Original Question In Full
“…I saw the page about heirloom seeds and I was just curious to see if you were going to expand your seed bank to other areas like maybe wheat, hops, soy beans?
Only curious, but I am wanting to eventually start a seed bank in case things would go awry and I would need to be able to plant something.
Those above that I listed were a few of the extras that I would be interested in, I guess they might not be a survival necessity though?”
Thank you for your question! Yes, we would love to include wheat, rye, oats, barley, hops, soybeans, etc.
Typically, the term “heirloom” is not usually assigned to grains, hops or soybeans. However, interestingly, there is a very sprecial variety of wheat that has been trademarked and patented as the one and only authentic, genuine, original Eyptian grain from over 2 millenia ago; the auspicious and classic Kamut®, or Khorasan wheat.
Khorasan is a rich, sweet and hearty variety of wheat with slightly larger kernels than traditional American wheat.
Khorasan is both tender and mild to the taste when soaked and cooked or sprouted. It makes excellent sprouted breads, and can be served in a stew or soup as well. It also makes a deep green and flavorful wheat grass juice.
Long ago, kamut was parched and then consumed simmered or ground into a sun bread.
If there is any wheat that could be termed, “heirloom,” it would have to be Kamut®.
All such wheat must adhere to the following:
1. Be the ancient khorasan variety of wheat
2. Be grown only as a certified organic grain
3. Have a protein range of 12 – 18%.
4. Be 99% free of contaminating varieties of modern wheat.
5. Be 98% free of all signs of disease.
6. Contain between 400 and 1000 ppb of selenium
7. Not be used in products in which the name is deceptive or misleading as to the content percentage
8. Not be mixed with modern wheat in pasta”
Other grains such as rye and oats can be purchased in organic form rather than heirloom form.
That means that such grains have not been altered by genetic modification, nor have they been raised with chemicals and pesticides.
We HIGHLY recommend buying ORGANIC, especially when growing for food and to save seed for future use. The care, the special, natural soils and amendments, fertilizers and natural pest control are far superior to standard agricultural methods in our opinion.
Organic wheats and other grain berries can be sprouted and planted as easily as any other seeds. It is relatively easy to grow wheat and other whole grains.
In fact, we once threw some wheat seeds into a compost pile and were rewarded with tall wheat grasses that grew strong and seeded well without any attention or care.
One can usually purchase organic wheat and other grain berries for under $1.29 per pound at local health food stores and other grocers such as Whole Foods.
One can grow hops by starting with Hop rhizones or tubers and planting with a trellis. As a perennial, they will flower and provide “cones” every year.
As for soybeans, we highly recommend using organic, non GMO seeds ONLY. Since soy is a commodity, over 90% have undergone genetic modification by large conglomerate agricultural companies. Organic seed berries are natural and without alteration.
Soy is particularly high in protein and often used for animal feed.
Soybean sprouts are particularly nutty and flavorful when quickly sauteed. They are a delicious supplemental food.
As with all beans, legumes and seeds for eating, a little goes a long way. Served with a sprouted grain bread, beans provide all the essential amino acids that the body cannot manufacture on its own.
We have a partiality for lentils and peas. These seem to us a little easier to digest. They are also fairly easy to grow.
If you are trying to start a seedbank, we applaud you. Collecting and preserving seeds is a magnificent endeavor. Seeds are forever – they can provide an endless supply of food and sustenance for virtually no cost. All that is required is a little patch of dirt or some containers. Almost anything that grows in the ground can also be grown in pots.
Growing and saving the best plants for next year’s seeding and planting is an incredibly rewarding experience.
As more and more people get “back to the land,” seed saving and preserving will grow in popularity and scope.
We wish you the best!
Happy Growing – Grow Heirloom! : )