Planting and Growing

varieties: Rye, like wheat, comes in both "spring" and "winter" varieties. Different varieties are suited to different climatic regions. It also comes in steps of strongness in flavor called "light," "medium," or "dark" rye. If you plan to save some rye for seed, grow just one kind, for rye is windpollinated, and varieties readily cross. Winter and Spring Rye. This variety can be grown either for grain, green manure, or green fodder. Plant in the fall 2 to 3 weeks before frost. For a green manure crop, till it in next spring after it has gotten to be almost a foot high. But if you live in the northern United States or Canada, winter rye kills off too much to make the best grain crop. Plant spring rye instead, in early spring, and harvest it in late summer. You can order winter rye seed from Ronniger's, cereal rye from Abundant Life or Bountiful Gardens. Annual Ryegrass. This can be used as a green manure crop. It grows only a couple feet tall and doesn't produce a table grain. Plant 2 to 3 lb. per 1,000 square feet or 25 per acre (24 lb. per accepted bushel of ryegrass). Best time to plant is midsummer right on to a few weeks before first frost time. Annual ryegrass can be planted in all soils, all climates. It grows fast. Winter cold will kill it. As it dies, it forms a protective mat over the soil that prevents erosion and deep freezing.

Perennial Ryegrass: This is a lawn seed. Don't grow this variety for either a grain or a green manure crop because it's not a grain crop and it's very persistent in coming back, as is proper for a lawn grass but not for a green manure crop. climate: It will grow where it's too cold for wheat. Rye can also grow in warmer areas—although it won't germinate if the temperature is over 85°F But its most valuable trait is its unusual tolerance for cold. Rye will germinate at 33°F and grow any day the temperature is above 40°F Even a -40°F period won't kill it! If you have poor soil and a cold climate, consider rye for your bread flour. It can manage to grow and make a crop with less moisture than wheat or oats, though you get a larger yield with more moisture. The high plains of eastern Colorado, North and South Dakota, and Nebraska are rye-growing areas of the United States. In Russia and Germany it's an important bread grain. when To Plant: Plant the same as wheat, except on poor soils plant 1 to 3 weeks before wheat-planting time. Plant winter rye earlier for a green fodder than for a grain crop. In the central United States, plant by September 15 for fodder, by September 30 for grain. How Much: Plant an area about 10 x 150 feet for every bushel of rye you want to grow. There are 56 lb. per bushel of rye. Plant IVi to 2Vi inches deep: IVi bushels per acre for a grain crop, 2 to 2Vi bushels for a grazing or hay crop, 1 lb. per 1,000 square feet for a green manure crop. But in a dry climate, plant only half the usual rate. In old-time England, the rye and wheat seeds were often planted premixed, and then the two grains were reaped, threshed, ground, and baked together. The result was called "maslin" bread. I always add at least a handful of rye flour to my wheat bread. Tastes good.

green Fodder: Rye is husky enough that you can let animals graze on winter rye in the late fall and again in early spring—but not when the ground is muddy, because they would damage the grain by trampling it. After a spring grazing, keep them away from it long enough for it to grow tall enough to be cut down in another good grazing or mowed for hay—or allow it time enough to mature a grain crop.

Continue reading here: Harvesting and Processing

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