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Wheat & Flax - Growing food and fibre

We recently planted two new crops at the Ecology centre. Although both have a long history in Scotland, this is our first adventure into wheat and flax!

Wheat - Soil to Slice

Faced with a patch of beautifully prepared soil (thanks to a group of hard-working volunteers!), we set about sowing the wheat grain in rows, known as drills. Each row was about 10cm apart and we planted the it about 4cm deep, to try and deter potential avian raiders! Sowing the grain in drills should also mean it will be easier to find and remove weeds from the newly emerging seedling rows.

The grain we planted was called Balcaskie landrace. This variety of wheat, and another of rye,have been developed by Scotland the Bread’, a collaborative project that aims to establish a Scottish flour and bread supply that is not only healthy and tasty, but also locally grown and sustainable. For more information about Scotland the bread visit here.

These days, most grain used for baking, brewing and distilling comes from only a small number of modern wheat varieties. Over the last 100 years, they have been selectively grown from a small number of varieties, to be highly productive when grown in intensive farming systems that use large amounts of artificial fertilisers, herbicides, fungicides and pesticides.