The Rogue Millet Plant

This past year has been a journey of discovery to find what is on this property and then what to do with it.

Some decisions were easy, like throw out all the broken useless items, rotten wood, dead branches, things like that. Those easily were discarded to make a clean pallet for our own vision of the house and yard.

Other easy decisions were with plants and perennials, they were useful and could be planted in a logical spot to create a new flower/shrub bed. Digging them up, creating good soil and replanting for them. In two sentences I quickly stated what was a ton of work! Digging and moving plants is labour intensive to say the least.

Now that we have the outline of the yard and gardens the way we want it to be there is the filling in with trees, shrubs and flowers. The back of the yard had the forest removed to make the perfect garden spot with south east exposure. This area was one of the main attractions for us as we love to grow things, as you can tell from previous posts.

As the garden grew in its rows of veggies we could identify the species. There was corn, cabbage, beans, carrots, pumpkins to name a few. All planted in their perfect rows.

Of course with any garden space there are always those pesky weeds that love to take over. But we faithfully worked on weeding and mostly were successful on ridding the area of them. However one grass like plant escaped our eye and flourished. It looked like a hardy cross between corn and quack grass. Our curiosity got the best of us and we chose to let it grow to see what became of it.

Turns out the rogue plant was millet, proso millet to be exact. How fun to have our very own cereal grain crop in our garden?! I would never have know that there are multiple types of millet, Finger millet, foxtail millet, pearl millet, barnyard millet and so on. These are a staple in many countries, India and Africa for instance. Mine is just the run of the mill Alberta grown type which I found out is drought resistant. That is possibly why it did so well this year in all the heat we had.

Last week was warm and sunny with the farmers harvesting the grain crops in our area so I decided to get in on the action and harvest my little grain crop as well.

First I tried to pull the plant up, thinking it would be easy, nope it was not. You would need a winch truck to pull that thing out so instead I left it and only harvested off the grain bunches. Ill leave the plant roots for another day.

After a couple attempts at getting the seeds off I settled on the old tried and true method to rub the grain between my hands and remove them from the stem. I felt transported back to ancient times!

Surprisingly there was alot of grain on one plant. I didn’t measure it but possibly 1 1/2 cups of grain. The next step was to remove the husks off of the grain, leaving the edible part.

It was a calm day so I had to be my own wind machine. Swishing the sieve back and forth I blew on the grains, this was effective in removing the majority of husks even though I got all light headed and had to take breaks!

The first picture is the husks that came off and the second picture is the dehusked grain that I was left with. Im sure there is a more efficient way to clean the grain, I can’t imagine huffing and puffing on an entire field of millet would be effective! But for my purpose this worked fine.

The final product still has some husks on it and not as clean as store bought type. But all in all I’m really pleased with the out come. So much so that I’m looking into planting some wheat next summer! Just think of all the things I can do with that! Plant the wheat, grow the wheat, harvest the wheat, grind the flour, bake the bread, eat the bread!

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