I wrote a few weeks ago about wanting to grow, process and eat sorghum. The first step in that process is, of course, planting some sorghum seed. Really, before that, we had to prepare some ground to plant. Larry, Granny Sue’s husband turned over a bit of earth at our place. I don’t know if you have ever tried to cultivate a new piece of land for garden space, but it is bone jarring, punishing work if you don’t have big equipment. One could certainly take to it with a rototiller and it will work but you’ll feel a new kind of pain. Anyhow, Larry ran his plow and tractor over a nice chunk of our land to do the initial “turn-over” which I followed up with a smaller tiller to break up the ground further.
I got about half way done with the tilling when another neighbor, Tim, stopped by with his tractor which he used to
save my life finish tilling the land. Everything was bone dry and dusty which made this whole process a messy endeavor. Still, Emily and the kids pitched rocks into the woods while I set up the rows and drove row stakes. We carefully planted a dozen or so rows of Sugar Drip sorghum seed. Sugar Drip is an old-time variety good for our part of the country. It matures in around 102 days and makes nice sweet 8-10 foot tall stalks. I ordered seeds from 2 well known heirloom seed suppliers and one says it is a rare breed while the other says it is common across the South. Who knows?
So, we marked our rows and planted the beautiful little seeds (which we will collect from our plants this year and save for next year) and covered them carefully with the freshly tilled
dust dirt. Luckily, it rained some this week so things should start growing well. Sorghum is an African native so prefers warm temperatures but does well in heat and dry once it is established.
I have learned that sorghum is one of the top grain crops grown around the world. Varieties can be used for syrup but most sorghum is planted as fodder for animals or as grain for daily consumption by humans. Many people are considering using it to make biofuel as it thrives in most warm locations. For folks with gluten allergies, it also is a common grain source for gluten free beer (hmmm…another project?).
So, our sorghum is in the ground though possibly a little early. I will keep a close eye on its progress but am hopeful for some awesome looking cane in a few months. Now, I really have to get back on track with restoring those cane mills I have sitting out in my yard!
8 thoughts on “Planting sorghum”
Okay, now that I’ve seen the sorghum seeds I realize what they grow them for here in Michigan. They are filler used in birdseed. I say filler because I have never seen a bird eat one, but found many of them under the feeder. Good luck with your gardening. By the way send me a semi-truckload of your clay and I will send it back loaded with sand. That will improve both of our gardens.
GW – yup…that’s the same stuff. Grain sorghum is also called milo and the birds always throw it on the ground. I hope that’s not a sign of how the syrup tastes!
I’d love to get rid of some of this dang clay too…I should have built an adobe hut!
Sounds like a lot of work. Hope it’s worth it.
Maybe you should add a potter’s wheel to your collection and make a kiln. Then your talented family could make and sell pottery on the side. Imagine selling honey and sorghum in your own handmade crocks.
GW – that would be awesome! I don’t think I can add anything else to my list…Emily would kill me!
Can’t wait to see how the whole process turns out!
What can be sprayed around cane to prevent weeds.
I know that sorghum produces its own weed control naturally…stuff called sorgoleone but I am not really sure what else you can use. I am in my first year of planting too so I am learning by the seat of my pants!
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