fine, so it’s suitable for understorey sowing. To get the seed crop wait until the first seeds start shedding and then harvest the lot. Spread out onto tarps under cover (polytunnel floor) for a couple of weeks, thresh to extract the seeds and continue drying – out of direct sunlight if you want the seeds to be viable for next year.
Prefers a light soil with a low pH of around 5. Too many slugs could be a problem and aphids like them. The many flowers do attract beneficial insects.
Favourite ways to use them:
Great as a green manure. Dig in at any time you need your soil back, the greatest matter is generated about 6 weeks after flowering. Hull the seed before eating. Grind the hulled seed in a coffee grinder to get flour, use 80% buckwheat flour 20% wheat flour for the perfect pancake mix.
Average seed weight: 35 seeds per gram.